Best Ivy League NBA players ever

Posted: 02/16/2012 by levcohen in Basketball

With the emergence of Jeremy Lin, it is time to look back into history and see who the best ivy leaguers of all time were. First I will go by top 3 for each school, and then the top 10 overall:

NOTE: Rebounds were kept track of starting in 1950. The shot clock was invented in 1954. Blocks and steals were kept track of starting in 1974. The 3 point basket was added in 1979.

stats came from


1. Francis Mahoney (NBA, 1952-54): Almost as bad as the guy below him. Would have been but by his time assists and rebounds were invented. Career stats: 8 games, 2 PPG, 1 RPG, 1 APG

2. George Grimshaw (played in NBA in 1946): Grimshaw might have been the worst NBA player ever. Well, maybe not, but here are his career stats: 21 games, 2.9 PPG. 1 assist (not per game, TOTAL). (nothing else recored)



1. Jim McMillan (NBA, 1970-78): McMillan was a solid NBA player for 9 seasons. Career stats: 631 games, 14 PPG (including 19 in 3 straight years), 5 RPG, 2.5 APG, .69 SPG, .13 BPG..  good all around stats.

2. Walter Budko (NBA, 1948-51):  Budko was a solid player who would have put up more impressive stats if the rebounds had been counted as a stat in his first 2 years. Career stats: 250 games, 8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2 APG

3. Jack Molians (NBA, 1953): In the one year he played, Molians did very well. I don’t know why he didn’t play for longer. Stats: 29 games, 12.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.6 APG

Other players from Columbia: Henry Dehnert, George Munroe, Dave Newmark


1. Ed Peterson (NBA, 1949-50): Peterson played 115 games, averaging 7 points per game, with 5.4 rebounds and 1 assist per game. (NOTE: Rebounds weren’t recorded in the first of his 2 years)

2. Nat Militzok (NBA, 1946): Militzok played 57 games, with 4.3 PPG, and .7 APG.

3. Gene Berce (NBA, 1948): Berce played a grand total of 3 games. He scored 10 career points (3.3 per game), while adding 2 assists (.7 per game)


1. Rudy Larusso (NBA, 1959-68): Larusso is hands down the best player on this list so far. He had a long career in the NBA, playing 736 games. He averaged 15.6 PPG, with 9.4 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists. Pretty impressive to almost average a double double. He had a double double 3 times in his career.

2. Ed Leede (NBA, 1949-50): Big drop off after Larusso. Leede played in 121 games, with 7.8 PPG and 1.9 APG. He had 2.1 rebounds per game in his second and last year, the only one he played with rebounds as a stat.

3. Walter Palmer (NBA, 1990-92): Palmer is on here because he got the most minutes of anyone remaining from Dartmouth, not because he had particularly good stats: 48 games, 2.1 PPG, 1.4 RPG, .2 APG, .22 BPG

Other players from Dartmouth: George Munroe (yes he transferred from Dartmouth to Cornell, so he is on both), James Blackwell, Audley Brindley


1. Jeremy Lin (NBA, 2010-?): Is it Lin-sane to put Lin at #1 after 45 games? No, no it isn’t. Career stats: 6.2 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1 SPG, .2 BPG

2. Saul Mariaschin (NBA, 1947): He had an ok 1 year, but not great: 43 games, 7.7 PPG, 1.4 APG

3. Gray Wyndol (NBA, 1746-8): Nothing special about Wyndol, but at least he played in 3 years: 67 games, 5.4 PPG, .7 APG

Other player from Harvard: Ed Smith


1. Howie Dallmar (NBA, 1946-48): Dallmar had modest success in the NBA, in the 3 seasons he played. Career stats: 146 games, 9.6 PPG, 2.3 APG

2. Matt Maloney (NBA, 1996-2002): Not trueblood Penn, as he transferred to Vanderbilt. Still, we can count him as Ivy league blood. Career stats: 7.4 PPG, 2.9 APG, 1.7 RPG

3. Dave Wohl (NBA, 1971-77): Wohl played a lot of games, with mediocre numbers: 410 games, 6.2 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 3.4 APG

Other players from Penn: Jerome Allen, Ernie Beck, Bob Bigelow, Ira Bowman, Corky Calhoun, Francis Crossin, Phil Hankinson, Jack McCloskey, Tony Price


1. Geoff Petrie (NBA, 1970-75): Petrie is the most prolific Ivy league scorer ever. He piled on points, averaging 21.8 per game, and added 4.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game in 446 games.

2. Bill Bradley (NBA, 1967-1976): Probably the most famous Ivy leaguer ever, and he is in the HOF. However, his stats weren’t all that great: In 742 games: 12.4 PPG, 3.4 APG, 3.2 RPG. He was better at making people around him play better.

3. Brian Taylor (ABA, 1972-75, NBA, 1976-81): Taylor was a good player in both the NBA and the ABA. In the ABA, he played 271 games, averaging 14 points, 3.7 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. In the NBA, he played 330 games, scoring 12.3 PPG, with 4.5 APG and 2.4 RPG.. He was a prolific swiper of the ball, stealing 1.84 per game throughout his career.

Other Princeton players: Steve Goodrich, Armond Hill, John Hummer, Michael Kearns, Ted Manakas, John Palmer, Butch Vanbredafolff


1. Chris Dudley (NBA, 1987-2002): This guy didn’t have much offense, but he is in here because he played for so long. It is extremely hard to play basketball for 16 years, while playing 886 games: He scored 3.9 PPG, but added 6.2 rebounds and 1.16 blocks per game. He was a good defender

2. Tony Lavelli (NBA, 1949-50): Lavelli was nothing special in the 86 games he played: 6.9 PPG, 2 RPG, .7 APG

3. Butch Graves (NBA, 1984): He is only here because Yale has nobody else: 4 games, 11 minutes, 1.3 ppg (5 points), 2 rebounds (.5 RPG) and 1 assist (.3 APG)… On the bright side, he averaged over 20 PPG at Yale..

Overall top 10:

1. Geoff Petrie (Princeton)

2. Rudy Larusso (Dartmouth)

3. Bill Bradley (Princeton)

4. Jim McMillan (Columbia)

5. Brian Taylor (Princeton)

6. Walter Budko (Columbia)

7.  Jack Molians (Columbia)

8. Howie Dallmar (Penn)

9. Chris Dudley (Yale)

10. Ed Peterson (Cornell)

Rating the schools by their best players NBA play:

1. Princeton

2. Columbia

3. Dartmouth

4. Penn

5. Yale

6. Cornell

7. Harvard

8. Brown

  1. philabundant says:

    Fun! Maybe you should look at the best pro coaches with Ivy League roots…might be a more impressive list.

  2. Marinite says:

    Bradley was a special guy. You must know that he became a US senator from NJ and that someone you know was a summer intern in his NJ office. Have you read “A Sense of Where You Are” (I’m pretty sure that’s the title) by, I think, John McPhee?

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