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Top 10 Indiana Hoosiers to ever play in the NBA

Publish Date: 06/07/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

The Indiana Hoosiers have won five National championships and were known for having some legendary college players. That never translated to the NBA for most of these players, but some had fantastic NBA careers. Today, we look at the ten greatest Hoosiers in the NBA. Former Hoosiers still playing in the NBA will not be a part of this list as their careers are incomplete and can’t be judged.


This list is based only on what these Hoosiers did in the NBA and nothing else.

10) Quinn Buckner

Buckner entered the NBA draft following the 1976 season and was taken seventh overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. Most of his NBA career was spent with them and the Boston Celtics.

In 1984, he won an NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics. He didn’t play a lot but he was effective when he played.

Buckner was widely revered for his defensive prowess and earned honors on four occasions to be recognized by the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.

Buckner averaged 8.2 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.9 steals per game during his career. He was also one of the best Hoosiers in College.

Video: Quinn Buckner Ejected for Clapping (1978)

Quinn Buckner Ejected for Clapping (1978)

9) Alan Henderson

In 1995, he was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 16th overall pick and spent almost ten seasons there.

In 1998, he won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award.

Henderson joined the Dallas Mavericks in 2004 after spending three seasons with Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers.

Henderson finished his 12-year NBA career with 5,094 points (7.8 per game) and 3,249 rebounds (5 per game).

Video: Alan Henderson (39pts, 16/21 FG) vs. 76ers (1998)

Alan Henderson (39pts, 16/21 FG) vs. 76ers (1998)

8) Kent Benson

Benson was selected first overall in 1977’s draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Over his 12-year NBA career with the Bucks, Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers he averaged 9.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game on average.

After being selected first overall in the draft, Benson did not live up to expectations.

His one major NBA award was the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1982.

He amassed more than 6,000 points and 3,500 rebounds throughout his career.

Video: When Kareem Broke His Hand After Punching a Rookie In His NBA Debut 👀

When Kareem Broke His Hand After Punching a Rookie In His NBA Debut 👀

7) Calbert Cheany

Cheaney was picked sixth in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets.

He spent five seasons in Washington before bouncing around to four teams (Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors) over the next seven seasons.

Cheaney finished his career with 7,826 points (9.5 PPG), 2,610 rebounds (3.2 RPG) and 1,398 assists (1.7 APG).

Video: Calbert Cheaney '05-'06 Highlight Reel

Calbert Cheaney ’05-’06 Highlight Reel

6) Tom Van Arsdale

Tom enjoyed an outstanding 12-year career playing for six different teams, making three All-Star Games and being recognized as one of the premier free throw shooters of his time.

Tom never made it to a playoff appearance and set numerous records. He played 929 games, amassing 14,232 career points without appearing in the postseason playoffs.

He averaged 15.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game over his career.

Video: Tom Van Arsdale game winner vs Warriors 1970

Tom Van Arsdale game winner vs Warriors 1970

5) Mike Woodson

During his NBA career, Woodson played an instrumental role for teams such as the New York Knicks, Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Over his 10-year NBA career, Woodson averaged 14 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game on average.

He averaged 18.2 points per game during one season with the Kings.

Woodson was a tremendous player at all levels, but he always was destined to play on poor teams. Woodson is now the Hoosiers basketball coach but has had trouble turning the program around.

Video: Mike Woodson (19pts) vs. Lakers (1983)

Mike Woodson (19pts) vs. Lakers (1983)

4) Dick Van Arsdale

Dick recorded 16.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game over his 12-year NBA career (Dick and Tom both played 12 years).

Dick was also in the All-Star game three times (just like his brother) and was All-Defensive Second Team in 1974.

The Van Arsdale brothers were teammates on the Suns during the 1976-77 season, their final year in the NBA.

Video: Richard Van Arsdale - The Original

Richard Van Arsdale – The Original

3) George McGinnis

The Indiana Pacers selected McGinnis to their roster in Round 2 of the ABA draft.

Over four seasons with the Pacers, he averaged 25 points and 13 rebounds per game, leading them to two ABA championships.

McGinnis earned several distinctions during his ABA tenure, such as the Most Valuable Player award in 1975 and three-time All-Star selection.

After the ABA folded, he played professionally in the NBA for various teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers.

McGinnis enjoyed four straight seasons scoring 20 or more points per game for the 76ers and Nuggets while grabbing over ten rebounds per contest.

He amassed 17,009 points (20.2 PPG), 9,233 rebounds (11.3 RPG) and 3,089 assists (3.7 APG) during his professional career.

Video: George McGinnis Career Highlights

George McGinnis Career Highlights

2) Walt Bellamy

After his junior season, Bellamy became the No. 1 overall selection by the Chicago Packers in the 1961 NBA Draft.

Bellamy spent his initial four seasons playing for the Packers/Zephyrs and Baltimore Bullets, averaging 27.6 points and 16.6 rebounds during that span.

He completed nine more seasons, playing for the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Jazz.

Bellamy amassed 20,941 points (20.1 PPG) and 14,241 rebounds (13.7 RPG) during his 13 seasons as an NBA player.

Video: Walt Bellamy: Career Tribute Mixtape

Walt Bellamy: Career Tribute Mixtape

1) Isiah Thomas

The Detroit Pistons selected Thomas with the No. 2 pick in the 1981 NBA Draft.

Thomas was the leader of the Pistons for thirteen seasons and the undisputed number one on this list.

He led the Pistons to back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. Thomas was one of the best point guards in college basketball history.

He earned 12 All-Star selections. His 9,061 assists rank him seventh overall, and his 1,861 thefts put him 14th overall.

Video: ISIAH THOMAS Was Ahead Of His Time! 1989-90 Highlights | GOAT SZN

ISIAH THOMAS Was Ahead Of His Time! 1989-90 Highlights | GOAT SZN

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