Top 5 Greatest ACC Basketball Players of All Time

Regardless of the disparaging remarks about Greensboro by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, having the ACC Basketball Tournament in Brooklyn is, well, weird.  But that is where the great tourney is being held this week.

In case you missed it, here’s what the Syracuse coach said via ASAP Sports after his loss to Miami in the opening round of the ACC:

“There’s no value in playing (The ACC) Greensboro, none. It’s there because the league’s been there and the office is there, and they have 150 people that the ACC needs. That’s why it’s there. It should not be there.

“You get in the media centers and the recruiting centers, how many players do they have in Greensboro? I mean, New York, Washington, Atlanta, that’s where the media centers are. Madison Square Garden made the Big East conference. There’s a couple other factors, but made the Big East conference.

“And I’m saying all that because I don’t give a (expletive). I’m just saying what’s right. That’s what’s right. Why do you think the Big Ten is coming into New York? It’s business, good business sense. They all say it’s a business. Well, then, let’s start acting like it’s a business.”

The city of Greensboro fired back with one of the great Tweets seen in a long time:

It’s a tournament whose roots are firmly planted in the Carolinas, and most notably, the Greensboro Coliseum.

Great players, many of whom went on to NBA greatness, played in the ACC Tournament, and most of them played in Greensboro.

So in the midst of all of this talk about the ACC, it’s time for another Top 5!  This time, it’s the greatest players ever to hit the court in the ACC.  This is based on their ACC careers only, not what they accomplished after their college days ended.

5.) Ralph Sampson, Virginia

In his four years playing for Terry Holland at Virginia, Ralph Sampson never led the Cavaliers to the ACC Tournament Championship, but that did not stop the 7’4″ sensation from being one of the top players of all time.  He was named the ACC Player of the Year and the Naismith National Player of the Year in three of his four years in Charlottesville where he averaged over 16 points and 11 rebounds per game.  Sampson was quick and big, a unique combination.  His years in the NBA ever lived up to the what he accomplished while in the ACC.

4.)  Michael Jordan, North Carolina

It’s difficult listing the greatest professional basketball player of all time as a mere fourth on this list.  It just shows how many great players have been in the Conference.  In his three years at Chapel Hill, Jordan was spectacular, finishing with a scoring average of 17.7 points per game and hitting 54 percent of his shots from the field.  He led North Carolina to the ACC and NCAA Championships in his freshman season where he was also named conference freshman of the year.  Jordan went on to win ACC Player of the Year and the Naismith National Player of the Year honors in his final season as a junior for Dean Smith.

3.)  Phil Ford, North Carolina

Ford was the living persona of Dean Smith’s “Four-Corners” offense.  When he had the ball, he was the most elusive ball handler in the nation.  Many still feel he is the greatest point guard the college game has ever seen.  When Ford finished out his career at Chapel Hill, he was the school’s all time leading scorer with 2,290 points; a mark that would later be broken by Tyler Hansbrough.  Ford also was the first ACC player ever to have at least 2,000 points and 600 assists.  North Carolina won two ACC titles with Ford at point guard.  He was a consensus All-American in 1976, 1977, and 1978, and was a member of the U.S. Gold Medal basketball team in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

2.)  Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina

Hansbrough became the first player in ACC history to be named First Team All-ACC four times, and First Team All-American four times.  He is the ACC’s all time leading scorer with 2,872 points and owns the NCAA record for most foul shots made.  He led the Tar Heels in scoring and rebounding in each of his four seasons at Chapel Hill.  North Carolina won two ACC Tournament Championships and one NCAA Championship (2009) behind the play of the talented kid from Missouri.  His professional career has never matched his college game as he is currently playing for Fort Wayne in the NBA Developmental League.

1.)  David Thompson, NC State

Thompson was one of the most prolific scorers, rebounders and jumpers in college basketball history.  He averaged 26.8 points per game in his three seasons at NC State.  He holds the school record for most points, and scored a school high 57 points in a single game back in 1974.  With Thompson leading the way, the Wolfpack finished undefeated in 1973, but due to being on probation, was not able to play in the post season.  The following season they won the NCAA Championship by going 30-1 and beating UCLA in the title game in Greensboro. Thompson was a three-time First-Team All-American , named First-Team All-ACC three times, and was also ACC Player of the Year three times.  Although he was one of the greatest leapers of all time, he played in college when the dunk was outlawed.

 

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