Best NBA players from the University of Kansas

These are all the best NBA players who also played for the University of Kansas Jayhawks. The state of Kansas does not have a particularly large population and the weather in the state is best known for tornadoes, but the college has always had a great basketball program full of talent. Two of the players on this list are in the Basketball Hall of Fame and another is almost a lock to join them when he retires.

Though Kansas University has sent a number of great players into the NBA my team, the New Jersey Nets, typically drafted a Kansas player who was a flop. In 1993 the Nets took Rex Walters with their 1st round pick (16th overall in the draft) and Walters only averaged 4.6 points per game in his 7 year NBA career.

Players are listed by their career scoring averages in the NBA and every player who averaged or averages at least 10.0 points per game is listed.

Mario Chalmers(notes) is in his 3rd year in the NBA and his career average is just 8.0 points per game but because he plays with LeBron James(notes), Dwyane Wade(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) with the Miami Heat he is worth a mention here. He led the Jayhawks to the NCAA Championship in 2008 hitting a key bucket in their OT win over Memphis and was named tournament MVP (MOP or Most Outstanding Player technically). Can Chalmers help the Heat win it all this year?

Best NBA Players from Kansas University

1. Wilt Chamberlain - 30.05 points per game

Statistically only Michael Jordan can come close to matching what Wilt Chamberlain accomplished in the NBA. Chamberlain played in the league for 14 seasons one of which he was injured in and played just 12 games. He won 7 scoring titles including once averaging 50.4 points per game for the entire season (1961-62). He once scored 100 points in one of the most famous games in NBA history played in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 1962.

Wilt won 11 rebounding titles, has the highest rebounding average in NBA history (22.9), is the all-time leader in total rebounds (23,924) and once hauled down a record 55 rebounds in a game going up against Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics. He even led the NBA in total assists once during the 1967-68 season.

Wilt was a 13 time all-star only missing the game the year he was injured. He was NBA Rookie of the Year in 1960 as well as MVP of the league that year and he won the MVP award 4 times in his career. He won 2 NBA Championships and was NBA Finals MVP in 1972.

Wilt Chamberlain was from Philadelphia but he went to the University of Kansas for 3 years and averaged 29.9 points and 18.3 rebounds per game in the two years he was eligible to play (freshmen couldn't play back then). Wilt's numbers would have been much higher but most of KU's opponents resorted to stalling tactics to keep Wilt from destroying them.

Wilt led KU to the NCAA Championship game in 1957 as a sophomore against the North Carolina Tar Heels. He scored 23 points and had 14 rebounds in the game but North Carolina tripled teamed him throughout and used stalling tactics to win the game in OT 54-53. After his junior year Wilt was so frustrated with the stalling tactics he left KU and played for the Harlem Globetrotters for a year before he was eligible to play in the NBA.

2. Paul Pierce(notes) - 22.2

Paul Pierce played at Kansas for 3 seasons and averaged 16.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game from 1995-96 to 1997-98. He was then chosen by the Boston Celtics in the 1998 NBA Draft with their 1st round pick (10th overall pick in the draft) and has had a great pro career averaging 22.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. So far this season with the Celtics Pierce is averaging 18.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Paul Pierce is a 9 time all-star in the NBA and won a championship in 2008 and was named the 2008 NBA Finals MVP.Pierce is headed for the Basketball Hall of Fame once his playing days are over.

3. Jo Jo White - 17.2

Jo Jo White averaged 15.3 points per game in his 4 years at Kansas. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics and played in the NBA for 12 years and averaged 17.2 points per game. White was a 7 time all-star and won two NBA Championships with the Celtics in 1974 and 1976 and was named Finals MVP in 1976.

4. Clyde Lovellette - 17.0

Clyde Lovellette played at KU for 3 seasons (1950-52) and averaged 24.7 points per game and led the nation in scoring his senior year with a 28.6 average. Lovellette also led the Jayhawks to the NCAA Championship in 1952 and was named tournament MVP.

As a pro Lovellette played in the NBA for 11 seasons and averaged 17.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He was a 4 time all-star and won 3 NBA Championships and he also averaged 30.3 points per game in 1952 leading the USA to the Olympic Gold Medal. Clyde Lovellette was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

5. Danny Manning - 14.0

Danny Manning averaged 20.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in his 4 years at Kansas. He led the Jayhawks to the 1988 NCAA Championship where he was named MVP (or MOP technically) and scored 31 points and had 18 rebounds in the championship game which the Jayhawks won 83-79 over the Oklahoma Sooners.

Manning went on to play 15 years in the NBA where he averaged 14.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for 7 different teams. Knee injuries prevented Danny Manning from ever living up to his full potential in the NBA.

6. Kirk Hinrich(notes) - 13.1

Kirk Hinrich averaged 12.4 points and 4.7 assists per game in his 4 years at KU. So far in his 8 year NBA career he is averaging 13.1 points and 5.7 assists per game.

7. Bill Bridges - 11.9

Bill Bridges averaged 13.2 points and 13.9 rebounds per game in 3 years playing for Kansas in the late 1950's and early 1960's. He then played in the NBA for 13 seasons and averaged exactly the same number of points and rebounds per game at 11.9. Bridges was a 3 time all-star and won a championship in 1975 with the Golden State Warriors.

8. Drew Gooden(notes) - 11.8

Drew Gooden averaged 15.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in his 3 years at KU. He is currently in his 9th NBA season playing for his 9th NBA team and has career averages of 11.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

9. Raef LaFrentz(notes) - 10.1

Raef LaFrentz averaged 15.8 and 9.1 rebounds per game in 4 seasons with the Jayhawks. He went on to play 10 years in the NBA and has career averages of 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

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Updated Friday, Mar 25, 2011