UCLA has been a powerhouse in college basketball for decades. From Lew Alcindor to Reggie Miller, the Bruins have produced some of the greatest players in the history of the game. This blog post will take a look at the top 10 greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time. We’ll take a look at their accomplishments and how they helped shape the program into one of the most storied and respected in the nation. So without further ado, let’s get started on discovering who the top 10 greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time are!
1) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is undoubtedly one of the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time. He played for UCLA from 1966 to 1969, helping the Bruins to three consecutive NCAA championships. During his college career, Abdul-Jabbar was an absolute force, averaging 26.4 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. His impressive performances on the court earned him three National Player of the Year awards, as well as an NCAA Most Outstanding Player award in 1967.
Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA career is even more impressive than his college career. He was the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, won six MVP awards, and is a member of the NBA Hall of Fame. His successes on the court make it easy to see why he is considered one of the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time.
2) Bill Walton
When it comes to the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time, Bill Walton tops the list. Walton was one of the most dominant players in college basketball history and was the centerpiece of the powerhouse UCLA teams of the 1970s. He led the Bruins to two consecutive national championships in 1972 and 1973. During his senior year, he earned both NCAA Player of the Year and National Player of the Year honors.
Walton was also an elite defender, averaging nearly three blocks per game during his college career. His offensive repertoire included a variety of post moves, jump shots, and dunks that were ahead of their time. He also showed remarkable passing ability and court vision, leading to his selection as the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.
In his pro career, Walton played on two championship teams, won an MVP award, and made the All-Star team several times. His accomplishments make him arguably the greatest UCLA Bruin of all time.
3) Gail Goodrich
Gail Goodrich is widely considered one of the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time. The Los Angeles native was the star of the legendary 1965 UCLA Bruins team, which was John Wooden’s first championship team. He would go on to be named MVP of the 1966 NCAA Tournament, earning him first-team All-America honors.
Goodrich was a three-time All-Pac 8 selection and led the Bruins to two Final Fours in his four-year career. He averaged 16.8 points and 3.2 assists per game during his tenure at UCLA and was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.
Goodrich went on to have a successful NBA career, winning a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972, and was later inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996. His number 25 jersey was retired by both UCLA and the Lakers in recognition of his accomplishments.
4) Jamaal Wilkes
Jamaal Wilkes is one of the most iconic UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time. He was a four-time All-American and three-time NBA champion, with two championships won as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and one as a Golden State Warrior.
Wilkes played three seasons at UCLA, from 1972 to 1974. He was part of the legendary Bruins team that won the 1973 National Championship. During his three years at UCLA, Wilkes averaged 20.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He was the first player in school history to lead the team in scoring and rebounding for three straight seasons.
Wilkes was known for his versatility, with the ability to score, rebound, pass, and defend at a high level. After college, he went on to have an impressive NBA career, making five All-Star teams and winning three championships. He was also named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996.
In total, Wilkes spent 14 years in the NBA and averaged 16.1 points and 6.7 rebounds over his career. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. To this day, Wilkes remains one of the most iconic UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time and deserves a spot on any list of top players in school history.
5) Reggie Miller
When it comes to the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time, one name stands out above the rest: Reggie Miller. The legendary sharpshooter was a part of UCLA’s great teams of the 1980s and early 1990s, and his exploits on the court were truly legendary.
During his college career, Miller set records for 3-pointers made in a season and in a career, as well as single-game scoring records. He was a two-time All-American, and he was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year in both 1989 and 1990. He is still the all-time leading scorer in UCLA history with 2,095 points.
Reggie Miller was also a master of the clutch shot, famously sinking several shots that kept UCLA alive in tight games. He was also known for his trademark celebration dance, which he debuted during UCLA’s Final Four run in 1992.
Miller was drafted 11th overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers, where he played until his retirement in 2005. During his 18-year career with the Pacers, Miller established himself as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. He was a five-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection, and he ranks second all-time in 3-pointers made.
Reggie Miller will always be remembered as one of the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time. His incredible shooting abilities, clutch performances, and signature celebration dance have cemented him as one of the most iconic players in the history of the program.
