This Saturday, April 3, the NCAA Final Four will begin, which will define the new United States college basketball champion. The competition, which It is the most important springboard that players travel to reach the NBAIt will have an intense weekend that will begin with the semifinals and on Monday will close with the grand final.
Throughout history great NCAA stars, who won the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) -in Spanish: Most Outstanding Player-, were selected number 1 in the NBA Draft. These are the 13 players (8 are members of the Hall of Fame) who shone as young people and signed as a priority in the different franchises at a professional level.
THE 13 NCAA MVPS WHO WERE 1 IN THE NBA DRAFT
Representing Seattle University, Baylor led the Chieftains (now the Redhawks) to their only Final Four appearance in their history, in 1958. Baylor’s team fell to Kentucky 84-72 in the final, but that didn’t mean his remarkable performance in the tournament. With 135 points from five games, Baylor received the MOP award of the tournament.
A month later, the Minneapolis Lakers (later, the Los Angeles Lakers) selected him first in the draft. Baylor’s Hall of Fame career included 23,149 points, 11,463 rebounds and 11 All-Star appearances. However, he never won an NBA championship.
Almost three decades before Duke won his first national championship, Heyman was a Durham legend. In his senior year, he led Duke to his first Final Four in history, in 1963. The Blue Devils were eliminated in the national semifinals by Chicago’s Loyola, the eventual champion. Heyman scored 22 points in the game for third place, helping him win the MOP award.
After being selected first overall in 1963 by the Knicks, Heyman was inducted into the NBA’s rookie first team. His big league career plummeted afterward, although Heyman found some success in the ABA (a parallel league to the NBA that existed between 1967 and 1976).
Abdul-Jabbar was the MOP of the NCAA Tournament three times. He led UCLA to titles in 1967, 1968 and 1969. In 1969, the Milwaukee Bucks made Abdul-Jabbar the first overall pick. In 20 NBA seasons, Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships, six MVP awards, and made 19 All-Star games. He is the all-time leader in points scored with 38,387 total points.
Walton won two NCAA titles and two MOP awards in 1972 and 1973. He was selected first in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Trail Blazers. Walton’s NBA career included two NBA titles, an MVP award, and a Finals MVP award.
Thompson and NC State ended UCLA’s dynasty of seven consecutive championships to claim the 1974 title. Thompson scored 97 points in the tournament to be named their MOP. He was selected first overall in the 1975 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
The Virginia Squires of the ABA selected Thompson with their first pick, and his draft rights were traded to the Denver Nuggets (still of the ABA). Thompson signed with the Nuggets, who moved to the NBA in the ABA-NBA merger the following season.
As a youth at Indiana in 1975-76, Benson led the Hoosiers to the final undefeated season in NCAA history. The center had 25 points and 9 rebounds in the championship game against Michigan to win the MOP award. Benson’s college success led to him being drafted by number by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1977.
In one of the most memorable NCAA tournaments of all time, Johnson led Michigan State to beat Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores in the 1979 championship game. Johnson scored 24 points in the final to beat Bird and win. the MOP award.
Magic jumped to the pros months later to become the first pick in the NBA Draft, after just two college seasons. Johnson teamed up with Abdul-Jabbar for five NBA championships at the Los Angeles Lakers. He was also a 12-time All-Star and a three-time MVP.
Another major figure on the Lakers ‘championship teams of the’ 80s, Worthy led the North Carolina Tar Heels to an NCAA title in 1982. At the time, Worthy, who was a junior, scored 28 points in the game of the championship against Georgetown (got help from a freshman named Michael Jordan, who scored 16 points).
In the NBA, Worthy scored 16,320 career points, won three championships and won an NBA Finals MVP award.
In the first of two consecutive runner-ups for Olajuwon in Houston, the center led the Cougars to the 1983 NCAA title game against NC State. Olajuwon, who scored 20 points in the championship game, won the MOP honors.
He was selected first place in the 1984 Draft. He won two NBA titles, an MVP award, and scored 26,946 points.
Ewing’s historic college career in Georgetown resulted in three NCAA championship game appearances. Ewing won his MOP award in the only year he won a title with the Hoyas, 1984.
In 1985, Ewing was first selected by the Knicks from the NBA Draft. In his 17-year career he failed to win an NBA championship (he led the Knicks to two Finals appearances).
With Kansas he surprised his compatriot Oklahoma in the 1988 NCAA championship. Manning had 31 points in the final to finish with 163 points in the tournament.
Selected first overall by the Clippers, Manning had a less successful NBA career: He played for seven different teams in 15 seasons and averaged 14.0 points per game. He did two All-Star Games in 1993 and 1994.
In 1986, Ellison became the second freshman to win the MOP award, leading Louisville to a championship over Duke. Ellison had 25 points and 11 rebounds in the title game.
He was selected first overall by the Sacramento Kings in 1989. The center found moderate success in an 11-year career with four teams averaging 9.5 points per game.
Davis enrolled at the University of Kentucky. In his only college year he averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks, leading the NCAA in this last section. He played a total of 40 games, averaging 32 minutes per match, was named player of the year, rookie of the year and best defender of the year.
In the 2012 NCAA Division I Final Four final, his team beat the University of Kansas 67-59 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. After the final, MOP was elected. That same year he was selected in the first position of the NBA Draft by New Orleans Pelicans. He currently works for the Los Angeles Lakers.