The NCAA March Madness tournament is a highlight of not only the best college basketball teams in the country but also the best players that will surely be drafted into the NBA at one point. Players bring themselves to the spotlight at the national level and raise their stock come the draft.
Unfortunately, jumping from the NCAA to the NBA is not always easy, a player who showcases some skill at a certain level might find it hard to transition against players who have been playing in the top basketball league in the World for over a decade.
For whatever reason, it does not work out and some NCAA talents get, unjustly, at times labeled as flops. Here are 25 NCAA players who were nothing but heat in college but fizzled pretty fast when they got to the NBA. Here are the top 25 NCAA to NBA flops.
25. Scott May
Scott May was a part of the undefeated campaign in 1975-1975 at Indiana University. The towering May had NCAA stats of 24 points per game and 7.7 rebounds and he earned AP Player of the Year honors. Drafted at number 2 by the Chicago Bulls, May's NBA career was nothing like his NCAA run. With only 10.4 points per game, he played for 3 NBA teams before moving to Italy to continue his career.
24. Jay Williams
The former Duke star, Jay Williams was the number two pick of the NBA draft in 2002. Another Chicago Bulls draft pick that did not work out as Williams suffered a career ending motorcycle accident. Despite a decent rookie year, he was never the same and was soon cut afterward. A tough go and it is harsh to call him a flop, but one season and an average of 9.5 points per game is all we got.
23. Doug McDermott
Doug McDermott had an amazing College career, here were some of his accolades: Consensus national college player of the year (2014), 2× Lute Olson Award (2012, 2014), 2× MVC Player of the Year (2012, 2013), and Big East Player of the Year (2014). In the NBA, not even a whimper, a player who averages just 10 points per game, McDermott is nothing more than a role player.
22. Jonny Flynn
The former 2009 Big East MVP and Syracuse product was drafted into the NBA in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Flynn’s NBA stats were nothing to write home about. He played for 3 NBA teams and last played in 2014 in Italy. 9 points per game was all he could average.
21. Sam Bowie
Sam Bowie was the number two draft in 1984, ahead of a certain Michael Jordan. A hard act to follow, Bowie signed with the Portland Trail Blazers, and while Bowie had a steady NBA career, he was nothing compared to Jordan, few could be, and he only averaged 10 points per game.
20. Bryant Reeves
Bryant Reeves had an outstanding College career at Oklahoma State, 2× Second-team All-American – UPI (1994, 1995), 2× Big Eight Player of the Year (1993, 1995), and 3× First-team All-Big Eight (1993–1995). In the NBA Reeves faced many injuries and his production fizzled after his third season. He played a total of six seasons in Vancouver, but nothing memorable.
19. Adam Morrison
It’s not often a two-time NBA champion is considered a flop but being a part of championship squads is just a highlight to a rather unproductive NBA career. Adam Morrison was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006, the same year he won the NCAA scoring championship. In Charlotte, Morrison’s play dropped from 11 points per game to just 4. Somehow, he ended up with the Lakers and produced numbers like 1 and 2 points per game. At least Morrison won two titles.
18. Pervis Ellison
Pervis Ellison was a top NCAA player at Louisville, a national champion and NCAA Final Four most outstanding player, but when he moved to the NBA all that changed. Ellison was often injured during his time in the Sacramento Kings and while Ellison had lengthy stays in Washington and Boston, he had a reputation of being often injured.
17. Joe Smith
Star at the University of Maryland, Joe Smith averaged 20.2 points per game and 10.7 rebounds in his two seasons in college. Smith later made the leap to the NBA and was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1995. Smith had a decent start to his career but later he became a sort of vagabond, jumping from team to team. 12 teams in total, his last team was the Lakers in 2011.
16. Kwame Brown
The number one pick in the 2001 draft, Kwame Brown was a tough and able center in his college career. He had the power to play offense and defense and was taken by the Washington Wizards. Brown was known for his issues of being somewhat of a headcase, and was traded to the Lakers in 2005. At a terrible average of under 8 points a game, Brown was a flop of huge proportions.
15. Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette was the NCAA leading scorer in 2011 and amassed many records at BYU. When he was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 2011, Fredette seemed like a player ready for the big leap to the NBA. Well, he didn’t, his productivity dropped considerably in the NBA to less than 8 points per game. After poor stints with the Knicks and the Suns he went to China and won a championship.
