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Thursday, December 15, 2011
Five Days of List-Mas: Five best NBA players from Missouri

By By Brandon Parker

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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 Missouri.

Cameron Biedscheid and Nolan Berry are standout basketball recruits who are headed to D-I colleges — and possibly beyond. Missouri has a long history of sending top high school players to the NBA. But who's been the best? Here's our list of the five best players from the Show Me State to play in the NBA.

5. Tyronn Lue
Credentials: Lue played at Raytown before heading to Nebraska, where he starred for three years before being chosen by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft. He went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA, most notably with the L.A. Lakers, winning two titles and serving as the Allen Iverson stopper for three quarters in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals...before getting crossed up and stepped over in the end.


4. Larry Hughes
Credentials: Hughes played at CBC before moving down the street to star at Saint Louis University. In one season, he dropped 20.9 points per game, leading the Sixers to draft him eighth overall in 1998. He went on to play 12 seasons for seven different teams and average 14.2 points for his career.

3. David Lee
Credentials: Lee balled out at Chaminade for four years before committing to play at Florida (Brad Beal, anyone?). He proved a solid player for the Gators, averaging 13.6 points and 9.0 boards as a senior in the season before Florida went on its repeat-title run. Lee was drafted 30th by the New York Knicks in 2000. After averaging a career-high 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds, Lee signed a big contract to play with the Golden State Warriors last season.

2. Tyler Hansbrough
Credentials: Hansbrough was a beast at Poplar Bluff, leading the Mules to two Class 5 titles and averaging 28.2 points and 13.4 boards as a senior. Hansbrough was a beast at UNC, leading the Tar Heels to the 2009 NCAA title, becoming the leading scorer in UNC and ACC history, and winning the National Player of the Year as a junior. Hansbrough is evolving into a beast in the NBA. After being drafted 13th overall in 2009 and battling with injuries as a rookie, he averaged 11.0 points and 5.2 boards last year.

1. Bill Bradley
Credentials: If this name doesn't ring a bell, shame on you. This Crystal City alum has done it all, from winning an NBA championship to becoming a U.S. Senator to being inducted into the Hall of Fame. As the nation's top recruit in 1961, Bradley initially committed to Duke before switching to Princeton, where he was a three-time All-American and the 1965 Player of the Year. The Knicks drafted him in 1965, playing 10 seasons there and winning two NBA championships. He went on to serve as a senator in New Jersey from 1979 to 1997 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Tomorrow: Wild Card! Check back tomorrow to find out what our list is.

Brandon Parker covers Missouri for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter@brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.