Five Days of List-Mas: NBA players from Connecticut
December, 15, 2011
By Mike Grimala | ESPN.com
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Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!
Today : The five best NBA players ever to come out of Connecticut.
Kris Dunn, Kuran Iverson and Kahlil Dukes are all standout basketball recruits who are likely headed to D-I colleges — and possibly beyond. Connecticut has sent its share of high school players to the NBA, but who's been the best? Here's our list of the five best NBA players from Connecticut.
5. Ryan Gomes
Credentials: A Waterbury native, Gomes was a standout at Wilby before moving on to play at Providence. The fact that he was under-recruited by UConn proved to be a thorn in the side of Huskies coach Jim Calhoun (a recurring theme in this list), as Gomes went on to average 18.4 points and 8.9 rebounds during his four-year college career. He was then drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft by the Boston Celtics, and he's been a productive pro ever since (10.8 points per game in six seasons).
4. Michael Adams
A 5-foot-10 point guard, Adams came out of Hartford Public in 1981 and enjoyed a nice four years at Boston College, posting 15.3 points and 5.2 assists as a senior. Adams bounced around the NBA from 1985-96, but his best years came in Denver. In 1990-91, he averaged 26.5 points per game for the Nuggets. Adams averaged 14.7 points for his NBA career.
3. Mike Gminski
This spot came down to Gminski or Rick Mahorn, but I decided on Gminski because of his longevity and more productive peak years. A 6-foot-11 center from Monroe, Gminski graduated from Masuk in 1976 and moved on to Duke, where he posted 19.0 points and 10.2 rebounds over four years. Drafted seventh overall in the 1980 draft, Gminski played 14 years in the league, averaging 11.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.
2. Marcus Camby
Another Hartford Public grad (1993), Camby is also another recruit who got away from UConn, sparking the feud between Jim Calhoun and UMass coach John Calipari. Camby averaged 20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds as a junior at UMass, leading the Minutemen to the Final Four before declaring for the NBA draft and being selected No. 2 overall. In his 15-year NBA career, Camby has averaged exactly 10.0 points and 10.0 rebounds, and he's led the league in blocks four times. The 6-foot-11 center was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07, when he averaged 11.7 rebounds and a league-best 3.3 blocks for the Denver Nuggets.
1. Calvin Murphy
The only Hall of Famer on this list, Murphy graduated from Norwalk High School in 1966 and proved to be an all-time great scorer in college, averaging 48.9 points per game as a college freshman at Niagara. Drafted into the NBA in 1970, Murphy played 13 seasons (all for the Rockets) and posted 17.9 points per game for his career. One of the most feared outside shooters in league history, Murphy averaged 25.6 points in 1977-78, the first of three straight years of 20-plus ppg. Despite being a slight 5-foot-9, Murphy was also a noted ironman, playing all 82 games in five seasons.
Tomorrow: Wild Card! Check back tomorrow to find out what our list is.