What Year Were These Famous NCAA Players Drafted Into the NBA?

By: Robin Tyler
Image: ESPN/The Oregonian/OregonLive Sports/Reel Media Group

About This Quiz

College basketball is the breeding ground for the next NBA hero!

To stand out here, you have to be a super talented basketball player -- one who not only shows form on the court but also produces the overall stats that make you get noticed by NBA scouts. 

And for those players that stand out, the all-important NBA draft is a time of serious nervous tensions. It's a time to see if they are chosen for the big leagues, the most competitive basketball league on the planet - the NBA!

Some college players go on to be among the highest point-scoring players in NBA history. Others claim Olympic gold by playing for the 'Dream Team' while sadly, many fall by the wayside, either through constant injuries or in rare cases, substance abuse problems. 

But rest assured, they will never forget the time that they were a draft pick! That is a moment that will live with them forever!

As a basketball lover, would you be able to identify when these incredible college players, who went onto superstardom in the NBA, were selected as a draft pick? It's a fairly tough ask!

Good luck!


One of the greatest all-round basketball players ever to shoot hoops, Magic Johnson's college numbers are impressive. Not only did he average 17.1 points per game along with 7.6 rebounds, he also added 7.9 assists. Magic helped Michigan State win the National Championship in 1979. He was the first pick in Round 1 of the 1979 NBA draft and went on to become a basketball legend.

Shaquille O'Neill spent his college years at Louisiana State University where he averaged 21.6 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. He also made 412 blocks during the 96 games in which he played. Shaq was the first pick in Round 1 of the NBA draft in 1992. He went on to become a celebrated NBA star scoring more than 28,000 points.

Perhaps better known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lew Alcindor played college basketball for the Bruins where he averaged 26.4 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. Of course, he went on to become the leading scorer in the NBA with more than 38,000 points. He was drafted into the NBA in 1969 as the first pick in Round 1.

A member of the NCAA All-American First Team in his sophomore and junior years, Michael Jordan averaged 17.7 points and 5 rebounds per game. He was drafted into the NBA in 1984, a first-round pick.

One of the best defensive players in college basketball, Daron Oshay "Mookie" Blaylock claimed 200 steals in a season on five occasions during his college career at the University of Oklahoma. He also had an eye for the basket. He went on to have a very successful NBA career. He was drafted into the NBA in 1989, the 12th pick in Round 1.

'Big Country' as he was called in basketball circles, Bryant Reeves had an excellent college basketball career. Playing for Oklahoma State, Reeves averaged 17.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He was the 6th pick in Round 1 of the 1995 NBA draft and went on to play for the Vancouver Grizzlies for six seasons.

Playing for the University of California in the early 1990's, Lamond Murray was a prolific scorer, averaging 24.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in his junior season. Murray was the 7th pick in Round 1 of the NBA draft in 1994.

The story of this All-American is tragic. Len Bias proved to be a star for the University of Maryland for more than four years and averaged 23.2 points and 7 rebounds per game in his senior year. Set for the NBA - he was a Round 1, 2nd overall pick in 1986. Bias died from a cocaine overdose. He was only 22.

During his three seasons at North Carolina State, David Thompson averaged 26.8 points per game and 8.1 rebounds. He was named ACC Player of the Year on three occasions. Thompson was the first pick of Round 1 of the NBA draft in 1975. Injuries and substance abuse problems cut short his NBA career.

Walter Berry played for both San Jacinto Junior College and St. John’s University in the mid-1980s. An unorthodox basketball player, Berry averaged 23 points per game along with 11.1 rebounds in 1986. Although he went to the NBA as a Round 1 pick in 1986, he spent only three seasons there before leaving to play in various leagues around the world.

Wayman Tisdale played for the University of Oklahoma during his college years and was named in the All-American team in all his four years at college, making him the first player to achieve this. He was also a member of the 1984 U.S. Basketball team that won gold at the Olympics. Tisdale was the second pick of Round 1 of the NBA draft in 1985.

At only 6'5", Adrian Dantley was shorter than many college basketball players but he certainly did not let that hold him back. During his 86 college games, Dantley averaged 25.8 points a game as well as 9.8 rebounds. He finished his college career with 2,223 points. He went on to play 15 seasons in the NBA after he was drafted in 1976.

Bernard King played 76 games for Tennessee where he averaged 25.8 points per game and 13.2 rebounds. He made the All-American team on three occasions. He was drafted into the NBA in 1977, a Round 1 pick, and went on to score more than 19,000 points.

Playing for the LSU Tigers in the 1960s, Pete Maravich made a name for himself that would be remembered for generations to come. This is largely due to his incredible shooting skill which saw him average a mind-blowing 44.2 points per game over three seasons! Maravich went on to score almost 16,000 points during his NBA career after he was drafted in 1970.

Playing for the University of Purdue, Glenn Robinson took home just about every major college award in his sophomore year, including the Wooden Award, the Naismith Award and the Rupp Trophy. He went on to play in the NBA for 11 years after he was drafted in 1994.

Christian Laettner spent four years at Duke with his best year coming in 1992 during which he averaged 21.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He spent 13 years in the NBA after he was drafted in 1992.

Joe Smith played for the University of Maryland for two seasons. During his time at the university, Smith won the Rupp Trophy, Naismith Award, was named the UPI Player of the Year and was a First Team All-American. In his two seasons, he averaged 20.1 points per game as well as 10.6 rebounds. He was drafted into the NBA in 1995 and played professionally until 2011.

