Programs Best Player to NOT have a solid NBA Career

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
That old 2015 draft thread got me reminiscing about some of the talented players I had forgotten about bc they didn’t make a splash in the League, so it got me thinking, who are the best players to come out of your program and not carve out a nice NBA career.

As a Louisville fan I can’t pick just one, Reece Gaines, Russ Smith, and Dejuan Wheat were all amazing college players who never had much (if any) of an nba career. Although they made money playing ball abroad they never could break into the nba and stick. And again these are three of the best players to ever play for Louisville imo.

I’m sure everyone has past favorites who were beasts in college but are now forgotten bc they didn’t blossom in the NBA. Thought it would be fun to look back and reminisce bc well off-season during a pandemic.
 

MGC_07

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Jun 29, 2016
3,882
2,837
113
Mateen Cleaves, Shawn Respert, Denzel Valentine although he could still turn it around.
 

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
I’d personally add Juan Dixon and Chris Wilcox to Maryland’s list as well. Not saying they were as good as Bias, but both were super talented players who took Maryland to the promised land, but never had much of an impact in the nba.

Before that years draft if I had told you Steve Blake would have a better nba career than Wilcox and Dixon combined, you probably would have thought I was crazy.

Bias probably would have had a large nba impact if not for the tragic incident in which he lost his life. Really the only other player I can remotely compare to bias is Hank Gathers but I don’t think Gathers’ ceiling would be anywhere near Len Bias’s. RIP to both, super tragic situations.

But I’m not looking for a winner of the best college player not to have a successful nba career, just interested in reminiscing on some of the great college players who have become forgotten over the years bc of lack of success in the NBA.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Big_Blue79

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
Mateen Cleaves, Shawn Respert, Denzel Valentine although he could still turn it around.
Great list, I thought Cleaves was a lock to be a solid nba pg for decades. same with Valentine as a point forward or small forward, dude could do it all in college, I thought his game would translate as well. But both lack the elite athleticism that 90% of nba players have.

And ur right, Valentine could still turn it around and become a valuable asset to an nba franchise, like pj Tucker did.
 
Last edited:

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
I’m not a Texas fan, but I thought TJ Ford would have a nice nba career as well, dude was so electric at Texas.

Also the “chubby” pg for UConn with the foreign/Muslim name who won a title under Calhoun. My brain keeps going to Abdul-Raheem but I know that’s not right.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Big_Blue79

bkingUK

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Sep 23, 2007
21,880
3,428
113
Gerald Fitch, Marquise Estill, Randolph Morris
 

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
Gerald Fitch, Marquise Estill, Randolph Morris
Excellent list, ’d throw wayne turner in there as well. Dude was such a stud in college, despite his hanky shooting form.

Also while Mercer and Anderson played in the nba for a stint, neither made the impact I anticipated. I figured both would be multi time all stars.

I also thought James Young would be a stud in the nba, he could fill it up from deep.
 
Last edited:

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
Like every player from 2004 Illinois except Deron Williams
That was a damn good team. Still salty they beat us in the FF, but I don’t think we would have faired much better against unc that year anyways, they were super stacked.

Honestly, There’s a few from that UNC 04/05 team as well.
 
Last edited:

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
Dekker.

Thought he'd at least stick around.
Damn I didn’t realize he was already out of the league. I’ll always be a fan or dekker and kamisky for derailing the best college roster ever assembled. Shame y’all didnt beat duke as well, from my POV anyways.
 
  • Like
Reactions: buckymel

MGC_07

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Jun 29, 2016
3,882
2,837
113
Great list, I thought Cleaves was a lock to be a solid nba pg for decades. same with Valentine as a point forward or small forward, dude could do it all in college, I thought his game would translate as well. But both lack the elite athleticism that 90% of nba players have.

And ur right, Valentine could still turn it around and become a valuable asset to an nba franchise, like pj Tucker did.
Valentine has actually had some great individual performances for the Bulls, he’s had like 2 30+ point games, he just cannot stay healthy. He’s been hurt or coming off an injury essentially his whole career.
 

