Georgia men’s basketball all-time roster: UGA Legends
Though the University of Georgia is known for its rich history and tradition on the gridiron, some incredible talent has graced the hardwood in Athens since the basketball program’s inception in 1905.
For those who have followed the team through the ups and downs, there’s a certain nostalgia that comes with reminiscing about the legendary players who have passed through Athens during their basketball careers.
From a Final Four appearance to thrilling buzzer beaters, I compiled a roster of players who have left a mark on the program’s history. Join me in taking a trip down memory lane and explore the greatest basketball players to ever don the red and black.
Starting Point Guard: Vern Fleming (1981-1984)
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Fleming played in 125 games between 1980 and 1984, starting in 12 of them. Fleming came to Georgia following Dominique Wilkins’ freshman season, and the two quickly became a deadly duo on the court. The 1981-82 season was their final year together, and the two combined for 1,000 points that season.
When Wilkins left for the NBA, it was Fleming’s time to step up. And he did. In the 1982-83 season, Georgia would go on to win its first SEC Championship and reach the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament after defeating Michael Jordan and the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Elite Eight.
Fleming was selected with the 18th overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers.
In 1998, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. His college jersey was retired by the University of Georgia in 1991, and in 2009, he was named to the SEC’s Men’s Basketball Legends Class.
Starting Shooting Guard: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2011-2013)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Caldwell-Pope is an SEC Player of the Year (2013) and a First Team All-SEC selection (2013). So despite only playing for two years in Athens, he belongs on this list.
In 2012, he was a member of a star-studded SEC Freshman of the Year team, that included Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
In his sophomore season, he averaged 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, which led to him winning SEC Player of the Year.
He was the 8th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Pistons and is now a member of the Denver Nuggets. He was an NBA champion in 2020 with the Lakers.
Starting Forward: Dominique Wilkins (1980-82)
Photo By Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Dominique Wilkins is who comes to mind when I think of Georgia basketball.
A consensus All-American, Wilkins left UGA as undoubtedly the greatest player in the program’s history following his junior season, in which he won the 1981 SEC Player of the Year Award.
Wilkins averaged 21.6 points during his career in Athens before being drafted No. 3 overall by the Utah Jazz in the 1982 draft. The “Human Highlight Film” went on to become a nine-time NBA All-Star, a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, a two-time Slam Dunk Contest Champion, an All-NBA first-teamer (1986) and an NBA scoring champ (1986).
Starting Forward: Anthony Edwards (2020)
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The only one-and-done player on this list, Anthony Edwards is also the University of Georgia’s only No. 1 overall NBA draft pick.
Edwards was the nation’s top-scoring freshman during his lone season in Athens, averaging 19.1 points per game for the Bulldogs.
His 610 single-season points are the 10th-most ever by an SEC freshman and the seventh-most in UGA history.
In 32 games, Edwards reached double digits 27 times. He had 13 games of 20+ points and had three 30-point performances. He scored a career-high 37 points – including 33 in the second half alone – against No. 3 Michigan State in the Maui Jim Maui Classic.
Edwards was named SEC Freshman of the Year. He was also the recipient of four different SEC Freshman of the Week awards.
He was the No. 1 overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves and was named an NBA All-Star during the 2023 season.
Starting Center: Alec Kessler (1986-1990)
“I have tremendous sense of gratitude toward the University of Georgia.” – Alec Kessler#DGD | #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/ylzxwSpIDu
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) June 1, 2020
Kessler ranks third all-time in Georgia history for points scored, third all-time in rebounds and second all-time in made free throws.
Kessler played for Georgia from 1987 to 1990 and was a dominant force, earning two-time First-Team All-SEC honors and was named the SEC Player of the Year in 1990.
He was also a two-time All-American, including a consensus All-American in 1990, and was a finalist for the Naismith College Player of the Year award.
As captain of the 1990 SEC Champion Bulldogs in 1990, he became the seventh player in school history to earn All-America honors.
Kessler became Georgia’s all-time leading scorer with 1,788 points in his final collegiate game, a mark that was surpassed a year later by Litterial Green.
Backup Point Guard: Litterial Green (1988-1992)
"My experience at the University of Georgia was awesome." Litterial Green, 3-time All-SEC & #UGA career scoring leader with 2,111 points.#CommitToTheG | #DawgDays pic.twitter.com/Cg3eZ2ws4X
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) May 8, 2018
Georgia’s all-time leader in points scored (2,111), Green is one of the greatest to ever do it at UGA.
Green was quick, had a sweet shot, and was not afraid to fire away. He also left Georgia with the third most assists in program history (466), most field goal attempts (1,611) and third most three-pointers made (215).
Green was a three-time All-SEC selection and, alongside Kessler, helped win the 1990 SEC Championship.
Backup Shooting Guard: Willie Anderson (1985-1988)
“Playing at Georgia was the greatest time of my life. Being able to represent Georgia and wear the Bulldog uniform was an honor…” – Willie Anderson#GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/6ZiU1mOhlg
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) June 6, 2020
A member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, Anderson was a two-time All-SEC guard for UGA.
Anderson averaged 15.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game during his junior season. In his senior season, he would average 16.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game.
He was the 10th pick in the 1988 NBA draft by the San Antonio Spurs. Anderson went on to score 6,771 points throughout his NBA career.
Backup Forward: Jarvis Hayes (2001-2003)
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
After a year at Western Carolina, Hayes came to Georgia and became a First-Team All-SEC selection in both his sophomore and junior years. He was also a two-time All-American who averaged 18.5 points and 5 rebounds per game at UGA.
Hayes was selected No. 10 overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2003 NBA Draft.
Hayes led the Southern Conference in scoring during his freshman season, and then led the Southeastern Conference in scoring while at UGA. He is one of few players to have led two different conferences in scoring during his career.
Backup Forward: Yante Maten (2015-18)
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Yante Maten was an absolute beast during his time at Georgia. He left as the program’s second all-time leader in points scored, fourth all-time in rebounds, second in blocked shots, fourth in made free throws, and eighth in games played.
He was the 2018 SEC Player of the Year and a two-time first-team All-SEC selection. Despite all these accolades, he went undrafted in the 2018 draft.
Backup Center: Bob Lienhard (1967-1970)
#TBT: From 1967-70, Bob Lienhard dominated the boards, becoming Georgia’s All-Time Leader in Career Rebounds (1,116).#GeorgiaGreat pic.twitter.com/UBEsly9d22
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) October 17, 2019
Lienhard had a really strong case to be the starting center for this squad. He was a two-time All-American and is still the school’s leader in career rebounds (1,116).
He is seventh all-time in points scored, fifth in made field goals and second in field goal percentage (.597).
Head Coach: Hugh Durham (1979-1995)
Cool to see these two UGA legends getting hang out a while.@VinceDooleyUGA and Hugh Durham@at Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon. Pic from @BillShanks pic.twitter.com/OsXltKAmY0
— Chip Towers AJC (@ctowersajc) February 22, 2020
Durham coached four All-Americans during his decade-and-a-half in Athens. He went to five NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Final Four in 1983. His teams made seven NITs, were twice crowned SEC Tournament champions and won one SEC regular season title.
Durham was a four-time SEC Coach of the Year and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
He is the most successful coach in Georgia history with a record of 297–215.