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Top 25 College Basketball Names Ever

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  • 25. Austen Powers (Seattle)

    If you’re a college hoops fan, it’s likely that every now and then you’ve paused for a moment either when watching a game or reading about one and thought, “That’s his real name?” Indeed, college basketball has seen its fair share of odd-named players over the years. Here are our picks for the Top 25 best.

    Shortly after his 10th birthday in 1997 (the year that Austin Powers hit theaters), poor Austen Powers likely heard “Yeah baby!” one too many times. How were his parents supposed to know when he was born that they were choosing a name almost identical to that of a hit action comedy series that wouldn’t come out for another 10 years?

    To his credit, Powers enjoyed success at both Cal State Northridge and after transferring to Seattle (he was the Redhawks’ leading scorer during the 2008-2009 season).

  • 24. Peter Pappageorge (Long Beach State)

    With a name like that you’d think Pappageorge would be a successful pizza store owner. He was, in fact, a reliable 3-point threat for the 49ers, helping lead them to a Big West regular season crown in each of his two seasons (2012 and 2013) there after transferring from junior college.

  • 23. Duany Duany (Wisconsin)

    In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Badgers had a bench player so nice that they named him twice. As explained in an AP story prior to Wisconsin’s 2000 Final Four berth, the lanky forward got his name because, in Sudanese culture, the first-born son’s first name is the family’s last name.

  • 22. Boubacar Aw (Georgetown)

    Aw came to Georgetown from Senegal by way of North Carolina. Equally adept as both a shutdown defender and an effective scorer, the 6-foot-7 forward had one aspect of his game that made Hoyas fans (and coach John Thompson) cry out, “Ow!” in frustration: His free throw shooting (53.2% for his career).

  • 21. Christian Standhardinger (Hawaii)

    Since transferring from Nebraska following the 2010-2011 season, Standhardinger has definitely put his foot down on behalf of the Warriors. After earning First Team All-Big West honors last year, Standhardinger is currently the leading scorer and rebounder for UH.

  • 20. Fats Cuyler (Middle Tennessee)

    Rather than tickle the ivory (like Fats Waller) or hustle in pool (Minnesota Fats), MTSU’s Fats spent two seasons in Murfreesboro bombing away from the outside. As a senior in 2005-2006, Cuyler averaged 11 PPG on 35.2% shooting from distance.

  • 19. Dominitrix Johnson (Illinois State)

    Johnson’s official bio with ISU lists his first name as “Dom.” Chances are that he shortened it in order for his classmates and teammates not to accidentally pronounce his full first name like “dominatrix.” Seeing as he’s gone back to the full name on his current LinkedIn profile, it stands to reason that Johnson has gotten over that insecurity.

  • 18. Just-in’love Smith (Siena)

    It was hard not to fall in love with Just-in’love, who arrived at Sienna prior to the 2009-2010 season at age 26 after spending four years in the U.S. military and two years in junior college. He only saw 13 minutes of game action during his lone season with the Saints yet was along for the ride as Siena advanced to its third straight NCAA tournament.

  • 17. SirValiant Brown (George Washington)

    Like his name, Brown’s career with the Colonels started out heroic. At 24.6 PPG during the 1999-2000 season, he just missed out on being the first freshman to ever lead the country in scoring. Alas, an acrimonious exit from Foggy Bottom following his sophomore year and a drug arrest in September 2003 were both less than gallant.

  • 16. Indiana Faithfull (Wofford)

    No, Faithfull’s parents weren’t die-hard Hoosiers fans. As they explained to the Portland (ME) Press Herald in March 2010, they were looking for a western name and thought that “Indiana” sounded great. Sadly, Faithfull left the Wofford program in late January and returned to his native Australia, depriving college hoops of one of its better current names.

  • 15. Brad Nuckles (East Tennessee State)

    Nuckles bosted the size (6-foot-9 and 245 pounds) and stat line (7.6 PPG and 6.0 RPG) you’d expect from someone with his doesn’t-take-nothing-from-nobody last name. What a shame that the ETSU staff never saw fit to recruit another forward named “Brass” and pair him with Nuckles on a first-rate goon line.

  • 14. Majestic Mapp (Virginia)

    There was something that was indeed majestic about what the Bronx-bred guard brought to the table at Virginia, only to have his promising Cavaliers career derailed by a serious knee injury prior to his 2000-2001 sophomore year. When he returned to action over two years later, his UVA teammates saw fit to name him a tri-captain.

  • 13. Scientific Mapp (Florida A&M)

    Mapp’s parents, Edward and Elizabeth, didn’t restrict the cool name rule just to their middle son. Long before Majestic became a McDonald’s All-American, older brother Scientific had a college hoops career of his own at Florida A&M in the 1990s.

  • 12. Spongy Benjamin (Marist)

    Technically, the former Marist forward’s given name was Wilfred, yet everyone called him Spongy (which he probably preferred to Wilfred). He did his part in soaking up as many rebounds as he could on behalf of the Red Foxes, averaging 6.0 RPG during his two seasons in Poughkeepsie (2006-08).

  • 11. God’sgift Achiuwa (St. John’s)

    The ex-Red Storm forward’s father is a minister, and he named his son so as to reflect the family’s devout beliefs. A native of Nigeria, Achiuwa - added bonus: his last name is pronounced “ah-CHOO-uh,” just like a sneeze - averaged 9.0 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 2011-2012 before seeing his role and numbers reduced this season (after missing all of 2012-2013).

  • 10. Parfait Bitee (Rhode Island)

    The native Cameroonian had himself a pretty sweet career with the Rams. He upped his scoring and assist numbers each of his four seasons, topping out at 11.8 PPG and 4.7 RPG as a senior in 2007-2008 and simultaneously earning Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team honors.

  • 9. Bingo Merriex (TCU)

    Operating in Billy Tubbs’ high-scoring offense at TCU, Merriex gave Horned Frogs fans more than enough reason to scream, “Bingo!” every now and then. He enjoyed his best all-around season as a junior in 2001-2002, averaging 12.7 PPG and 6.8 RPG while shooting 39.3% from beyond the arc.

  • 8. Exree Hipp (Maryland)

    The man with a name seemingly tailor made for being a DJ was a four-year starter for the Terrapins under Gary Williams, averaging 11.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 2.7 APG. At the conclusion of his college career, he played for the Harlem Globetrotters, who likely sat up and took notice of Hipp’s showman-like name.

  • 7. Qavotstaraj Waddell (Chattanooga)

    No, we did not make a typo in spelling out Waddell’s first name. Pronounced “kuh-VAT-sor-AJ” but choosing to go by “Q” - and who wouldn’t with that impossible-to-say name? - Waddell was a college hoops vagabond. He started his career at Maryland Eastern Shore before transferring to Cecil (MD) College, Chattanooga and finally Shorter University in Georgia.

  • 6. Baskerville Holmes (Memphis)

    A Tennessee state champion in the high jump as a high schooler, Holmes - whose mother was inspired to name him “Baskerville” by the famous Sherlock Holmes story - was part of a formative front line for Memphis’ 1985 Final Four team. Tragically, Holmes killed himself in 1997 after shooting and killing his girlfriend following an argument.

  • 5. Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje (Georgetown)

    It made sense that the Hoyas’ authoritative center from the late 1990s and early 2000s had an authoritative name to match. Originally from Cameroon, Boumtje-Boumtje is fourth in the Georgetown record books for career blocks - behind worthy company in Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.

  • 4. Fennis Dembo (Wyoming)

    Dembo’s quirky first name came about due to the fact that he and twin sister were the final two of 12 children born in their family. Both his name and hers (“Fenise”) came from the French word for “finish” - something he did routinely around the rim for Wyoming, where he set school records for points (2,311) and rebounds (954) and became an NCAA Tournament legend in 1987.

  • 3. Uwe Blab (Indiana)

    Born in Munich before spending his formative years in Illinois, Blab was no dead weight in the paint in Bloomington. As a junior, his 16 points helped key the Hoosiers upset of a top-seeded North Carolina squad (led by Michael Jordan) in the 1984 NCAA Tournament, and he later spent five seasons in the NBA. Pronounced “OOH-vay Blop,” it’s so much more fun to call him “Ewie Blab.”

  • 2. Chief Kickingstallionsims (Alabama State)

    A member of the Navajo tribe, Kickingstallionsims started his college hoops career at Stetson before transferring to Alabama State. As a senior in 2008-2009 the 7-foot-1, 265-pounder averaged 8.5 PPG and 4.0 RPG and helped guide the Hornets to their third NCAA tournament berth ever.

  • 1. God Shammgod (Providence)

    The given name of our top college basketball name ever is, in fact, God Shammgod. He went by Shammgod Wells as a New York high school star, only to learn upon arriving at Providence that he would have to pay $600 and legally change his name to “Shammgod Wells” if he wanted “Wells” on his jersey with the Friars. So instead, he started going by “God Shammgod.”

    How can any other college basketball player compete with a first name of “God”? The fact “God” is also part of his last name is just icing on the cake. He further sealed his place in the college hoops pantheon by leading underdog PC to the 1997 Elite Eight and is still remembered fondly by many to this day.

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