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Who IS The No. 2 Player In UVA Men's Basketball History?

Without much in mind earlier this week, I found myself in an on-line debate as to the second-best player to come through the Virginia men's basketball program.

At the time I put in my two cents, there was ample support for Malcolm Brogdon as the No. 2 Virginia player after Ralph Sampson, although I'm not sure Sampson actually was  designated as No. 1.

That was a given.

Sampson wasn't just a three-time ACC player of the year. He was a three-time national player of the year, as well as the No. 1 pick in the 1983 Draft.

The only other former UVa player ever taken with one of the first five picks was De'Andre Hunter at No. 4 in 2019.

However, if you're looking at the top players to come through the UVa program, college performance has to outweigh draft placement.

Other UVa players to be picked in the top 10 included Wally Walker at No. 5 in 1976 and Olden Polynice at No. 8  in 1987.

Brogdon was picked by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2016 draft with the No. 36 pick overall, but has far exceeded any draft-day expectations.

After three seasons with Milwaukee, he signed a four-year $85-million contract with the Indiana Pacers, where he is averaging a team-leading 21.6 points after 29 games.

Does that make Brogdon the No. 2 player to come through the UVa program? Eventually, maybe it will. But, from a college standpoint, he ranks ninth in school history in scoring with 1,809 points.

That is more than 700 points behind Bryant Stith, who scored 2,516 points.

For some, NBA performance is a major factor in judging how good a player was in college.

No other ex-UVa player can match Stith's numbers at UVa, but his NBA statistics are nothing to dismiss.

Stith was selected by Denver with the 13th pick in the first round of the 1992 draft and spent 10 years in the NBA, the first eight in Denver.

Stith played in 586 NBA games, a figure surpassed by only one other former Virginia player, Olden Polynice, who played in 1,058 games (wow!).

Stith played in more NBA games than Sampson (456).

Stith wore No. 20 at Virginia and is one of seven UVa players with retired numbers, along with Sampson (No. 50) Buzzy Wilkinson (No. 14), Barry Parkhill (No. 40), Wally Walker (No. 41), Jeff Lamp (No. 3), and Sean Singletary (No. 44).

Brogdon's No. 15 was retired in 2017, less than a year after his final season ended with a 60-54 loss to Syracuse in the 2016 Midwest Regional final.

It could be that he might one day viewed as the second-best player to come out of Virginia -- if not the best -- but, for now, I'd give the nod to Stith.

3
 

Comments 2

Dave Fulton on Friday, 19 February 2021 16:02
Changing Times

Times have changed considerably since my arrival at UVA when 6'10" John Naponick not only played center for the 9-17 Hoot Gibson roundball team, but also center for George Blackburn's 4-6 pigskin squad. It was a different era.

Times have changed considerably since my arrival at UVA when 6'10" John Naponick not only played center for the 9-17 Hoot Gibson roundball team, but also center for George Blackburn's 4-6 pigskin squad. It was a different era.
Dave Scarangella on Friday, 19 February 2021 16:14
I'm A Hokie So My Vote Doesn't Count

But I would have said Barry Parkhill. I understand the statistical argument, but before Ralph, when you went to the playground and emulated other star players, Parkhill was the only UVA player any of the kids knew, thanks to the Jefferson-Pilot game of the week. Parkhill added an intangible element back then that could not be quantified by points, rebounds or assists.

But I would have said Barry Parkhill. I understand the statistical argument, but before Ralph, when you went to the playground and emulated other star players, Parkhill was the only UVA player any of the kids knew, thanks to the Jefferson-Pilot game of the week. Parkhill added an intangible element back then that could not be quantified by points, rebounds or assists.
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