Youth Basketball Mount Gilead played at Pleasant in a girls basketball game Wednesday night. Zzstk Stock Basketballs

We already know that a lot of Historically Black Colleges and Universities produced some of the best football players in the country but many basketball fans may not be aware that HBCUs have produced some great basketball players as well.

Some of the names on the list may be familiar to some, but a lot of these men may not be familiar to a lot of young basketball fans and may have been forgotten by older basketball fans as well.

But these 10 men made a huge impact on HBCU basketball which is still felt today. Here are the 10 best HBCU basketball players of all time.

10. Demontrae Jefferson, Texas Southern

Demontrae Jefferson was the top player in the SWAC during the 2017-18 season. Jefferson averaged nearly 19 points, three rebounds and nearly four assists a game while on his way to being Southwestern Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year and SWAC Tournament MVP, Also played a huge role in giving the Tigers their first-ever victory in the NCAA tournament. Jefferson dropped 25 points in a blowout victory over North Carolina Central.

9. Kyle O’Quinn, Northfolk State

Kyle O’Quinn was a defensive force in the MEAC. He was a two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and MEAC Player of the Year, O’Quinn averaged 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game. But O’Quinn may be most remembered as being part of the team that upset the Missouri Tigers in the NCAA Tournament when the Tigers were a two-seed and the Spartans were the 15th seed. O’Quinn scored 26 points and 14 rebounds. He later went on to play for several NBA teams after his college career.

8. Reginald Johnson Jr., Hampton

Reginald Johnson was a transfer player out of the University of Miami who made a huge impact for the Hampton Pirates. Johnson was Arthur & Olga Adkins Newcomer of the Year, MEAC Male Student-Athlete of the Year, First Team All-MEAC, and MEAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Johnson averaged  15.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in his career at Hampton. He also helped lead the team to their first NCAA Tournament history in 14 years when they defeated Manhattan.

7. Larry Stewart, Coppin State

Larry Stewart might have been one of the best players to ever play for Coppin State. Stewart was a two-time MEAC Player of the Year, two-time First Team All-MEAC, and Second Team All-MEAC. Stewart led the Eagles to their first NCAA Tournament appearance and after his college playing days, he starred in the NBA for the Washington Bullets and Seattle SuperSonics. Stewart averaged 20.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists.

5. Larry Smith, Alcorn State

Larry Smith got his nickname “Mr. Mean” probably probably while he was a player at Alcorn State. Smith was the NCAA rebounding leader and two-time SWAC Player of the Year while averaging 17.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. Smith was part of the Braves team that was the first to win an NCAA Tournament game in HBCU history when they defeated South Alabama. Smith is currently third in the school’s history in scoring and rebounding.

4. Avery Johnson, Southern University

Another great Jaguar on this list and perhaps the best-known player, is Avery Johnson. Johnson was a star at Southern in the 80s who went on to have a spectacular career in the NBA as a player and a coach but let’s look back at his college career. Johnson wasn’t known for his scoring (he only averaged 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 12.0 assists), he was, however, a great passer and was a two-time SWAC Player of the Year and two-time NCAA assists leader while he was at Southern.

3. Charles Oakley, Virginia Union

Many people may not know or remember that Charles Oakley used to play for Virginia Union back in the day where he was NABC Division II Player of the Year and NCAA Division II rebounding leader. He also averaged a remarkable 24.3 points and 17.3 rebounds during his playing days. During his senior season, Oakley led Virginia Union to a nearly perfect 31-1 record. Oakley still holds the Virginia Union all-time rebounding record.  He scored 2,379 points and grabbed 1,642 rebounds in his college career.

2. Earl Monroe, Winston Salem State

Earl “the Pearl” Monroe is probably the most successful HBCU player on this list. He is an NCAA College Division Champion, NCAA College Division Tournament MVP, and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association or CIAA Leading Scorer. Monroe was one of the best scorers in NCAA history averaging almost 42 points a game his senior season, including one game where he scored 68 points in one game. He ended his college career averaging nearly 27 points and six rebounds per game. Monroe is part of the College and Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.

1. Sam Jones, North Carolina Central

Before Sam Jones played for the Minnesota Lakers (he actually joined the Army to avoid playing for the Lakers) and then their rivals the Boston Celtics, he was a star at North Carolina Central. Jones, was a four-year letter winner for Hall of Fame coach John McLendon and coach Floyd Brown. Jones scored 1,745 points and was a three-time All-CIAA league selection. He also averaged nearly 18 points per game. Jones was the first African-American to be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and he is also part of the College and Basketball Hall of Fame. Jones was also a part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team and is considered one of the NBA’s top 50th Players of all time.

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.