Photo: Dallas Mavericks center Samuel Dalembert, left, of Haiti, and point guard Monta Ellis, right, defend against a drive to the basket by New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis in the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in Dallas. The Pelicans won 94-92. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
This is the epic conclusion to the Most Outstanding NBA Players that played in the NCAA Finals.
To keep you in the know, the list is created with my secret stat equation. If you read the FIRST PART, you’ll probably get where I’m coming from.
As previously mentioned, Michael Jordan never won the NCAA’s Most Outstanding Player Award – with teammate James Worthy, University of Houston’s Akeem Olajuwon (before he went with Hakeem), and Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing beating him to it when he was still with the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Speaking of North Carolina, there are three Tar Heels that went on to play in the NBA who got the elusive Most Outstanding Player award that Jordan couldn’t – Worthy, former Charlotte Bobcat Sean May, and current Dallas Maverick Wayne Ellington. Another player who did enough to win the award is Donald Williams. He won this award during the 1992-93 NCAA Tournament – scoring 25 points to defeat Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson (known collectively as Michigan’s Fab Five). Williams, who teammates include Eric Montross and George Lynch, would fail to make the NBA… but he did play in the PBA as an import for the Shell Turbo Chargers.
Indiana’s Keith Smart, recently fired from his coaching job with the Sacramento Kings, is the Most Outstanding Player of 1987. He was selected 41st by the Golden State Warriors in the 1988 NBA Draft and played two games for the San Antonio Spurs in the 1988-89 NBA season. Smart was the import of the San Miguel Beermen during the 1989 Third Conference but after five games he was replaced by another ex-NBA player in Ennis Whatley. Whatley would then lead the Beermen to the championship which was also the final title to complete San Miguel’s 1989 grand slam feat.
Anyway… here is the thrilling conclusion of this two-part article.
Game starts now!
11 – ANTHONY DAVIS – KENTUCKY WILDCATS
2012 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
To say he is a mere media attraction is just wrong. His eyes might scream “circus freak” to haters but people should get wary at his freakish potential. In their semis match against the Louisville Cardinals, Unibrow had 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 blocks en route to a 69 to 61 victory. And while he struggled with just 6 points, Davis went to his bread and butter super sticky defense to chalk up a 67 to 59 win against the Kansas Jayhawks. A testament to this factoid is his 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 6 blocks – which were all game highs (Davis averaged 4.7bpg that season). Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Marquis Teague supported Davis while Thomas Robinson had 18 points and 17 rebounds for Kansas.
10 – LEW ALCINDOR – UCLA BRUINS
1967 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Perhaps one of the best college students ever, the guy that’s also dubbed as one of the best NBA players of all-time was a force to be reckoned with even during his rookie season. His entry to John Wooden’s system started the 7-year title streak of the Bruins (and another name to describe this – 10 titles in 12 years from 1964 to 1975). Against the Dayton Flyers, the current Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 20 points and 18 rebounds en route to a 79 to 64 victory.
9 – RICHARD WASHINGTON – UCLA BRUINS
1975 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
We know this championship as John Wooden’s final NCAA title. The third pick overall of the 1976 NBA Draft by the Kansas City Kings might have had a so-so NBA career (mainly because of injuries), but at the tail end of UCLA’s furious decade-long dominance, he was the star of the show. With the Bruins using just six men, Washington’s 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists proved instrumental to their 92 to 85 win against the Kentucky Wildcats. 5-time NBA All-Star Marques Johnson was his teammate while their enemies consisted of Rick Robey and Jack Givens.
8 – ELGIN BAYLOR – SEATTLE REDHAWKS
1958 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Vern Hatton averaged just 5.5ppg in his 5-year NBA career while Johnny Cox just lasted one season in the pros but these two were instrumental in bringing down a NBA Hall of Famer’s final NCAA season. Hatton and Cox combined for 54 points as the Kentucky Wildcats edged out the Seattle University Redhawks – 84 to 72. Baylor had 25 points and 19 rebounds in that game (Baylor in the semis scored 23 points and 22 rebounds versus Kansas State) which basically set up his pro career. Captain Elgin failed to win a NBA title in all eight of his Finals trips.
7 – BILL WALTON – UCLA BRUINS
1972 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
The 1971-72 season marked the departures of Sidney Wicks and 1970 NCAA title hero Steve Patterson but John Wooden would not mind this because this was the year Bill Walton came to his program. Sharing the limelight with another monster rookie in Hall of Famer Jamaal Wilkes, the Bruins defeated the Florida State Seminoles, 81 to 76 with Wilkes finishing with a double-double and Walton dominating the paint with 24 points and 20 rebounds.
6 – ED O’BANNON – UCLA BRUINS
1995 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
This year is an all-time fave for me when it came to US college hoops because this was the first time I followed the NCAA Tournament. I hated the Arkansas Razorbacks because they eliminated the North Carolina Tar Heels headed by Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Donald Williams, and Jeff McInnis (as a Michael Jordan fan, this college is an instant favorite). I rooted for the Bruins because I researched their history… and I thought Ed O’Bannon is an awesome athlete. Together with his brother Charles, George Zidek, Tyus Edney, and JR Henderson (known to us Pinoys as JR Sakuragi), they defeated the Razorbacks led by Corliss Williamson, 89 to 78. O’Bannon led the Bruins with 30 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 assists and even if he was picked ninth by New Jersey in the 1995 NBA Draft, the Nets saw him as a franchise player.
I guess that’s why it sucks to see how crappy his career became.
