From Cleveland’s Kevin Love to Houston’s Trevor Ariza to Oklahoma State’s Russell Westbrook, UCLA has no shortage of alumni playing important minutes for competitive teams in the NBA this season. The NBA fans who closely follow the game, whether by watching, fantasy sports or online betting, know there’s a good chance Bruins will play roles on some of the teams making the deepest runs in this year’s playoffs.
When it comes to deep postseason runs, no Bruins, however, have ever stood as tall as Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That’s certainly the case in the NBA playoffs, as the 7’1″ Walton bagged the NBA Finals MVP en route to leading Portland to the 1977 title. And who can forget what Abdul-Jabbar did on the biggest stage? Twice the 7’2″ center won the NBA Finals MVP (in 1971 and 1985) while winning six championships overall.
As great as Walton and Abdul-Jabbar were in the pros, they were even more impressive while playing college ball for UCLA. Both won the NCAA player of the year award in each of the three seasons they were eligible for it. Walton won two of three NCAA Championships in those years, while Abdul-Jabbar won an NCAA Championship in all three seasons he played varsity (freshmen were ineligible in the 1960s-early 1970s).
In men’s NCAA basketball, few players can touch Walton and Abdul-Jabbar when it comes to a combination of titles and statistical dominance. In fact, to get appropriate comparisons, we must go to women’s basketball. Here we find players who won Player of the Year just as many times as Abdul-Jabbar (Cheryl Miller) and a superstar who has won more NCAA Championships (Breanna Stewart).
But how do all these all-timers stack up mano-a-(wo)mano? Let’s break out the spreadsheet, folks, and see. Below are the stats for the all-timers’ first season*.
COMPARING COLLEGE BASKETBALL’s BEST OF THE BEST (OFFENSE)
*In all the cases above this means freshman year except for Abdul-Jabbar and Walton (where it’s sophomore) and Sheryl Swoopes (junior year since she was a junior college transfer).
*Through first 37 games.
From an offensive standpoint, players like Cheryl Miller and Abdul-Jabbar on different planets than the likes of Breanna Stewart. This disparity is so vast I believe it destroys Stewart’s argument for G.O.A.T. despite her team’s unprecedented four-year run.
Now let’s see how these players stack up rebounding, passing and more defensive stats.
|Player||RPG||APG||BPG||SPG||Team’s Win %||Games Played|