Greatest All Time NBA Players from the Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks are regular NCAA Tournament title contenders. Throughout the years, we’ve seen the team deliver elite college basketball play. More than that, we witnessed some impressive players come out of the program. That said, Nitrobetting highlights the five greatest NBA players from Kansas of all time.

The 5 Greatest NBA Players from Kansas of All Time

READ MORE: Greatest All Time NBA Players from the Baylor Bears

5. Danny Manning

Manning was a known all-rounder for Kansas. His senior year was so impressive that he was dubbed “Danny and the Miracles” after leading the team to a national title. He averaged over 20 points in his stay at Kansas and left the school holding onto the leading scorer title of both Kansas and the Big Eight Conference (renamed to Big 12). His highlights at Kansas include a three-time Conference Player of the Year, 3-time Consensus All-American, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, and the 1988 NCAA Championship title.

Manning was the first pick in the 1988 NBA Draft and played his first six professional basketball years with the Los Angeles Clippers. He played in the NBA for 15 seasons where he made two All-Star teams.

4. Andrew Wiggins

Wiggins was a superstar in his first year with Kansas (2014) and averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He was 34.1% from the field and became only the second freshman in 15 years to record those numbers in a victory against a ranked opponent. That same year, Wiggins closed his night with 41 points against West Virginia. This was the most for a Big 12 Conference freshman since Michael Beasley posted 44 points against Baylor in 2008.

After just a season with Kansas, Wiggins decided to join the 2014 NBA Draft where he became the first overall pick. He never wore Cleveland’s colors. Wiggins was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves just two months after the draft. It was a long four-year wait before Wiggins made his first playoffs appearance with the Wolves. At the moment, Wiggins gets another shot at a postseason run after getting traded to the Warriors. His positive performance with the franchise also helped him secure his first NBA All-Star appearance. Furthermore, some of the career highlights and awards of the Kansas player features the NBA Rookie of the Year (2015) and the NBA All-Rookie First Team (2015).

3. Joel Embiid

It was a short but sweet run for Joel Embiid at Kansas before moving to the NBA. While he played for Kansas in 2013-14, he was awarded the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and named in the All-Big 12 Second-team. Embiid played 28 games in his collegiate career and averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.6 blocks. On top of that, he scored over 15 points in seven games and averaged over five blocks in six games. His college run was halted by a stress fracture in his back that left him by the sidelines during the 2014 Big 12 tournament and NCAA Tournament.

That same year, Embiid declared for the 2014 NBA draft and waived his remaining three years of college eligibility. He was selected with the third overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers and stayed with the franchise since. The Cameroonian player amassed some impressive highlights so far, including five NBA All-Star appearances, 3x All NBA Second Team, and multiple playoff appearances with the Sixers.

2. Paul Pierce

Pierce is among the prolific scorers to come out of Kansas’ basketball program. Although he was under the radar in his early years of college basketball, he already showcased his scoring abilities by averaging 16.3 points as a sophomore. Kansas was ranked No. 1 and expected to make a deep postseason run in 1998. The team finished the regular season with a 34-2 overall record. However, their NCAA Championship title hopes disappeared following an upset loss to Arizona in the Sweet 16. As a junior, Pierce averaged 20.4 points per game and helped Kansas achieve another 30-win season. While he does not produce much threat from beyond the arc, Pierce is relentless from the perimeter. He shot 48% for his career on two-pointers with Kansas.

The Kansas player was selected 10th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1998 NBA draft. His 15-year stay with the Celts brought him an NBA Championship (2008), NBA Finals MVP (2008), and ten NBA All-Star appearances.

1. Wilt Chamberlain

Despite playing just two seasons at Kansas, Wilt Chamberlain etched his name in the school’s history hooks. He is arguably the best player to suit up in a Kansas jersey, putting one school record after the other. Chamberlain averaged 29.9 points per game. Keep in mind that this was before the three-point line’s introduction. The Pennsylvania-born player also dominated the boards and averaged 18.3 rebounds per game.

Wilt Chamberlain led the team to a close game in one of the NCAA’s most memorable title games. The 1957 triple-overtime contest against undefeated North Carolina is up there with the greatest college basketball games. Although Kansas lost that title game, it was a memorable clash that made Chamberlain’s name unforgettable. Nevertheless, it was only a glimpse of his unparalleled NBA career.

His professional career ended with a record of 30.1 points per game in 1,045 games played, including 22.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Furthermore, holds records with multiple 50-plus points games for a season and 100 points in a game.

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