Sports Reference Blog

Some Famous Names You Might Not Have Known Played College Basketball

Posted by Mike Lynch on March 21, 2017

As you may have noticed, we recently made a massive update to the site, adding thousands of player pages back to the 1947-48 season. As we handled the update, we couldn't help but notice the wide variety of new payers in the database, who in the years (often decades) since they hung up their basketball sneakers, have become famous for things besides basketball. Below is a sampling of some of those players. We're sure there's others we're yet to notice, so please leave any discoveries that you make in the comments!

7 Responses to “Some Famous Names You Might Not Have Known Played College Basketball”

  1. Sean Says:

    Track & field star Carl Lewis didn't play college basketball, yet he was picked in the 10th round of the 1984 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls.  Baseball HOFer Jackie Robinson lettered in basketball at UCLA.

  2. Ken Auerbach Says:

    Tim Stoddard was a starter on the 1974 NC State National Champions who stopped UCLA's streak at seven.  He and Lofton are the only ones to play in the Final Four and the World Series.   As an amazing coincidence, they both went to the same high school.  

  3. Mike Lynch Says:

    That's pretty unbelievable!

  4. Jim Leefers Says:

    Sandy Koufax attended the University of Cincinnati and was a walk-on on the freshman basketball team. He later earned a partial scholarship.

  5. Dave Barker Says:

    Chuck Connors, aka "The Rifleman", played for Seton Hall for a short time. And later with the Rochester Royals, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs. Also, Dick Groat, who should be given more consideration for the baseball Hall of Fame, was an All-American basketball player for Duke.

  6. Erik Says:

    The only Academy Award-winner to play college basketball. Best Supporting Actor winner Mahershala Ali aka Mahershala Gilmore played for St. Mary's in the mid-90s.

  7. Michael Pavlovich Says:

    Dave DeBusschere U. of Detroit