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Top 10 UCLA Basketball Players Who Made History

UCLA men’s basketball has a storied history, filled with numerous championships, legendary coaches, and iconic players. But arguably, it was the team’s former head coach, John Wooden, who put UCLA basketball on the map, laying the groundbreaking foundation for the program’s future successes.

Wooden’s tactics, leadership, and values helped shape UCLA basketball into a winning culture that has produced some of the best players in history and earned the team 11 NCAA championships. In this article, we’ll dive into the rich history of UCLA men’s basketball and highlight the top 10 players who helped put the team on the map.

Top UCLA Basketball Players:

1. Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

During his three-year stint at UCLA, he helped lead the team to three consecutive NCAA championships and won the National College Player of the Year award three times. In addition, Alcindor was recognized as an All-American and led the country in scoring during the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons.

Alcindor’s legendary college career set the tone for his successful professional basketball career, which included six NBA titles and six NBA MVP awards. 2.

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is another UCLA basketball icon who helped lead the team to two NCAA championships in the early 1970s. Walton was a dominant force on the court, known for his rebounding, scoring, and shot-blocking abilities.

He was awarded the Naismith National Player of the Year award twice during his college career and set numerous records that still stand today. Despite being plagued by injuries throughout his professional career, Walton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and continues to be an ambassador of the game.

3. Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller is best known for his prolific scoring abilities during his 18-year NBA career with the Indiana Pacers.

But before he made a name for himself in the pros, he was a standout player for the UCLA basketball team. Miller helped lead the team to the National Invitation Tournament championship in 1985 and still holds the record for most points scored in a single NIT tournament.

In addition, his college jersey was retired by UCLA, honoring his impressive college career that helped set the stage for his NBA stardom. 4.

Gail Goodrich

Gail Goodrich is a UCLA legend whose playing abilities helped lead the team to its first national championship in 1964. Goodrich was a scoring machine, averaging over 24 points per game during his college career.

He was awarded the Most Outstanding Player award during the 1965 NCAA tournament, where he scored 42 points in the championship game alone. Goodrich went on to have a successful professional career, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.

5. Jamaal Wilkes

Jamaal Wilkes, also known as “Silk,” was a forward who helped lead the UCLA basketball team to two national championships.

His unique combination of skill and athleticism allowed him to be a highly productive player and an All-American during his college career. Wilkes was known for his graceful style of play and was one of the first players to use his size and skill to transition from a forward to a guard.

After college, Wilkes went on to have an outstanding professional career and won four NBA titles with the Lakers and Golden State Warriors. 6.

Marques Johnson

Marques Johnson was a force to be reckoned with on the court, earning the title of Player of the Year during his senior year at UCLA. He helped lead the team to the national championship game in 1973 and 1975, and his leadership skills and work ethic set the tone for the team’s success.

Johnson’s impressive college career propelled him to an 11-year NBA career, where he played for the Milwaukee Bucks and was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. 7.

Walt Hazzard

Walt Hazzard was a guard who helped lead UCLA to its first NCAA championship in 1964. Hazzard was known for his excellent ball-handling skills and his ability to facilitate the offense for his teammates.

His leadership and poise during the NCAA tournament that year helped the team achieve an undefeated season and cemented his legacy as one of UCLA’s greatest players. Hazzard went on to have a successful professional career and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.

8. Don MacLean

Don MacLean is considered one of the best scorers in UCLA history, totaling 2,608 points during his college career.

He was an All-American during his senior year and helped lead the team to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. MacLean’s impressive college career propelled him to a successful professional career and earned him recognition as one of the best players in UCLA history.

9. Sidney Wicks

Sidney Wicks was a forward who helped lead UCLA to three consecutive national championships in the early 1970s.

He was a highly productive player, averaging over 20 points per game during his college career and earning three All-American honors. His leadership and contributions on the court helped establish UCLA as a basketball powerhouse and paved the way for his successful professional career.

10. Ed OBannon

Ed OBannon was the star of the UCLA basketball team that won the national championship in 1995.

He was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year that season and also earned the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award. O’Bannon’s impressive college career set the stage for his professional career, where he played for the New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks, and Sacramento Kings.

Conclusion:

The UCLA basketball program has produced some of the greatest basketball players in history, and the 10 players highlighted in this article are just a small sampling of the team’s storied history. From John Wooden’s legendary coaching to Lew Alcindor’s dominant performance on the court, these players helped make UCLA basketball what it is today a winning culture, a team of champions, and a model of excellence for other programs to follow.

UCLA men’s basketball has a rich history of success, thanks to the many legendary players who have graced its court over the years. From Lew Alcindor’s dominance to Bill Walton’s rebounding skills, each player on the list has contributed significantly to the program’s legacy of greatness.

These players serve as a model of excellence for aspiring basketball players and demonstrate the importance of hard work, dedication, and teamwork. UCLA basketball remains a beacon of inspiration, and the school’s storied legacy will continue to inspire future generations.

FAQs:

Q: Who is John Wooden, and why is he important to UCLA basketball? A: John Wooden was the head coach of the UCLA basketball team from 1948 to 1975 and is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history.

Under his leadership, UCLA won 10 NCAA championships, including seven in a row, and established a culture of excellence that still resonates with the team today. Q: What records did Bill Walton set during his time at UCLA?

A: Bill Walton set several NCAA records during his time at UCLA, including the record for most points in a season (695) and the record for highest field goal percentage in a season (67.4%). He is also the only player to win the NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player award multiple times (1972, 1973).

Q: How many NCAA championships has UCLA won? A: UCLA has won 11 NCAA championships, the most of any school in Division I history.

Q: What is Lew Alcindor’s connection to the civil rights movement? A: Lew Alcindor converted to Islam and changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which was a statement of his political and social beliefs.

He was also a vocal supporter of the civil rights movement and an outspoken critic of racism in America. Q: How long did Reggie Miller play for UCLA?

A: Reggie Miller played for UCLA for four years, from 1984 to 1987. Q: What is Ed O’Bannon known for?

A: Ed O’Bannon is known for his role in leading UCLA to the national championship in 1995 and for being the lead plaintiff in the landmark class-action lawsuit against the NCAA about the use of athletes’ likenesses without compensation.

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