Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images
The top three is very debatable.
The Kentucky Wildcats have been so dominant in the one-and-done era of college basketball that started back in 2007. However, they only had three players make ESPN’s ranking of the top 50 seasons since the rule started.
John Gasaway of ESPN released a list of the top 50 individual seasons since college basketball started the one-and-done era.
The top three on his list is enough to get people debating as he has Zion Williamson at No. 1 and Steph Curry at No. 2.
The No. 3 spot is where we find the first Cat in Anthony Davis.
“Name a greater individual season where the player in question averaged under 15 a game,” Gasaway wrote. “Heck, Frank Kaminsky’s team averaged, what, six possessions a game, and even he scored 19 per contest. Davis rightly earned Wooden Award honors just the same as a game-altering defender who happened to play within a talented and balanced rotation on offense. The fact that he averaged less than two and a half fouls per 40 minutes despite the ‘historically outstanding shot-blocking freshman’ entry on his bio was a significant factor in UK’s national title.”
The rest of the top 10 includes Kevin Durant (Texas), Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), Kemba Walker (UConn), Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Ty Lawson (UNC), Trae Young (Oklahoma), and Jimmer Fredette (BYU).
The second former Cat to make the list is the guy who re-energized this great Kentucky program. John Wall comes in at No. 13 in Gasaway’s ranking.
“He shot less than 33% on his 3s, but Wall was the high-velocity quartz movement for a 35-3 team that very easily could have won it all. The freshman recorded a 21-11 points-assists double-double in the third game of his career, and then proceeded to mix highlight-reel drives and dunks with deft lobs to DeMarcus Cousins at the rim all season long.”
The only other former Kentucky player to make this list was Karl-Anthony Towns, who like Davis and Wall, was also the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Towns checked in at No. 30.
I think that a big reason we don’t see more Kentucky players on this list has a lot to do with the fact that these players sacrifice so much for their teammates because they are playing with so many top level players on the same team.
Cal has always pitched that if a player wants to shoot the ball 30 times a game then Kentucky isn’t the place for them. So that is a big factor in why we don’t see more players on this list, even though some like Brandon Knight or Malik Monk probably deserve to be on it.