5 – DANNY MANNING – KANSAS JAYHAWKS
1988 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Once hailed as the savior of the lowly Los Angeles Clippers, Manning had better luck overcoming the odds of the NCAA Tournament. I guess became the key factor on why Manning got selected first in the 1988 NBA Draft – it’s due to his winning ways. Playing for the Kansas Jayhawks, Manning imposed his will. He started it during the Final Four when he eliminated Danny Ferry’s Duke with his 25 points and 10 rebounds and finished the tourney by erupting for 31 points, 18 rebounds, and 2 assists in Kansas’ 83 to 79 win over the Oklahoma Sooners. Manning’s teammates included Rick Barry’s son Scooter and 1990 NBA Draft second round pick Kevin Pritchard while the Sooners had Harvey Grant, Stacey King, and Mookie Blaylock.
4 – LEW ALCINDOR – UCLA BRUINS
1968 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
In a battle of two behemoths, Alcindor clashed with University of Houston’s Elvin Hayes. It was called “The Game of the Century”. After Alcindor injured his cornea midgame, the Cougars broke the Bruins’ immaculate 47-game win streak. Hayes scored 39 points and 15 rebounds and Alcindor vowed to make Hayes pay to moment they meet in the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA semifinals, Alcindor got his revenge on Hayes by whooping the Cougars, 101 to 69 – courtesy of his 19 points and 18 rebounds plus limiting Hayes’ production to ten points – a 29-point drop from his previous output. The Bruins would then finish off the last hindrance to their throne – the North Carolina Tar Heels – 78 to 55 – with Kareem scoring 34 points and grabbing 16 caroms. NBA All-Star Charlie Scott had 12 points for the Tar Heels in that game. It was evident though that the final was more of a formality since the Tar Heels had no Elvin Hayes to match up against Alcindor.
3 – JACK GIVENS – KENTUCKY WILDCATS
1978 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Jack Givens lasted only two seasons in the NBA. He was the 16th pick overall of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks and his brief stint resulted to averages of 6.7ppg, 2.9rpg, and 0.9apg. Nicknamed Goose, the last time he got reasonable media exposure was when he allegedly sexually battered a 14-year-old girl (he was found not guilty). So why is he on top of the list? In the 1978 NCAA Tournament, he was the Wildcats’ main man. In the Final Four, he poured in 23 points and 9 rebounds to defeat the Arkansas squad led by Hall of Famer Sidney Moncrief. In the 1978 NCAA Finals, Givens almost broke the record of most points scored in a Final game with 41 points (including his team’s last 16 points in the first half) to go with 8 rebounds and 3 assists to defeat the Mike Gminski-led Duke Blue Devils, 94 to 88. Definitely, Duke never had an answer to the bombs Givens unleashed.
2 – LEW ALCINDOR – UCLA BRUINS
1969 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
We have seen his name twice in this list… but what makes 1969 a different year from the rest? For a player who won 18 different citations during his collegiate year, finishing college with a bang is on top of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s list. With or without the championship though, the Milwaukee Bucks would be pretty stupid to pass up on a once in a lifetime talent like Abdul-Jabbar (the Bucks eventually chose him and within years, they won their only NBA title). After dismantling the Drake University Bulldogs, 85 to 82, John Wooden and the Bruins set their sights on the Purdue Boilermakers headed by former ABA standout Rick Mount. The then-Alcindor would become a giant unstoppable pain in the ass for the upset-seeking Boilermakers as he unloaded for 37 points and 20 rebounds. UCLA would finish off Purdue with a 92 to 72 blowout… and Kareem will become the only player to win three awards in the NBA as well in the NCAA.
1 – BILL WALTON – UCLA BRUINS
1973 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Bill Walton is perhaps one of the biggest what ifs in NBA history. What if he stayed healthy for more than five seasons? Hell… what if he played in 80 games just more than once? Will he have a career like those of Kareem? Bill Walton was super good in college – which was why the Portland Trail Blazers selected him first pick overall in the 1974 NBA Draft.
While Walton blew a chance to finish school with a title, he did give UCLA everything he could in the three years he held court… especially in 1973. Walton was one assist shy of recording a triple-double (14 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 assists) when the Bruins stopped Quinn Buckner and the rest of the Indiana Hoosiers, 70 to 59, in the 1973 NCAA semifinals. And in the NCAA Final, Walton showed all why he is John Wooden’s second-most popular project. In UCLA’s 87 to 66 drubbing of the Larry Kenon-led Memphis Tigers, Walton ransacked the Tigers with 44 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 assists. Walton’s 44 points is more than 50 percent of the Bruins total output and even better… it still stands as the best offensive output in a NCAA Final. And this is the biggest thing yet… Walton also recorded an eye-popping 96 from the field. Let me repeat that boys and girls… Bill Walton went 21-of-22 FROM… THE… F’N… FIELD! If that doesn’t scream Most Outstanding Final ever, then you must not know why an orange bouncing ball is fought over by two teams and is thrown a lot into a bottomless basket.
Before I end this, let me “localize” this article more by saying that there are a lot of former PBA imports that played in the NCAA Final. Aside from the already mentioned, Red Bull’s Antonio Lang was part of the Duke Blue Devils squad that also had Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, and Grant Hill. Duke also produced San Miguel’s Nate James and Alaska’s Chris Carrawell. Manila Beer’s Michael Young played with Hakeem Olajuwon for the Houston Cougars. Ginebra’s David Noel and Powerade’s Rashad McCants played for North Carolina. Tanduay’s Kevin Freeman and Ginebra’s Denham Brown played for Connecticut. Ginebra’s Cedric Bozeman played for UCLA, Florida produced Talk N Text’s import Donnell Harvey, and Alaska’s Rob Dozier was Derrick Rose’s chief support while playing for the Memphis Tigers.
Check out my blog at www.sydrified.org