Who are the best basketball players that never played in the NCAA tournament? Over the years there have been hundreds of great college basketball players who made the leap to the NBA after storied NCAA careers which featured shining moments in March Madness. However, some of the all time NBA greats never made it to March Madness, whether it was due to injury, underachievement, or a bad supporting cast, these NBA players never made the Big Dance. So, who are the best NBA players who never made March Madness? Which college basketball stars deserved a shot at the NCAA tourney?
A few of the greatest college basketball players to never play in March Madness are NBA legends. 'Pistol' Pete Maravich, Julius Erving, and Dominique Wilkins had standout college careers but couldn't carry their teams to March Madness. In recent years, NBA stars Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard, Paul George, Joel Embiid, and Klay Thompson, for one reason or another, underachieved in college basketball and missed the NCAA tournament.
The 2020 college basketball season provided a statistical anomaly as March Madness was cancelled due to the pandemic. In the NBA draft later that year, 12 college freshman were drafted who never saw the chance to play in an NCAA tournament. Among them were 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Anthony Edwards, Cole Anthony, Obi Toppin, Patrick Williams, and Tyrese Maxey. Although these rising NBA stars surely would have made it to the Big Dance, if not for extenuating circumstances, they are proudly among the list of NBA stars who never played in March Madness.
Vote up your favorite NBA stars who missed the NCAA tournament below. This list does not include foreign players or players who opted out of college for the G-League.