NCAA underachiever, NBA success story is The Dagger's countdown of players who didn't live up to expectations in college yet are currently flourishing in the NBA. For an explanation of the criteria used in compiling this list, check out our introductory entry. Up next on our list is No. 8: Arizona's Andre Iguodala.
When uber-athletic wing Andre Iguodala arrived in Tucson in 2002, teammate Luke Walton gushed to reporters that his freshman understudy was "going to be one of the best players to ever come out of Arizona."
Walton was right, of course. Trouble was that Iguodala didn't become that player until he was already in the NBA.
In two promising yet maddening seasons with the Wildcats, Iguodala flashed the versatility, passing ability and defensive prowess he is known for today yet never managed to put it all together. He averaged six points and five rebounds as a freshman and 12 points and eight rebounds as a sophomore, yet failed to consistently assert himself night in and night out and shot a combined 27.4 percent from 3-point range.
The inconsistency from Iguodala as a sophomore mirrored Arizona's frustrating season that year. A Wildcats team that featured the likes of Iguodala, Channing Frye, Hassan Adams and Salim Stoudamire somehow lost seven of its final 14 games and fell to Seton Hall in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Since Iguodala had only scratched the surface of his potential at Arizona, his decision to turn pro as a sophomore was met with some derision. Dick Vitale blasted Philadelphia for selecting him with the ninth pick in the draft over more established college wings like Luke Jackson from Oregon or Kirk Snyder from Nevada.
"Iguodala was a (27 percent) shooter from the college three-point line," Vitale said. "He's not going to be able to play,"
Naturally, Vitale was wrong — almost instantly in this case.
Iguodala started all 82 games as a rookie and every game he's played since. In the past four seasons, he's averaged 18.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists and shot at least 31 percent from 3-point range.
Although Iguodala has come a long way since his erratic college days, there's a chance the former Arizona star's time in Philadelphia may be over if the 76ers select Evan Turner with the second pick in Thursday's draft. New coach Doug Collins recently met with Iguodala to assure him he's part of the franchise's future.
"I told Andre he's very important to our team," Collins said. "He's a little down right now, playing 6 years with so many different coaches, just going through a season in which the team was 12-29 at home. I told him I want the joy back in his game."
NCAA underachiever, NBA success story countdown:
No. 10: Jrue Holiday
No. 9: DeAndre Jordan