Ranking the top-10 Utah basketball players of all-time
By Brennan Smith
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Jul 11 2014 06:21PM
The Runnin’ Utes basketball program is as storied as any in the nation, with names like Peterson, Pimm, Gardner and Majerus echoing through college basketball’s coaching history. Behind 27 NCAA Tournament appearances, four Final Four appearances and one NCAA Championship, the Utes have had a host of legendary players as well. Here’s a ranking of the top-10 Utah basketball players of all-time:
1. Keith Van Horn, 1993-1997, Small Forward
Van Horn claims the top spot with the most decorated career in Utah basketball history. He finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in Utah and WAC history, the second most rebounds in Utah’s history. He was a three time WAC Player of the Year and a consensus All-American in 1997 after leading Utah to its highest ranking in school history. He also helped the Utes to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1997, making him the clear choice to top this list.
2. Billy McGill, 1959-1962, Power Forward/Center
McGill was a scoring and rebounding machine of a big man during his career at Utah. He finished with the second-most points in Utes history and first in career rebounding. He also owns the record for single-season and single-game scoring and rebounding, dropping 60 points in a single game once. He was the first overall pick in the 1962 NBA Draft and had the best career of any post player in Utah’s history.
3. Andre Miller, 1995-1999, Point Guard
No one ran an offense and the floor better than Miller in his time as a Ute. Miller, a two-time All-American, ranks 10th all-time in scoring for Utah, first in steals and second in assists. He started as a freshman and led the Utes to an appearance in the National Championship game in 1998. He also came through when it mattered most, including against defending National Champions Arizona in 1998, when he dropped 18 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists on future NBA stars Mike Bibby and Jason Terry. He averaged 12 points and five assists in his career at Utah.
4. Danny Vranes, 1977-1981, Small Forward
A local from Skyline High School, Vranes was an All-American in 1981 and improved every season at Utah. He averaged 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as a senior and is ranked seventh all-time in scoring for Utah and fifth all-time in rebounding. The Utes made NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his four seasons and Vranes is one of seven former players to have his jersey retired by Utah.
5. Tom Chambers, 1977-1981, Power Forward/Center
Chambers, born in Ogden, starred as a high school player in Colorado before joining the Utes. His combination with Vranes helped the Utes to four NCAA Tournament appearances and saw him end his career as the eighth leading scorer in Utah history and seventh in all-time field goal percentage. He was a first-team All-WAC player in 1981 and was an athletic center for the Utes.
6. Jerry Chambers, 1963-1966, Small Forward
Chambers was a member of one of only four Utah teams to make a Final Four apperance, winning the NCAA Tournament MVP award in 1966. He ranks 18th all-time in scoring at Utah and sixth all-time in field goal percentage. He went on to be drafted as the seventh overall pick in the NBA Draft and spent several years in the NBA.
7. Jeff Judkins, 1974-1978, Shooting Guard/Small Forward
The current BYU women’s basketball coach starred at Utah first in the mid-70s. Under Pimm, Judkins was a two-time All-WAC selection and ranks sixth all-time in Utah scoring history. He was a constant in the Utes lineup, holding the school’s record for average minutes played in a single-season with 38.
8. Arnie Ferrin, 1943-1948, Small Forward/Shooting Guard
Ferrin is the only four-time All-American in Utah history. He carried the Utes to the NCAA Tournament title in 1944 over Dartmouth by scoring 22 points and followed it up with a victory in the NIT in 1947. Ferrin was also honored as a consensus All-American in 1945.
9. Andrew Bogut, 2003-2005, Center
Bogut spent only two seasons at Utah, but dominated in both. He averaged a combined 16.6 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists over two seasons, dropping 20.4 points per game in 2004-2005. He was named as Utah’s only consensus National Player of the Year and led the nation in his final season with 26 double-doubles. He was also the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.
10. Josh Grant, 1988-1993, Forward
Grant captained the Utah team for three seasons from 1991-1993 and helped the 1991 team reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. He ranks third all-time in scoring in Utah’s history and was a two-time All-Wac selection.