Top 20 Most Hated College Basketball Players Ever
20. Michael Graham (Georgetown)
With college basketball fans right on top of the action and no helmets to disguise the players, there’s a lot of vitriol directed from the stands to opponents. We take a look at the 20 Most Hated College Basketball Players Ever.
Graham was a passionate, 6-foot-9 enforcer in the paint on a dominant Georgetown team known for its no-holds-barred physicality. Still infamous for swinging at Syracuse’s Andre Hawkins, it was a combination ripe for hatred from the world outside the Beltway.
— PJ (@PJSinatra_) April 5, 2013
19. Rick Fox
Fox was the pretty boy playing basketball who looked like he had a side career in modeling (naturally, he went on to become a Hollywood actor and date models). Playing at the height of Carolina’s dominance in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he made opposing fans on Tobacco Road want to puke.
18. Shane Battier (Duke)
Battier’s biggest flaw was that he decided to attend Duke. Other than that, he didn’t bring much upon himself other than the fact that he was so earnest and perfect, mastering the art of taking charges. He played with an overabundance of heart and passion, which might have earned him love if he played his home games anywhere other than Cameron Indoor.
17. Greg Paulus (Duke)
Paulus was one of those players who never did anything bad or wrong necessarily. He left no emotion to the imagination, was not afraid to get up in the faces of his opponents as well as his teammates, and of course, played for Duke as the next “White Boy Blue Devil to Hate.” We can still hear the “Tea-b*g Paul-us!” chants at Virginia Tech.
16. Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State)
Cleaves was sort of an earlier version of Ohio State’s Aaron Craft. He was praised for pretty much everything, especially his leadership we heard about ad nauseam. It was tough to argue against giving him praise at all — he did lead the Spartans to a national title — but hearing about his tight relationship with coach Tom Izzo was nauseating.
15. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)
There’s no quicker way to draw the ire of fans than by engaging in a physical altercation with one, which is what Smart did when he visited Texas Tech in February of 2014. Combined with countless flops that would make European soccer stars blush, Smart wore out his welcome in the Big 12 fast.
14. Eric Devendorf (Syracuse)
The Big Lead named Devendorf the most hated player in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Not that he cared. “I know everybody thinks I’m an a**hole,” Devendorf said. Fans certainly had plenty of ammunition after Devendorf was almost thrown out of school for a physical altercation with a female, a myriad of tattoos and plenty of showboating to boot.
13. Danny Ainge (BYU)
Ainge was frustration incarnate. He wasn’t afraid to throw his body at loose balls and would constantly pester opponents by getting up in their faces. He was that kid you want to punch on the playground.
— Matthew Snyder (@schnides14) January 18, 2015
12. Eric Montross (North Carolina)
Montross was simply seen by opposing fans as a bully. He was a seven-footer who brought a blue-collar attitude and an Ivan Drago-esque look into the paint. That wasn’t going to make him many friends, especially in the rabid ACC.
11. Aaron Craft (Ohio State)
The first thing that drove people crazy about Aaron Craft is how much the media, especially ESPN’s Dan Dakich, adored Craft and overlooked his weaknesses like shooting. Then there was the fact he was such a pesky, annoying defender who felt like he was in school for a decade.
10. Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)
Even before Ewing put a sour taste in peoples’ mouths due to the first NBA draft lottery full of conspiracy theories, Ewing was a basketball heel. His propensity to throw elbows and make use of cheap shots with a giant scowl on his face made him a villain outside of D.C. city limits.
9. Adam Morrison (Gonzaga)
Morrison and his wispy mustache dominated the game in the mid-2000s, but many fans tired of his Che Guevara act. It came to a head in the 2006 Sweet Sixteen when Gonzaga blew a huge lead to UCLA, leaving Morrison crying at center court to end his college career while fans at home howled with laughter.
8. Steve Wojciechowski (Duke)
Normally people love an undersized player without a jump shot that plays defense like a mad man. But not when they’re from Duke. Instead, “Wojo” was viewed as the Rudy from hell. And fans just sneered when Duke’s PG used his patented floor slap to fire himself up on D. Pretending to have his arm snapped in half by a Kentucky player during the 1998 Elite Eight was the last straw.
7. Larry Johnson (UNLV)
Johnson and the 1991 Runnin’ Rebels were the outcasts of the college basketball world after a winning streak that reached 45 games - including a 30-point blowout of Duke in the 1990 title game. Sports Illustrated summed up the public perception of the Rebs - and the gold-toothed Johnson in particular - on the cover of their ’90-’91 preview, with Johnson and Stacey Augmon dressed up as mobsters.
— More Thn Stats (@MoreThan_Stats) February 28, 2014
6. Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina)
“Psycho T” wasn’t assertive in drawing the hate. He just happened to be one of the best individual talents in the country on a national championship team who turned into a big ball of intensity and insanity once he stepped onto the court. And whereas most detestable top talents leave after a year or two these days, Hansbrough let the hate snowball through four years in Chapel Hill with media fawning usually reserved for Duke players.
5. Jalen Rose (Michigan)
Michigan’s “Fab Five” is best remembered for black socks, baggy shorts, shaved heads and lots and lots of trash talk. They were portrayed as “thugs,” and as the most outspoken and one of the most talented of the group, Rose put a face to the hate. He’s since parlayed his candor into a successful broadcasting career, but his brashness as a young player made him the leader of the detested Fab Five.
4. Allen Iverson (Georgetown)
Iverson was a marked man as soon as he showed up on campus after spending four months of his senior year of high school in prison over a bowling alley brawl. His two seasons of college ball were filled with fans across the Big East chanting “Jailbird” and waving bowling pins in the air. It didn’t help that he was always talking trash. In 1995, Villanova fans went so far as to hold up one sign that called Georgetown “Convict U” and another that said “Iverson: The Next Jordan” – with Jordan crossed out and replaced with “O.J.”
3. Joakim Noah (Florida)
The chest-pounding. The screaming. That ridiculous hair. He infuriated everyone with the full repertoire of histrionics while storming onto the scene during the 2006 NCAA Tournament. “No-ah’s ug-ly!” chants rained down on him the full 2007 season en route to another national title. Playing off the Geico commercials, a sign at LSU with Noah’s face on it even read: “So easy a caveman can do it.”
2. J.J. Redick (Duke)
Redick would be the first to tell you he was a cocky freshman when he arrived in Durham. But no one could have anticipated the tidal wave of hate that ensued the next three years. Even after he tried to tone it down, the hate was endless. Maryland fans in particular lost their minds, chanting “F*** you, J.J.,” pranking his phone and one fan even bragging about sexual exploits with his younger sister. Stay classy, College Park.
1. Christian Laettner (Duke)
Kentucky fans are still fuming that Laettner was not ejected for stomping on the chest of Kentucky’s Aminu Timberlake during the 1992 Elite Eight classic, and that the crime was ignored after hitting that infamous 17-footer in overtime. Think that was a one-time deal? Ask Cherokee Parks, who was on the constant end of Laettner elbows during practice.
And check out some of his testimonials.
“Christian is not a nice guy some of the time – I’ve seen what he can do to other people.” That’s from Laettner’s own flesh and blood – his brother, Chris.
“Easy to hate.” Yeah, that was Coach K himself.
Laettner is still considered by many in the Bluegrass State to be the anti-Christ and pretty much anyone outside of Durham still has disdain for college basketball’s ultimate Eddie Haskell.