14. Shabazz Napier
Winner of two NCAA titles with UConn, it was a no brainer he’d be taken by an NBA team and Shabazz was in 2014 by the Miami Heat. To say his productivity was dreadful is an understatement. Napier averaged only 5 points in Miami, in Orlando he did even worse at 3. The most he played with a team was two seasons in Portland and was last cut by Washington.
13. Tyler Hansbrough
Tyler Hansbrough won a NCAA title with UNC, in North Carolina, Hansbrough was a beast and averaged 20.2 points per game and 8.6 rebounds. In the NBA he was nothing but a vagabond and offered very little on the court. After pit stops in 3 NBA teams Tyler moved down to the developmental league before playing abroad. Hansbrough's best year was his second with the Pacers at 11 points per game.
12. Bo Kimble
Bo Kimble led the NCAA in scoring in his senior year with an amazing 35.4 points per game. The shooting guard would move from Loyola Marymount to the Los Angeles Clippers in 1990 and all that thunder evaporated pretty quickly when faced with more talented players. Kimble could only average 5.5 points per game in the NBA.
11. Trajan Langdon
The former Duke product, Trajan Langdon was known as the Alaskan Assassin and set the all-time records for threes at Duke during his time there. In 1999 Langdon was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and played three seasons averaging a meager 5 points per game. Langdon did find success playing overseas.
10. Luke Jackson
At Oregon Luke Jackson was nothing but money, averaging 21 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists his senior year. Jackson was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2004 and was largely ineffective. Averaging under 3 points in two seasons, Jackson ended his career in Israel.
9. Greg Oden
Greg Oden was a towering seven-foot center out of Ohio State and was selected over a certain Kevin Durant by the Trail Blazers. For Portland it was a disaster move, Oden was injured much of 2007-2008. At 33, he played little more than 100 games in the NBA and later played a season in China, in total Oden missed more time due to injury than on the court.
8. Ed O’Bannon
The UCLA star, Ed O’Bannon won a national championship in 1995 and was taken by the New Jersey Nets in the draft that same year. Despite the impressive senior year stats in the NBA O’Bannon played only two seasons and averaged 5 points in 128 NBA games. O’Bannon went on to play in several countries including Argentina, Poland, and Spain.
7. Joseph Forte
Joseph Forte played two seasons in North Carolina and looked ready for the NBA averaging 20 points per game. The Boston Celtics took a gamble on a young player and it did not pay off, Forte only averaged 1 point per game in the NBA. Forte would play overseas the rest of his career.
6. Dajuan Wagner
Dajuan Wagner played in Memphis and was a beast with 21.2 points per game and was taken sixth in the 2003 NBA draft. Things started out pretty well in Cleveland but injuries took their toll and he was cut in 2005. Wagner went to Golden State and after just 1 season he was cut after another injury.
5. Omar Cook
The St. John’s product, Omar Cook, was a great big east prospect, but the team that drafted him, Orlando Magic, quickly traded him to the Denver Nuggets, and Cook did not even suit up for the Nuggets instead played in the D- NBA before finally playing in 2004 for the Portland Trail Blazers. From there Cook went to Toronto and all we can say is that he averaged a career points per game of just 1.7.
4. Kosta Koufos
Ohio State product Kosta Koufos had a decent average of 14.4 points per game and 6 rebounds in college, in the NBA he was drafted in 2008 by the Utah Jazz. Koufos played for 5 NBA teams averaging 5 points per game and being nothing more than a bit player.
3. Javaris Crittenton
Javaris Crittenton was a Georgia Tech product who put up decent numbers before joining the NBA in 2007. Crittenton was an athletic player at point guard but got hit with the injury bug and was involved in a strange incident involving a handgun. Things took a turn for the worse as later as Crittenton joined the street gang “The Crips” while with the Lakers and in 2011 after his career was all but over, he was involved in a murder. In 2015 Crittenton was sentenced to 23 years in prison and is set to be released in 2036.
2. Cheick Diallo
Former University of Kansas Center Cheick Diallo was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2016 only to be traded to the New Orleans Pelicans by the end of the night. In three seasons with the Pelicans Diallo stunk it up on the court. In four seasons and 2 teams Diallo averaged an unimpressive 5.3 points per game.
1. John Turner
John Turner was not a very impressive college player, getting kicked out of Georgetown due to his association with drug dealers, while at Phillips University he got noticed by NBA scouts and ended up with the Houston Rockets in 1991. With an average of 2.8 points per game the Rockets cut Turner by season's end. To Turner’s credit he did establish himself overseas playing in Italy and Spain, among other leagues.