Arkansas moves on to the 2022 NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 this season. They held off NM State and now have a shot at an Elite Eight if they manage to overcome the tournament favorites, Gonzaga Bulldogs. Before all the action begins, we take a look at the team’s history and name the five greatest NBA players to come out of the Arkansas Razorbacks basketball program.
The 5 Greatest NBA Players from Arkansas of All Time
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5. Corliss Williamson
Williamson played for the University of Arkansas from 1992 to 1995. In the 1992/93 season, he led his team to a 22-9 record and helped the team book a ticket to the Sweet 16. However, the team fell in the hands of eventual national champions, the North Carolina Tar Heels. Williamson averaged 14.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in that same season.
In three seasons at Arkansas, Corliss Williamson managed the following recognitions: SEC All-Freshman Team (1993), First Team All-SEC (1993, 1994, 1995), SEC Player of the Year (1993/94, 1994/95), and Second Team All-American for both years. Williamson also played a pivotal part of the 1994 Arkansas Razorbacks championship team where they beat the Duke Blue Devils by a narrow margin of four points.
Williamson declared for the NBA Draft after his third year with Arkansas. He was selected by the Sacramento Kings as a lottery pick and 13th overall in the first round. The Arkansas native peaked in the 1997/98 season and averaged 17.7 points per game for the kings, finishing behind Alan Henderson for the NBA Most Improved Player award. Williamson moved between three teams (Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, and Philadelphia 76ers) before returning to Sacramento for his final two seasons. Before moving to the Sixers, Williamson managed to win an NBA championship title with the Pistons in 2004.
4. Patrick Beverley
Patrick Beverley is quite possibly the most aggravating player in the league right now. But before reaching the NBA, he did make his mark in college basketball as an Arkansas Razorbacks player. He averaged 13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.7 steals per game in his rookie season and was named the Southeastern Conference Newcomer of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year. Furthermore, he received SEC All-Freshman Team honors and second-team All-SEC honors.
He remained consistent through his sophomore year and played a key role in the Razorbacks’ lineup. However, Beverley was ineligible to play in the 2008/09 season due to academic issues. He then waived his remaining years in college basketball to improve his skills for the NBA in Europe.
After four years of playing in Euro basketball, Beverley signed a multi-year deal with the Rockets and spent some time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D League before making his debut in 2013. Patrick Beverley now plays with the Minnesota Timberwolves where he averages 9.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 50 games.
3. Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson played for the Arkansas Razorbacks between 1999 and 2001. He was named SEC All-Freshman team and SEC All-Tournament team in his freshman year, averaging 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. Johnson also played a crucial role in the team’s run to win the 2000 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament championship. After that, Johnson continued his positive trajectory in college basketball after averaging 14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game in his sophomore year.
Johnson declared for the 2001 NBA draft right after his second year in college basketball. He went on to be selected with the tenth overall pick by the Boston Celtics. The Arkansas native is quite the journeyman in the league, moving between seven teams just over two decades. His professional career features averages of 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game in 1277 appearances.
Additionally, Johnson played for the United States national team in 2006/08. He was part of the team that secured a bronze medal in the 2006 FIBA World Championship, defeating Argentina in the third-place game after a defeat to Greece in the final four.
2. Bobby Portis
Bobby Portis is part of the squad that won the most recent NBA championship. He is now on his second year with the Milwaukee Bucks and found his way to the core team after providing good value to the lineup last season. Portis averaged 15.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game in 62 contests this season.
Portis wore the Arkansas Razorbacks jersey for two years before getting drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 2005. As a freshman, he averaged 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game and was part of the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team and second-team All-SEC that same season.
His second year with Arkansas was even better, leading the team to a top 25 ranking. Portis recorded better numbers in his second and final season with the Razorbacks, averaging 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Moreover, he was selected as the SEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches in 2015 and was considered to be one of the top prospects in college basketball.
1. Sidney Moncrief
Moncrief is one of the three players that helped bring the University of Arkansas back to glory in the 1970s. He, along with Marvin Delph and Ron Brewer, and head coach Eddie Sutton led the Razorbacks to the SWC championship and a ticket to the Final Four in 1978. Moncrief is known for his presence and leadership on the court as the team’s shooting guard.
His NBA career started with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1979. Moncrief was the fifth overall pick in the first round and became a staple name after spending a decade with the team. He had several iconic moments for the Bucks, including a buzzer-beater shot against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 1982 playoffs. He also scored a playoff career-high of 34 points in a Game 6 win over the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Sidney Moncrief is a five-time NBA All-Star and part of the All-NBA First Team in 1983. The Arkansas native also received the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 1983 and 1984 and was a four-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player between 1983 and 1986. By the end of his career, Moncrief averaged 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game in 767 appearances.
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