Top 10 College Basketball One-And-Dones of All-Time
In honor of Carmelo Anthony’s retirement, we take a trip down memory lane and look back at the most accomplished one-and-dones in the history of college basketball. The sport has seen plenty of talent come and go, transitioning from their senior prom to getting drafted into the NBA in a matter of months.
Here’s how we rank the top ten one-and-dones of all time in college hoops.
Top Ten One-And-Dones of All-Time 1. Zion Williamson
Zion’s dominance throughout the 2018-19 season was unprecedented. Between his high-flying dunks, ridiculous athleticism, and linebacker build, Williamson became must-watch television. He recorded a Player Efficiency Rating of 40.84 during his freshman season, the highest PER recorded since it became an official stat in 2002-03.
2. Carmelo Anthony
While Anthony may have fallen just short of Zion’s personal achievements, it’s hard to argue with a national title in your lone season in college. Syracuse took home the 2002-03 title on the backs of an electric NCAA Tournament run from Melo, pouring in 20.2 points per game, knocking down 47.6 percent of his triples, and notching three double-doubles. A star was born that March and Anthony became one of the best scorers in NBA history.
3. Kevin Durant
KD was a unicorn to the game of basketball when he stepped foot on Texas’s campus. Nobody had seen the level of ball-handling, shotmaking, and movement from a player his size before, and it immediately had scouts in awe. The Maryland native averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds with 47.3/40.4/81.6 shooting splits in 2006-07, en route to becoming the consensus National Player of the Year.
4. Anthony Davis
Davis was nothing short of a menace in the paint for Kentucky during his freshman season, averaging 14.2 points and 10.4 rebounds while blocking 186 shots, the fourth-most in a college basketball season ever. He would take home many awards in 2011-12 with the Wildcats and, most importantly, a national title. AD would be selected first overall in the NBA Draft and is now an eight-time All-Star selection.
5. Michael Beasley
Things didn’t quite go as planned for Michael Beasley at the next level, but his one-and-done season at Kansas State is easily worth a spot within the top five. Beasley averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds, all while shooting 37.9 percent from beyond the arc. Beasley had it all with the Wildcats and was one of the most productive players overall that we have seen in the sport.
6. Trae Young
If you had ESPN putting your stat line above the scoreboard for your games in college, you deserve to be on this list. That was the case during Trae Young’s lone season at Oklahoma in 2017-18 after storming out of the gates early in the season with 14 consecutive games with 27 points or more. Young felt like Steph Curry reborn at the collegiate level with elite handles, crafty finishing at the rim, and a quick (and DEEP) three-point jumper. He’d drag the Sooners into the NCAA Tournament and become a consensus All-American in the process.
7. Derrick Rose
If this was a list of must-watch players in college, Derrick Rose has a case to be made for second right behind Zion. Rose was a high-flying, explosive guard that left jaws on the floor whenever he attacked the rim. Ferocious dunks, electric bounce, and elite playmaking made Rose the top pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
8. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins was a bowling ball in the paint, looking like a grown man at just 18 years old during his time at Kentucky. He ruled the key in 2010, averaging a scorching 25.8 points and 16.8 rebounds per 40 minutes. His gravity on the court went unmatched, and he continued to show that throughout a successful NBA career with the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans.
9. John Wall
Every big needs a capable guard, and John Wall was much more than that for DeMarcus Cousins. Wall’s speed, lethal vision, and athleticism made him one of the biggest nightmares to guard on this list. Sell out on his dribble drive to the rim, and he will find the open man. Give him a lane, and he’ll find a way to get his own time and time again. Wall’s combination of quickness and passing was enough to solidify him as the number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
10. Kevin Love
Kevin Love, the only Pac-12 representative on this list, brought a Final Four to UCLA and did so as a dominant forward. Love had 23 double-doubles, took home Pac-10 Player of the Year, and was voted a consensus All-American. He kept it up in the NBA as a lottery pick, where he was an All-Star stretch big for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers.