Top 10 Best Indiana Basketball Players
In college basketball, there are some programs that historically stand out amongst the rest. One of those teams is the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana has taken home five National Championships throughout their history, and they have had some incredibly talented players over the years to do so. The ten best players in program history are ranked and discussed below.
Who Are the Best Indiana College Basketball Players of All Time?
- Steve Alford
- Calbert Cheaney
- Yogi Ferrell
- Alan Henderson
- A.J. Guyton
- Don Schlundt
- Damon Bailey
- Kent Benson
- Mike Woodson
- Isiah Thomas
1. Steve Alford
- Second-most points in program history (2,438)
- Second-most steals in program history (178)
- Second-most minutes played (4,624)
One of the best college basketball players of all time, Steve Alford deserves the title of greatest Indiana men’s basketball player of all time. Alford ranks second all-time in program history in points (2,438), steals (178), minutes played (4,624), and field goals made (898). He also has the second most free throws made (535) and the highest career free throw percentage (89.8%) at Indiana. As for his accolades, Alford was a two-time First-Team All-American and the 1987 Big Ten Player of the Year. That same year in 1987, he led the Hoosiers to their most recent National Title. He had also helped the team reach the Elite 8 as a freshman three years prior.
2. Calbert Cheaney
- Indiana’s all-time leading scorer (2,613)
- Most field goals made in school history (1,018)
- Third-highest field goal percentage (55.9%
The best pure scorer in Indiana history, Calbert Cheaney takes the number two spot on this list. Cheaney’s 2,613 points still rank number one all-time at Indiana 30 years after he played his final game. Those 2,613 points also stand as the most points in Big Ten history. He also made the most field goals in program history with 1,018, and he did so efficiently, shooting 55.9% from the floor, good enough for third all-time at the school. Cheaney won the Big Ten Player of the Year and the National Player of the Year awards after his senior season in 1993, and he also was a three-time all-Big Ten member. During his time there, Indiana reached the Final Four in 1992 and the Elite 8 in 1993.
3. Yogi Ferrell
- Sixth-most points in school history (1,986)
- Most assists in school history (633)
- Second-most three-pointers made in school history (272)
A great all-around point guard for the Hoosiers, Yogi Ferrell comes in at number three on this list. Ferrell has the most assists in school history with 633, and he also scored plenty of points during his time in school, finishing with 1,986 points, the sixth most at Indiana. He did so in part by making plenty of three-pointers, making the second most in school history with 272. Ferrell was also always available, and he ended up playing the most games in school history with 137. Yogi was a two-time All-Big Ten player and made the All-Big Ten freshman team in 2013. In the NCAA tournament, he twice led Indiana to the Sweet 16, but never passed that point.
4. Alan Henderson
- Most rebounds in school history (1,091)
- Fifth-most steals in school history (148)
- Seventh-most points in school history (1,979)
One of the best all-around players ever at Indiana, Alan Henderson did it all during his time with the Hoosiers. Henderson is the program’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,091 rebounds, has the second-most blocks with 213, the fifth-most steals with 148, and the seventh-most points with 1,979. Henderson went a little under the radar during his time in school, only once making the All-Big Ten team after his senior season. Playing alongside the aforementioned Calbert Cheaney, he helped Indiana to the Final Four in 1992 and the Elite 8 in 1993. Henderson also took the team to the Sweet 16 without Cheaney in 1994.
5. A.J. Guyton
- Most three-pointers made in school history (283)
- Fourth-most points scored in school history (2,100)
- Eighth-most assists in school history (403)
Arguably the greatest three-point shooter in school history, A.J. Guyton rounds out the top five players at Indiana. Guyton holds the school record for both three-pointers made (283) and attempted (684). That comes out to a three-point percentage of 41.4%, good enough for second in school history. All those threes helped Guyton reach fourth in scoring all-time with exactly 2,100 points. He also could pass the ball, recording the eighth-most assists with 403. After his senior season, he was named Big Ten Player of the Year and was a First-Team All-American. Unfortunately for A.J., the Hoosiers did not have a lot of success in the NCAA tournament during his time in school, as they never made it past the second round.
