Who are the greatest ACC basketball players of all-time?
ACC basketball is arguably the best of any conference in the United States. Some of the biggest names in NCAA and NBA basketball competed up and down the Atlantic Coast during their collegiate years. ACC fans have witnessed some of the greatest college basketball players and many incredible basketball games over the years. Basketball fans can use the William Hill promotional offer to wager on their favorite teams when the next set of games tip off.
The conference’s illustrious pedigree of former basketball stars begs the question, who are the greatest ACC players of all-time? It is a difficult question to answer with a number of possible players in the mix.
Ralph Sampson, Virginia
Ralph Sampson was a 7ft 4in giant on the basketball court. The Virgina Cavalier center never won an ACC Tournament title, but did capture the ACC Player of the Year and the Naismith National Player of the Year awards in three of his four years with the team. Sampson averaged over 16 points and 11 rebounds per game between 1979 and 1983.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
Like Sampson, North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough was an immense college basketball player that never transferred his great play over to the NBA. Still, Hansbrough is considered not just one of the best ACC players of all-time, but one of the best in all of college basketball. Hansbrough was named First Team All-ACC four times, First Team All-American four times, won two ACC Tournaments, and the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, the pro ranks didn’t pan out and Hansbrough currently plays his ball in China.
David Thompson, NC State
David Thompson is a forgotten great having played his college basketball at NC State from 1972 to 1975. He was a prolific scorer averaging more than 26 points per game during his time with the Wolfpack. He scored an NC State record 57 points during a game in 1974. He led the Wolfpack to an undefeated record in 1973, however, the school couldn’t play in the NCAA Tournament due to being on probation. The next season he led the team to the National Title. Thompson won three ACC Player of the Year awards while playing in Charlottesville.
Christian Laettner, Duke
One of the most controversial players to place at No. 2, but oftentimes, Christian Laettner is ignored as an ACC great due to most basketball fans hating the former Duke Blue Devil. Laettner was a two-time NCAA Champion and the man fans wanted with the ball late in games. A natural winner, Laettner was a three-time All-ACC player and Wooden and Naismith awards winner. Every season saw his average points per game go up at Duke and so did the accolades he received.
Michael Jordan, North Carolina
Michael Jordan is the greatest ACC player of all-time, but much of the recognition he gets maybe due to what occurred after leaving North Carolina. Jordan is arguably the greatest NBA player of all-time and his play at Chapel Hill was a precursor to what fans saw in the Association. He played just three seasons at North Carolina averaging 17.7 points per game. The Tar Heels won the ACC and NCAA Championships in Jordan’s freshman season. In his final year, he won the ACC Player of the Year and the Naismith National Player of the Year awards before going onto be the best-ever player in the NBA.
Story by Toby Miller