The best players in UCLA men’s basketball history: Lonzo Ball, Arron Afflalo, Jason Kapono, Ed O’Bannon, Don MacLean, Jerome “Pooh” Richardson, Reggie Miller, David Greenwood, Marques Johnson, Richard Washington, Dave Meyers,,,,
Here’s our list, in chronological order, of the top players in UCLA basketball history.
1. Lonzo Ball, Guard (2016-17)
Ball spent just the one season at UCLA, but it remains one of the best in college basketball history. Regardless what fans think of his family situation, Ball averaged 14.6 points on 55.1 percent shooting from the field and 41.2 from 3-point range, plus 7.6 assists (single-season school-record 274) and 6.0 rebounds in 36 collegiate games in 2016-17. His 66 steals rank eighth all-time in program history. Ball was an unanimous first-team All-American by The Associated Press and only freshman finalist for the three major national player of the year awards: Wooden Award, Naismith, and Oscar Robertson Trophy. Ball currently stars for the Chicago Bulls,
2. Arron Afflalo, Guard-Forward (2005-07)
Afflalo is one of the most complete players in UCLA basketball history. While he certainly made a name for himself on the defensive end of the court, Afflalo averaged nearly 15 points and shot 45.7 percent for his three-year collegiate career. Afflalo, the Pac-10 Player of the Year when he averaged 16.9 points and shot 46.1 percent in 2006-07, sits tied for third in school history with 209 made 3-pointers.
3. Jason Kapono, Forward (2000-03)
Right up there with the offensive greats in UCLA history is Kapono, who is tied for third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 2,095 points. Complete with his trademark headband, Kapono also ranks second in program history with 317 made 3-pointers and a 44.6 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. He was the first Bruin to be named first-team All-Pac-10 all four years in school, and the only one to lead the team in scoring four straight seasons.
4. Ed O’Bannon, Forward (1992-95)
UCLA reached the Final Four in 2021, but its most recent national championship came in 1995. O’Bannon helped the Bruins win that title as the best player in the country. A 15.5 average career scorer and 51.3 percent shooter put up 20.4 points and registered 8.3 boards in 1994-95. He also pulled down 7.0 rebounds per game in his four collegiate seasons. Not only was O’Bannon, now best known for championing the likeness rights of college athletes, not only was a first-team All-American in 1995, he was the Wooden Award winner, USBWA College Player of the Year and Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
5. Don MacLean, Forward (1989-92)
In the storied history of UCLA basketball, it’s MacLean who sits atop the school’s career scoring list with 2,608 points. The pride of nearby Simi Valley, MacLean averaged 20.5 points on 53.1-percent shooting while starting all 127 games he played at UCLA. He’s also the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer.
6. Jerome “Pooh” Richardson, Guard (1986-89)
A four-year starter for the Bruins, Richardson could do a little bit of everything during his time in Westwood. While Richardson averaged 12 career points (15.2 as a senior) and shot 51.3 percent, he was best known for his ability to distribute the basketball. “Pooh,” as he’s affectionately known, remains the school’s all-time leader with 833 assists and is responsible for three of the top seven assist seasons in UCLA history. Richardson was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 1986 and a three-time first-team all-conference selection.
7. Reggie Miller, Guard (1984-87)
Of course, Miller is known for his stellar NBA career with the Indiana Pacers, but that foundation was definitely laid at UCLA. One of the most dynamic players in college basketball during the 1980s, Miller averaged 25.9 points as a junior and 22.3 during his senior season. Miller’s 2,095 points are tied for third all time, while his 750 from the 1985-86 campaign rank second in school history for a single season. He was a 54.7 percent shooter and recorded 158 steals — tied for ninth in UCLA history. Miller was a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection and had his No. 31 retired by the school.
8. David Greenwood, Forward (1976-79)
While UCLA’s dominance in college basketball waned in the late 1970s, the program was obviously not void of individual talent. Greenwood was UCLA’s star in those later years, averaging at least 16.7 points in each of his final three seasons — highlighted by a career-high 19.9 in 1978-79. Greenwood was a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year and consensus first-team All-American (1978, 1979). His 1,022 career rebounds are fourth-most in UCLA history.
9. Marques Johnson, Guard-Forward (1974-77)
Johnson was a highly touted recruit who starred at Los Angeles’ famed Crenshaw High School in the later days of the John Wooden era. He was part of that 1975 title-winning Bruins team. Two years later, he was tabbed national player of the year — that later became the John R. Wooden Award — for averaging 21.4 points and 11.1 rebounds. Johnson’s 897 career rebounds rank eighth in school history.
10. Richard Washington, Forward (1974-76)
Like Dave Meyers, Washington was part of John Wooden’s final national championship squad at UCLA in 1975, which also happened to be the legendary coach’s last season at the school. That season, Washington averaged 15.9 points and 7.8 rebounds, and he was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. A season later, Washington was scoring at a clip of 20.1 points per game and pulling down 8.6 rebounds en route to a consensus first-team All-American honor.