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
Not sure who that is but I’m assuming she’s a smoke show. Pics would help lol
 

hailtoyourvictor

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Dec 11, 2012
24,984
11,449
113
Unranked Caris LeVert and D-III transfer Duncan Robinson are better nba players than NPOY Trey Burke.
 

IUfanBorden

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Dec 11, 2011
24,269
9,106
113
Team
Indiana
That old 2015 draft thread got me reminiscing about some of the talented players I had forgotten about bc they didn’t make a splash in the League, so it got me thinking, who are the best players to come out of your program and not carve out a nice NBA career.

As a Louisville fan I can’t pick just one, Reece Gaines, Russ Smith, and Dejuan Wheat were all amazing college players who never had much (if any) of an nba career. Although they made money playing ball abroad they never could break into the nba and stick. And again these are three of the best players to ever play for Louisville imo.

I’m sure everyone has past favorites who were beasts in college but are now forgotten bc they didn’t blossom in the NBA. Thought it would be fun to look back and reminisce bc well off-season during a pandemic.
A guy from UL who I thought would have a solid NBA career was LaBradford....Also, Jason Osbourne.
 

buckymel

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2011
7,543
8,762
113
Brooklyn, New York
Team
Wisconsin
And a Packers princess to boot.
Her grandpa was Bob Harlan, one time GB Chairman and CEO.

Shelden Williams, for Duke.

And anyone who says that chick isn't hot is trying too hard. A sports reporter and former Ms Kansas or whatever? Goddamn "too cool" message board posters...

 
  • Like
Reactions: KisteK

BoilerExpress

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Dec 13, 2004
38,247
1,121
113
Back in the Midwest!
Team
Purdue
Swanigan in recent memory. Guy was a beast in college, and I never thought he’d be a star in the nba, but definitely thought he could carve out a Reggie Evans type of career. Still possible I guess, but not looking likely
 

UL_1986

Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2018
5,975
4,287
113
Unranked Caris LeVert and D-III transfer Duncan Robinson are better nba players than NPOY Trey Burke.
Is Burke still with the Knicks? Also, dudes that are 6’0 and not named Allen Iverson usually don’t last too long in the league. Obv there are some exceptions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Big_Blue79

WeAreDePaul

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Dec 5, 2017
2,047
2,021
113
No one at DePaul. All our all time greats turned out to be at least very good in the NBA. Mikan, Aguirre, Cummings, Strickland.
 

Villian07

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2015
1,335
637
113
Twill has unreal athleticism and was a beast in college, but I wouldn’t say he had a better college career than Gaines nor Wheat.

but yea still pretty sad he couldn’t carve out an nba career, not bc of his lack of skills or athleticism, just bc he’s a head case whom teams didn’t want to put up with his BS. I thought him and earl clark would both have solid nba careers, which earl stuck around a while but he was a journeyman who didn’t really make a huge impact anywhere he landed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Big_Blue79

ticket2ride04

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
May 13, 2004
14,833
22,787
113
My Wife’s Pool
Team
North Carolina
Rashad McCants had a game built for the nba but he’s bi-polar.

Thought Hansbrough would have done better.

Wayne Ellington was another one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: shun1

Sound.Slave

Well-Known Member
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2019
915
4,476
93
Louisville: Reece Gaines
Kentucky: Kelenna Azubuike
Indiana: Kirk Haston
UNC: Sean May
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2018
25,811
13,670
113
In the minds of the ignorant
I’m not a Texas fan, but I thought TJ Ford would have a nice nba career as well, dude was so electric at Texas.

Also the “chubby” pg for UConn with the foreign/Muslim name who won a title under Calhoun. My brain keeps going to Abdul-Raheem but I know that’s not right.

There were two factors with Ford.
Never was much of a shooter and injuries.

The injuries ended his career more than the performance but the shot kept him from being a great NBA player.

When he was healthy he was similar to Rajon Rondo.

TJ is still around basketball here in Houston.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TheBlueCat