The University of Detroit Mercy men’s basketball Titans play in the Horizon League of NCAA Division I. Detroit is a solid mid-major school with five NCAA Tournament appearances and 21 NBA players. The best NBA players from the University of Detroit are led by Hall of Famer Dave DeBusschere and MVP center Spencer Haywood.
Hall of Fame swingman Dave DeBusschere was the all-time greatest NBA player from the University of Detroit. DeBusschere had a dominant college career with the Titans, averaging 24.8 points and 19.4 rebounds as he led the school to its first ever NCAA Tournament. In the NBA, he played 12 fantastic seasons for the Pistons and Knicks, earning eight All-Star selections. DeBusschere posted career averages of 16.1 points and 11.0 rebounds as a great player in every facet of the game. The six-time All-Defensive forward was a lock-down tenacious defender who won two titles in New York in 1970 and 1973.
An elite player in two leagues, five-time All-Star center Spencer Haywood was one of the best NBA players from the University of Detroit. Haywood had one fantastic season with the Titans, averaging 32.1 points and 22.1 rebounds in 1968-69 before entering the ABA. In his only season in the ABA, Haywood led the league in both scoring with 30.0 and rebounding with 19.5 to take home the MVP Award. He moved over to the NBA in 1970-71 and embarked on a brilliant career with the Sonics; in 326 games, he averaged 24.9 points and 12.1 rebounds in Seattle. In 1980, he was a backup big for the Lakers as they won an NBA Championship. For his 13-year professional career between the ABA and NBA, Haywood totaled 17,111 points and 8,675 boards.
A pure scoring guard who spent 14 seasons in the pros, John Long ranks among the best NBA players from the University of Detroit. Long scored 2,167 points for the Titans and helped the school play its most successful season as Detroit reached the Sweet Sixteen in 1977. In the 1978 draft, Long didn’t have to go far as he was drafted in the second round by the Detroit Pistons. He spent ten seasons with the Pistons and totaled 9,023 points with the team. In 1981-82, he averaged a career best 21.9 points, one of six times he eclipsed 15 per game in his career.
A former Detroit Pistons’ small forward and teammate of John Long, Terry Tyler was one of the top NBA players from Detroit. Tyler averaged a double-double for his college career and was a leader on the 1977 Titans that reached the Sweet Sixteen. He was chosen six picks ahead of Long in the 1978 NBA Draft as both joined the Pistons. In seven years in the Motor City, Tyler posted 11.6 points and 6.2 boards per contest. He was an athletic forward and an impressive shot-blocker, swatting a total of 1,342 shots in 11 NBA seasons to rank in the league’s all-time top 40.
Swingman Willie Green is the only remaining active NBA player from Detroit. Green averaged 22.6 points as a senior for the Titans before joining the 76ers in 2003. Green has thus far spent his whole NBA career with the Sixers, now seven seasons in length. He has started exactly half of his 422 games to date with an average of 9.4 points per game. His best season came in 2007-08 when he posted 12.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per contest.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended University of Detroit Mercy. Basketball-Reference.com