By: Mike Wagenman (@mjwags23)
It’s reality. Some of the nation’s best college basketball players just do not pan out. They are not well-suited for the speed and physicality (and traveling) of the NBA game. Nevertheless, some college superstars captured the nation by storm during a magical tournament run, or in the midst of scoring at a torrid pace. I’ve taken it upon myself to remind everyone of five players who were some of the nation’s best, but have not been heard of since.
My goal is to get a reaction like “oh, yeah!” or “he was nasty!” or even “what ever happened to him?” from every selection on this list. So, let me know in the comments section who you thought brought out some emotions while reading.
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Without further hesitation:
1. Acie Law, PG Texas A&M (2003-07): Law was “the man” in College Station before Johnny Manziel even started high school. He was a solid point guard for his entire Aggie career, but truly burst onto the scene his senior year when he was named a First Team All-American and the Bob Cousy Award winner as the nation’s best point guard. In that season, Law averaged 18.1 points on 50.0 percent shooting to go along with 5.0 assists and 45.8 percent shooting from downtown.
Law was selected 11th overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Hawks, but never achieved close to the success that he had in college. He started a total of eight games in his professional career and shot just 23.5 percent from downtown. His best season scoring average was in 2009-10 with the Bulls, when he scored 5.5 points per game.
Law bounced around six times among five teams, and now plays for Olympiacos in Greece.
2. Gerry McNamara, PG Syracuse (2002-06): G-Mac was a national champion at Syracuse as a freshman, during the Carmelo Anthony season. He never missed a start for the Orange, and seemingly never missed a clutch shot.
McNamara was named the Big East Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in his senior season, after Syracuse defeated West Virginia to capture the crown. He was also named to the All-NCAA Tournament Team as a freshman. In his college career, McNamara averaged 15.5 points, 4.8 assists, shot 88.7 percent from the line, and was a true fan favorite of the Orange faithful. It seemed as though Dick Vitale’s patented “ohhhhh, are you serious?!” was synonymously followed by “Gerry McNamara, baby!”
McNamara was not drafted. He played overseas and in the NBA D-League, but announced his retirement from basketball in 2009. He is currently an assistant at his alma mater under Jim Boeheim.
3. Adam Morrison, SF Gonzaga (2003-2006): The stache. Remember how incredible Adam Morrison was for the Zags? He was a six-foot-eight knockdown, lights-out shooter. The last memory many basketball fans have of Morrison was when he collapsed to the floor in tears after Gonzaga was defeated by UCLA in a 2006 Sweet 16 game.
Morrison’s junior season was somewhat of a spectacle. Nobody has challenged his scoring numbers from that 2005-06 season. He averaged 28.1 points on 49.6 percent shooting from the floor and 42.8 percent shooting from three. He was awarded the Oscar Robertson Trophy in 2006, given to the nation’s most outstanding college player. He was also named National Co-Player of the Year, an honor he shared with Duke’s J.J. Redick.
Morrison was picked third overall in 2006 by the Bobcats, and actually had a strong rookie campaign. He averaged 11.8 points and was named to the All-Rookie Second Team. His career then collapsed when he collapsed with a torn ACL. Morrison is actually a two-time NBA Champion with the Lakers, although he didn’t play or even dress for most games. He now suits up in the Turkish League.
4. Dee Brown, PG Illinois (2002-06): Dee Brown was part of one of the most explosive guard trios in recent memory. Along with Deron Williams and Luther Head, Brown led Illinois to a tournament runner-up finish and a 37-2 record in 2005. In that season, he was named a Second Team All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year. In his senior year, he was the last of the three Illini guards remaining. He had a strong season and captured the Bob Cousy Award.
For his career, he averaged 13.2 points and 4.9 assists. Upon graduation, Brown held the Illini record for most wins, games played, minutes and starts. He was third in school history in points and second in three-pointers, steals and assists.
Brown broke his foot at a pre-draft workout, causing him to slide all the way to the 46th overall selection. He was picked by the Jazz, but never got his NBA career going. Brown played parts of just three years in the NBA, never averaging over 2.5 points. He currently plays in the Turkish League.
5. Sean May, PF North Carolina (2002-05): Sean May was a beast at UNC. He was a National Champion and the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player in 2005. May averaged a double-double for his three-year college career, which is absolutely unheard of. He poured in 15.8 points per game and grabbed 10.0 rebounds per game over his three seasons.
May was supposed to be a sure-thing pick for the Bobcats, but injury and weight problems derailed the big man’s career. He was the 13th overall selection in 2005, but didn’t appear in more than 37 games in any of his four NBA seasons. He now plays in France.
It’s your turn to share your opinion. Which one of these five was the best college player?