Since the ACC was created in 1953, they have had their share of extraordinary college basketball players. Here are five of the greatest players ever to grace the hardwood in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
# 1 – Michael Jordan (North Carolina 1981-1984)
Before being known as the greatest basketball player ever to play the game, Jordan had an outstanding college career at the University of North Carolina. After he earned the honor of being named the ACC Freshman of the Year in 1981, Jordan went on to average 17.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. The crowning moment during his college year came when Jordan made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA championship game. Before Jordan left for the professional ranks, he had won the Naismith award and Wooden award for the 1984 season.
# 2 – David Thompson (North Carolina State 1973-1975)
Any basketball player would love to have their college career begin the same way Sampson’s did. During his first season with North Carolina State, Sampson helped lead the team to a perfect 27-0 record. He was able to follow up the undefeated season with a NCAA basketball championship when the Wolfpack knocked off the UCLA Bruins in 1974. He closed out his college career by earning the USBWA college player of the year award in his final season with 29.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
# 3 – Tim Duncan (Wake Forest 1994-1997)
Though Duncan was often his quiet and unassuming when off the court, there was no denying the man’s ability when he was on the hardwood. While playing for Wake Forest University, Duncan helped lead them to 97-31 record along with the John Wooden award and the Naismith award in 1997 after taking the Demon Deacons to 24-7 regular season record. After spending four years at Wake Forest University, Duncan earned a spot as the tenth men’s college basketball player to score more than 2,000 career points and haul in 1,500 career rebounds.
# 4 – Ralph Sampson (Virginia 1980-1983)
When Sampson came out of high school, he was one of the more highly recruited college basketball players of his generation. While every university wanted his size at center, the University of Virginia ended up being his final choice. Sampson helped lead the team to a NIT Finals in 1980 and a Final Four appearance in 1981. When he finished his four senior season, Sampson had captured two John Wooden awards and three Naismith awards as the top player in college basketball.
# 5 – Christian Laettner (Duke 1989-1992)
Duke University has seen their share of great basketball players over the years, but none better than Laettner. During his four-year career as a Blue Devil, Laettner averaged 16.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and helped lead them to two consecutive NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992. Laettner holds the distinction of playing in four straight Final Fours and as a result owns several NCAA tournament records like most points scored and most free throws made/attempted. The pinnacle of his college career came in 1992 when just about he had racked up every award bestowed upon a college basketball player.
Men’s Basketball – Atlantic Coast Conference
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