11. Dave Meyers, Forward (1973-75)
It would be easy for Meyers to get lost in the shadows of great UCLA big men like Bill Walton or Jamaal Wilkes. Meyers played on two national championship teams at UCLA and solidified himself as the standout of the 1974-75 group after Walton and Wilkes were gone. That season, Meyers led the Bruins in scoring (18.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.9 per game) while earning first-team All-American honors.
12. Jamaal Wilkes, Forward (1972-74)
Playing alongside Bill Walton, Wilkes was a two-time national champion (1972, ’73) and consensus All-American (1973, ’74). Wilkes earned the nickname “Silk” because he essentially made the game look easy with the ball in his hands. He averaged 15 points while shooting 51.4 percent and 7.4 rebounds during his three-season varsity career at UCLA. All of it set the stage for a successful NBA stint.
13. Bill Walton, Center (1972-74)
The free-spirited Walton was a character from the moment he stepped on to the UCLA campus. He was also one of the great players in college basketball history. Indebted to his legendary coach John Wooden, Walton was part of two Bruins national championship teams from 1972 and ’73, and he was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player in each tournament. Walton averaged 20.3 points — on 65.1-percent shooting — and 15.8 rebounds for his collegiate career. He was a three-time national player of the year, and his 1,370 rebounds are the most in school history.
14. Henry Bibby, Guard (1970-72)
Another Bruin to start on three of the school’s national title-winning teams, Bibby was one of the great point guards throughout college basketball in the decade of the 1970s. He averaged 14.4 career points and recorded at least 100 assists in each of his three seasons at UCLA. Bibby was a first-team All-American for the 1971-72 campaign, when he averaged career highs of 15.7 points and 3.5 assists. Bibby also enjoyed a long coaching career, notably spending time in charge of Los Angeles rival USC (1996-2005).
15. Sidney Wicks, Forward (1969-71)
Wicks’ progression in three seasons of varsity play at UCLA was quite remarkable. In 1968-69, Wicks averaged just 7.5 points, but two seasons later, he was awarded multiple national player of the year honors while averaging 21.3 points and shooting 52.4 percent. The Most Outstanding Player of the 1970 Final Four, Wicks played on three of the Bruins’ national championship squads and ranks 10th in school history with 894 rebounds.
16. Curtis Rowe, Forward (1969-71)
Rowe joins Kareem as one of those four players to start on three of UCLA’s national championship teams. In Rowe’s case, that came in 1969, ’70 and ’71. During those three seasons at UCLA, Rowe averaged 15.2 points while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 8.8 rebounds over 90 games. A solid, strong presence at 6-foot-7, Rowe was a two-time All-Pac 8 performer and consensus second-team All-American.
17. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Center (1965-69)
While at UCLA, Jabbar was still known as Lew Alcindor. A legendary prep star from New York City, Kareem’s legacy grew while playing for John Wooden at UCLA. The 7-foot-1 superstar is one of four players to start on three UCLA national championship squads, and he remains the school record holder in single-season points (870 from 1966-67), single-game points (61 in 1966-67), and scoring average (26.4). The three-time national player of the year ranks second in school history for career points (2,325) and rebounds (1,367).
18. Gail Goodrich, Guard (1963-65)
Despite his lack of height (a generous 6-foot-1), Goodrich was another star of John Wooden’s early national championship teams at UCLA. Goodrich averaged 19 points and shot 47.6 percent during his Bruins career, and he teamed with Walt Hazzard to win the school’s first title in 1964. After Hazzard left, Goodrich averaged 24.8 per contest in 1964-65, and his 744 points during that campaign rank third in school history. In UCLA’s 91-80 victory over Michigan in that season’s national championship game, Goodrich dropped 42 on the Wolverines — a finals record at the time.
19. Walt Hazzard, Guard (1962-64)
One of Philadelphia’s all-time great high school players, Hazzard was part of UCLA’s first Final Four team in 1962 and first national championship squad two years later, which also happened to finish that season 30-0. Hazzard averaged 18.6 points during that historic 1963-64 season, and he was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player. For his three-season playing career at UCLA, Hazzard averaged 16.1 points and 5.5 rebounds. Hazzard later returned to Westwood for a four-year coaching stint (1984-’88) with the Bruins.
20. Don Barksdale, Forward (1942-43; 1946-47)
When it comes to historical significance, Barksdale was a true trailblazer. Though his time at UCLA was relatively short — and interrupted by a stint serving in World War II following the 1943 season — Barksdale is noted as the first African-American to earn consensus All-American honors. The 6-foot-6 Hall of Famer was also the first Black player to be part of the United States’ men’s Olympic basketball team.
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Top 20 players in UCLA men’s basketball history
No school has won more men’s basketball national championships than UCLA’s 11. All but one of those titles were mentored by legendary trainer John Wooden. Naturally, the Bruins were successful because of those players on the floor, some becoming legends of the game.