Virginia Cavaliers: The best basketball players of all-time
Our focus on the Virginia Cavaliers is on their legendary basketball stars – from All-Americans and NBA appearance-makers to school legends who had their jerseys retired, as we run down the list of some of the greatest ever players to don the team’s jersey.
Although it is further up the ladder where the attention falls as NBA betting has never been easier with the introduction of online and mobile betting.
The first truly ‘great’ Virginia player, Wilkinson had his number retired after a spell with the team that saw him become its first scoring leader when they joined the ACC in 1953 – averaging 32 points per game. He still sits up in 12th position on the entire ACC scoring list and even gave up an opportunity to sign for an NBA roster in order to continue his studies.
This guy put Virginia basketball on the map and was a tremendous scorer before a shot clock and three-point line. Still, Parkhill finished 18th in his career for scoring and led his team in scoring for three straight years. His continued contributions to Virginia well after his playing days had finished is deserved of a palace in this list.
“Wonderful” Wally Walker single-handedly led Virginia to its first ever ACC Tournament Championship in 1976 as the sixth seed, eliminating the first, second, and third seeds on his way to an incredible statistic.
Walker is seventh on the career scoring list and averaged over 22 points per game his senior season. He won the Everett Case award and proved he knows how to lead a team.
A true scorer who knew how to get to the line and convert, Lamp at one time held the ACC record for most consecutive free throws made and finished eighth in the ACC in scoring and second in school history.
Lamp led the team in scoring every year at Virginia, even the first two years of the Ralph Sampson era and also won or tied 14 games in the final minute.
Sampson personifies Virginia basketball to a tee. Sampson was a three-time National Player of the Year, a feat that will never be beaten and is the team’s all-time leader in rebounds and blocks by some considerable distance.
Students painted the top of University Hall to ensure his signing for the team, and in “Ralph’s House” as it was known, the Cavaliers went to their first Final Four, achieved a number one ranking and played the classic duel against Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing.
Wilson has the numbers every true point guard should strive for. The all-time steals leader and fifth in assists, Wilson led the team in scoring in the ’83-84 season – the year after the departure of the legendary Ralph Sampson (more on him later). He filled the void by leading that team with coach Rick Carlisle and led Virginia to its second Final Four.
Morgan’s 673 points scored in the ’88-89 season has only been beaten three times since 1946 – not a bad accomplishment for someone who did not start until his junior year. He is in the top 15 in scoring despite having many great players around him and is eighth in assists and 10th in field goals made and undoubtedly would have been higher if given more opportunities.
The all-time assists leader in the team’s history, Crotty was the ringmaster of the Bryant Stith teams and a three-year starter. Crotty still averaged nearly 15 points as a starter and led them to the Elite Eight in 1989. Versatile, smart and experienced – a key component in a successful team.
Stith is Virginia’s all-time leading scorer with an incredible 2,516 points in his career – the fifth best in the history of the ACC, beating greats such as Len Bias, Sam Perkins and Tim Duncan. Stith helped lead Virginia to an Elite Eight and three 20-win seasons and clinched an NIT title – one of only two postseason championship banners on display at the John Paul Jones Arena.
Stith is also seventh all-time in steals with 177, showing a speed and quickness that is necessary to win against elite teams. All-time leading scorer he may be, but the final selection is considered the greatest of all…
Who will be the future Cavalier legends that mark their name in the history books of an NCAA setup that new commissioner Jim Phillips wants to overhaul for the benefit of the sport and its players? We cannot wait to find out.
Cavaliers’ best big man of the 1990s, Burrough was the leader of the surprising 1995 team that made it all the way to the Elite Eight before losing to Arkansas. He lies third in the all-time rebounding and averaged over 15 points per game in his career. He is also sixth all-time in scoring and can claim he was part of two teams that made it to the Sweet Sixteen, as well as an NIT Championship squad. He had one of the most successful periods in UVA basketball history.
Arguably the most underrated player in Virginia history, the quiet and unassuming Williams let his game do the talking and produced some of the best statistics around. One of the best scorers in UVA history, finishing eighth on the scoring list and seventh in field goals, Williams also finished seventh in rebounding and clocked up 189 steals, numbers that are pretty rare.
Perhaps a surprising selection but it must be remembered that Watson played four years out of his natural position of power forward – and came up against far bigger and taller opponents.
Despite this, he finished third all-time in blocks at Virginia and second in school history with 54 career double-doubles. He brought down over 1,000 rebounds, second only to Sampson and nearly 200 more than Junior Burrough.
Virginia were a very strong defensive force with Watson’s low blocks and guts on the court and he possessed the ability to finish strong at the basket for rebounded efforts.
Playing in the same point guard position as Othell Wilson and John Crotty, Singletary offered a complete overall game that made an impact in almost every category of the career record book. He finished fifth in points, 10th in field goals made, fourth in three-pointers, fourth in free throws made, third in assists, and second in steals – and sits inside the top 10 of six different categories, most notably his high numbers in the assists rankings with very little support around him.
Story by Nathan Auty