6. Don Schlundt
- Third-most points at Indiana (2,192)
- Most free throws made at Indiana (826)
- Seventh-most rebounds (860)
One of the first great players ever at Indiana, Don Schlundt starts off the second half of this list. Despite finishing his career all the way back in 1955, Schlundt still stands as the third-best scorer in Hoosier history with 2,192 points. He also still holds the school record for free throws made by a wide margin with 826, nearly 300 more than the player with the second-most. He did not just score, however, as he finished with 860 career rebounds, which still stands as the seventh-most all these years later. As for his awards, Schlundt was a three-time All-American and a three-time member of the All-Big Ten team. In his sophomore season in 1953, he led the Hoosiers to their second National Championship in school history.
7. Damon Bailey
- Fifth-most assists (474)
- Eighth-most points scored (1,741)
- Ninth-most steals (132)
The third member of this list from the 1992 Final Four team, Damon Bailey takes the number seven spot. Bailey was a terrific passer and finished with the fifth-most assists at the school with 474. He also finished in the top ten in points with 1,741, steals with 132 of them, and free throws made with 427. After his freshman season, Bailey was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and after his senior season, he made the All-Big Ten team. As was mentioned above, he was a key player on the Hoosiers’ 1992 Final Four team as well as their 1993 Elite 8 team.
8. Kent Benson
- Third-most rebounds (1,031)
- Ninth-most points scored (1,740)
- Sixth-most field goals made (722)
One of the oldest players listed here, Kent Benson is the next player to be discussed. Benson was a terrific big man and finished with 1,031 rebounds for his career, good enough for third all-time at Indiana. He also scored the ninth-most points (1,740) and made the sixth-most field goals (722) in program history. Benson was a two-time All-American and won the 1977 Big Ten Player of the Year Award. During his junior season in 1976, he was a member of one of the greatest teams in college basketball history when the Hoosiers went 32-0 and won the National Title for the third time. The year prior, he had also helped lead them to the Elite 8.
9. Mike Woodson
- Third-most field goals made (821)
- Fifth-most points scored (2,061)
- Fourth-highest minutes played per game (35.1)
The current coach of his alma mater, Mike Woodson takes the penultimate spot on this list. Woodson was a terrific scorer for his time, and he became just the second player in Indiana history to reach 2,000 career points, finishing with 2,061 in 1980. He now sits fifth on the all-time list. He also made the third most field goals in school history (821) and attempted the fourth most (1,626). It seemed he was always on the court and never on the bench during his time at Indiana, and his 35.1 minutes per game average is the fourth-highest at the school. After his junior season in 1979, he was named to the All-Big Ten team. He led the Hoosiers to the NIT title that season, the second biggest tournament after the NCAA tournament. As for the NCAA, he twice led Indiana to the Sweet 16 in 1978 and 1980.
10. Isiah Thomas
- Highest assists per game in school history (5.3)
- Highest steals per game in school history (2.2)
- Seventh-most steals in program history (136)
Unfortunately for Indiana fans, the final player on this list, Isiah Thomas, only played two seasons at Indiana before going to the NBA. If he had stayed in school, he would certainly be higher up on this list. On a per-game basis, he ranks first in school history in both assists with 5.3 and steals with 2.2. As for the steals, again despite only playing two seasons compared to the normal four, Thomas finished with the seventh most steals in school history with 136. Thomas made the All-Big-Ten team in both of years in school and was an All-American after his sophomore year in 1981. That same year, he led the Hoosiers to the National Championship after they had lost in the Sweet 16 his freshman season.
While the ten players listed below did not quite crack the top ten, they still deserve some recognition as honorable mentions. They are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
- Walt Bellamy
- Quinn Buckner
- Archie Dees
- Jared Jeffries
- Bobby Leonard
- Scott May
- George McGinnis
- Jimmy Rayl
- Randy Whitman
- Cody Zeller
Who is the best Indiana men’s basketball player of all time?
The greatest Indiana men’s basketball player is Steve Alford. Alford ranks second in several statistical categories in program history, including points with 2,438, steals with 178, field goals made with 898, and free throws made with 535. He also led Indiana to the National Championship in 1987, was a two-time First-Team All-American, and was the 1987 Big Ten Player of the Year.