6) Baron Davis
Baron Davis is widely considered to be one of the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time. He was a two-time All-American at UCLA from 1998 to 1999, earning Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in 1999. Davis was also named a consensus Second Team All-American in 1999, and finished his career at UCLA as the school’s all-time leader in assists.
Davis was drafted third overall in the 1999 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, and went on to have a successful professional career that spanned 13 seasons. In 2002, he was named an NBA All-Star for the first time and was twice named to the All-NBA Third Team. He was also a three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, and a two-time recipient of the NBA Sportsmanship Award.
Baron Davis’s performance in college and the NBA is worthy of recognition as one of the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time. He left an indelible mark on both UCLA and the NBA, making him an all-time great.
7) Kobi Simmons
Kobi Simmons is one of the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time. He was a highly decorated college player, and has since been inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
Simmons was an explosive scoring guard who excelled at attacking the basket, as well as playing stellar defense. He was a key member of the 1995-96 UCLA team that reached the Elite Eight, and went on to become a first-round NBA Draft pick in 1997.
Simmons averaged 14.4 points per game over his college career, and led the Bruins in scoring for three consecutive seasons. His senior season saw him average 17.3 points per game and earn All-Pac-10 honors.
Kobi Simmons was a legendary player for the Bruins and is deserving of his spot on the list of greatest UCLA men’s basketball players of all time.
8) Jaylen Hands
When talking about the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time, it’s hard to leave out Jaylen Hands. The 6’3 guard out of El Cajon, California, was a four-year starter and one of the most dominant players in program history. He helped lead the Bruins to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2019 and 2020 and was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team in both seasons.
Hands averaged 16 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists in his college career, shooting 45% from the field and 37% from 3-point range. He was also an excellent defender, racking up 1.6 steals per game and using his length to bother opposing guards. His ability to make plays off the dribble and find open teammates made him a difficult cover for opposing defenses.
Hands was also known for his leadership on the court and his commitment to his teammates. His unselfishness was especially important during UCLA’s run to the Sweet 16 in 2019 when he took on a supporting role and allowed others like Cody Riley and Kris Wilkes to shine.
In recognition of his tremendous collegiate career, Hands was drafted No. 24 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz and is currently playing for the Houston Rockets. He may not have been the most heralded player in UCLA history, but Jaylen Hands’ contributions to the Bruins should not be overlooked when discussing the greatest players of all time.
9) Ben Howland
Ben Howland is one of the most iconic coaches in UCLA men’s basketball history. He took over the Bruins program in 2003 and led them to an impressive three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006-2008, a feat that no other coach has accomplished at UCLA. During his time with the Bruins, he also managed to become the winningest coach in school history with a total of 233 victories.
One of the most impressive aspects of Howland’s tenure was his ability to get the best out of each of his players. He was known for emphasizing defense and rebounding, which helped to create some of the most successful teams in Bruins history. Additionally, he was able to bring in top-level talent that was able to achieve on both the college and professional levels.
Some of Howland’s biggest stars included Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, and Jrue Holiday. All five of these players had successful collegiate careers and were later drafted into the NBA. Afflalo, Collison, Westbrook, and Holiday all went on to become All-Stars in the league, while Love was a four-time All-Star and won a championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Overall, Ben Howland left a lasting legacy at UCLA. He established a culture of winning and set the foundation for future success. His impact on the program will forever be remembered, as he helped to shape some of the greatest players in UCLA men’s basketball history.
10) Lonzo Ball
When you think of the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball program, one name immediately comes to mind: Lonzo Ball. The 2017 first round draft pick had a historic career at UCLA, as he became the first player in NCAA history to record multiple triple-doubles in a season. In his two seasons with the Bruins, Lonzo averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from the three-point line.
He was also named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was named a consensus All-American in his final year with the Bruins. On top of that, Lonzo led the team to the NCAA tournament in both of his seasons and was selected as a team captain as a sophomore.
His accomplishments as a Bruin are impossible to ignore, and it’s no surprise why he’s considered one of the greatest players in UCLA history. Not only did he have an amazing college career, but he has continued to be successful at the NBA level, as he was selected second overall in the 2017 draft.
It’s clear that Lonzo Ball will always be remembered as one of the greatest UCLA Bruins men’s basketball players of all time.