BYU Basketball: Ranking the 5 Greatest Players in Cougars History

Samuel Benson@@sambbensonContributor IIIDecember 7, 2012

BYU Basketball: Ranking the 5 Greatest Players in Cougars History

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    BYU has a fairly rich history of great players, ranging from college standouts to NBA legends. Two POY awards have been gained by Cougars, and there is room for more in the future.

    Why not look back on the wealth of athletes that played in the Marriott Center and had fans screaming from every seat in the arena?

    Whether these names and faces have still remained clear in your memory or have since faded a bit, here are the five greatest players in BYU history.

5. Shawn Bradley (1990-91)

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    Although he spent only one year at BYU before going on to the NBA, Shawn Bradley set the Cougars record for blocked shots in a career (177). He also set an NCAA record with 14 blocks in a single game against Eastern Kentucky.

    Averaging 5.3 blocks per game, Bradley was named the WAC Player of the Year and received All-WAC defensive team honors.

    Despite a slightly disappointing NBA career with the Mavericks, Nets and 76ers, Bradley will always be recognized as one of the greatest Cougars.

4. Devin Durrant (1978-80, 1982-84)

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    Devin Durrant is one of only a few Cougars to start every game of their career, and did so with authority. He averaged 19.5 points per game in his career, and averaged 27.9 points per outing as a senior.

    The 1983 WAC Player of the Year, Durrant stood at 6'7" and dominated the post throughout his career.

    In 2000, Sports Illustrated named him one of the 50 most influential sports figures in the history of the state of Utah.

3. Kresimir Cosic (1969-73)

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    Although Kresimir Cosic was a 6'11" center, he played as if he were a six-foot guard. A native of Yugoslavia, he had great ball-handling skills for his size and played with an up-tempo pace.

    Cosic averaged 20.2 points and 9.5 boards during his senior season. He gained a gold and silver medal from competing in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, and received the supreme honor in 2002 when the Cougars retired his jersey number.

2. Danny Ainge (1977-81)

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    Danny Ainge is easily the greatest NBA player to come out of BYU at this point, winning two titles with the Boston Celtics.

    But in college, he was no less impressive, as he was chosen as the College Basketball Player of the Year by winning the John Wooden, Joe Lapchick and Eastman Awards his senior year.

    Ainge set 10 BYU records, nine Western Athletic Conference records, and held the NCAA record for most consecutive games scoring in double figures (112 straight games). 

    Ainge is the current president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics.

1. Jimmer Fredette (2007-11)

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    The Jimmer.

    It's sure hard to forget the excitement that Jimmer Fredette brought to the court every time he played, whether it was in the form of half-court shots or craftiness in the paint.

    His senior season, Fredette was named the MWC Player of the Year and the National Player of the Year by winning the Naismith, Wooden, AP, NABC, Adolph Rupp, Sporting News, Basketball Times,, and Oscar Robertson awards.

    Fredette led the nation in scoring with 28.9 points per game, and won an ESPY for the Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year. He holds BYU and MWC all-time records for career points, points in one season, points in one game, and season scoring average.

    It will be tough to ever get someone at BYU that will be nearly as popular as "King Jimmer" was.

    Well, unless Jabari Parker comes!

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