A 6'7" small forward, Bill Simmons had an excellent college basketball career playing for La Salle University. During his four seasons there, Simmons averaged 24.9 points per game. Add to that 10.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks and it's easy to see why Simmons won Naismith College Player of the Year amongst other awards. Simmons scored more than 3,000 points and claimed 1,100 rebounds during his career, the only player to ever do so. He was drafted into the NBA in 1990 and played seven seasons for the Sacremento Kings, scoring 5,833 points.

Power forward Xavier McDaniel turned out for Witchita State in the late '80s. During his college career, he averaged 22.3 points per game along with 14.1 rebounds. He was named a First-Team All-American in his senior year. He was drafted into the NBA in 1985 and played until 1998.

Playing two seasons for Georgetown, Allen Iverson averaged 25 points a game in his sophomore year. After he was drafted in 1996, Iverson went on to have a very successful NBA career, making the All-Star team on 11 occasions. He was named the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2001.

Tyler Hansbrough spent four years at North Carolina and quickly made a name for himself. He is the only freshman to ever make the All-American First Team. During his time at North Carolina, he averaged 20.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He was drafted into the NBA in 2009.

Doug McDermott played four seasons at Creighton from 2010 - 2014, quickly establishing himself as their best player. In 2014, he was named the National College Player of the Year. McDermott averaged 21.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game during his college years. He was drafted into the NBA in 2014.

Playing for Navy, David Robinson quickly showed what an excellent basketball player he was. He played more than 120 games, made 516 blocks, scored 21 points per game as well as averaging 10.3 rebounds. Robinson went on to play 13 years for the San Antonio Spurs, shooting more than 20,000 points in the NBA after he was drafted in 1987.

While at Princeton in the mid-'60s, Bill Bradley led the college in three NCAA tournaments, making the Final Four in 1965 where he averaged 33.7 points per game. He also scored 58 points against Wichita in the 3rd place play-off match. He went on to play in the NBA for the New York Knicks for five years.

Keith Van Horn played college basketball for three years at the University of Utah. Averaging 20.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game during his college career, Van Horn was named Men's College Player of the Year in 1997. He went on to the NBA after he was drafted in 1997.

Playing four seasons for the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, CJ McCollum was somewhat of a scoring sensation with an average of 21.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. In his senior year, he managed an even better average of 23.9 points per game. He currently plays in the NBA for the Portland Trailblazers after he was drafted in 2013.

Although his NBA career wasn't stellar after he was drafted in 1995, Shawn Respert was an impressive college basketball player. Representing Michigan State, Respert averaged 21.3 points per game. In his senior year, that average climbed to more than 25 points per game. Respert now coaches in the NBA.

With two College Player of the Year awards, J.J. Redick was a standout in college basketball. His overall numbers are impressive. He averaged 19.9 points per game over four seasons but his final season was phenomenal with an average of 26.8 points per game. He entered the NBA in 2006 with the Orlando Magic and is still playing.

Frank Selvy played college ball a long time ago! He is remembered, however, for shooting a 100-point game in 1954 for Furman University, making him the only NCAA Division 1 player to ever achieve this feat. He was drafted into the NBA in 1954.

Although his NBA career only lasted a couple of seasons after he was drafted in 2000, Khalid El-Amin was a solid college basket player who played in the Connecticut NCAA winning team of 1999. As a junior, in 2000, he led the team in points (16.0), assists (4.4) and steals (1.7) per game.

Steve Alford played college basketball for the University of Indiana. In his final year, he led the team to a national championship, contributing 23 points in the final. He was drafted into the NBA in 1987.

Playing for the University of Mississippi from 1969 to 1971, Johnny Neumann was prolific, averaging 40.1 points per game during his sophomore year. On two occasions, he scored more than 60 points per game! He was drafted into the NBA in 1973.

Playing for Notre Dame, Austin Carr shot more than 2,500 points in his three seasons in college basketball. This was an average of 34.5 points per game. Incredible! He went on to play 10 seasons in the NBA from 1971 to 1981.

A three-year college career at UCLA in the 1970s saw Bill Walton average not only 20.3 points per game but an astonishing 15.7 rebounds. This led to many awards, including the Naismith Award on three occasions. Walton went onto score more than 6,000 points in the NBA after he was drafted in 1974.

Playing for Portland State University, Freeman Williams averaged an incredible 30.7 points during his college career. In his junior year, he averaged an astonishing 38.8 points per game! Williams was a two-time NCAA scoring leader before moving on to the NBA after being drafted in 1978.

Danny Manning spent four seasons with the Jayhawks. His final season was, by far, his best, averaging 24.8 points per game along with 9 rebounds. His overall college record saw Manning average 20.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He was quickly snapped up by the Clippers at the NBA draft of 1988.

At 7'4", it was very difficult to miss Ralph Sampson. A three-time Naismith Award winner, Sampson played for the University of Virginia and was a household name during his college years, even appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated numerous times. As a center, he averaged 16.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. He went on to have a fine NBA career after he was drafted in 1983 but struggled with injuries throughout.

Donyell Marshall played three seasons for the University of Connecticut. In his junior season, he averaged an outstanding 25.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. He went on to play 13 years in the NBA after he was drafted in 1994, scoring more than 13,000 in his career.

Ben Simmons, who hails from Australia, was drafted into the NBA in 2016. He played for LSU during his college years and was part of the All-American team in 2016.

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