Posted April 05, 2013

NCAA Announces 15 All-Time March Madness Players

NCAA Tournament
Duke star Christian Laettner was one of's All-Time March Madness players. (Manny Millan/SI)

Duke star Christian Laettner was one of’s best March Madness players of all-time. (Manny Millan/SI)

On Friday morning, as part of this season’s celebration of the 75th NCAA tournament, announced its 15 All-Time March Madness players, compiled between public vote and “NCAA experts.” Here’s the list they came up with (in alphabetical order):

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Bill Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Grant Hill, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner, Jerry Lucas, Danny Manning, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Jerry West.

It’s hard to manage a ton of outrage about this list (or most lists in general) beyond them not spelling Hakeem’s name without the H, like he had it at the University of Houston. It does feel like one or two guys are on there as much because they became NBA greats as they were a huge part of March Madness, but it’s a predictably great list of great players. Yahoo’s Pat Forde @YahooForde may have raised the most legitimate question:

In solely fan voting, the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers were named the All-Time Madness Team and Christian Laettner’s shot to beat Kentucky in 1992 was the All-Time Madness Moment. Sorry, BBN.

What do you think of the committee’s and fans’ selections? Do you think we’ll ever return to an era where a college player could possibly crack this list? Get the conversation going at @SI_NCAABB or @AndyGlockner on Twitter.


Where is Bill Russell and his amazing USF teams?


David Thompson. Ended the UCLA dynasty and their 38 game win streak. 1974 MVP. 28 points 10 rebounds. Came back from 11 down midway through second half. Voted 13th best NCAA game all time.

macmil 1 Like

I'm a Carolina graduate and I love Michael Jordan but did anyone from the NCAA watch the Georgetown game?  James Worthy put that team on his back and carried it to the championship.

Steve Barry
Steve Barry 1 Like

All due respect to MJ but does his relatively brief NCAA playoff performance over shadow others? He hit one memorable shot. If MJ then why not Goose Givens who had a clutch final game?

YanGreben 2 Like

If you're gonna mention that Hakeem Olajuwon played as Akeem in college, it might also be worth it to mention that "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar" never played college basketball. He was still known as Lew Alcindor at the time.

gwe59 1 Like

The all-time moment was the Lorenzo Charles dunk.  And you could easily put 3 or 4 more UCLA players on the players' list.  


Can't help thinking of the greatest offensive college player in NCAA history, but who never played in the NCAA tournament.  He's only the all time career scoring leader (accomplished in 3 years), has the highest points per game average.   He averaged 43.8 ppg for his college career and a conservative estimate if he had played with the 3 point shot would be 50 ppg.  

"Pistol" Pete Maravich, of course. RIP.


@fberger yet this list is for the players who played in the NCAA tournament and made it into the March Madness that it is.  I am sure Pistol Pete would be on the list of greatest college players just not this list.