The Tigers men’s basketball team of Clemson University has had a knack for producing great big men in the NBA. Clemson has produced five of the NBA’s top 60 shot-blockers of all-time, including All-Stars Larry Nance, Horace Grant, and Dale Davis.
A great athletic big man for the Suns and Cavs, Larry Nance was one of the all-time best NBA players from Clemson University. In 1980, Nance helped take the Tigers to their first ever NCAA Tournament and made it all the way to the Elite Eight, a feat still unmatched by any other Clemson team. After being drafted by the Suns, Nance became the starting power forward in his second season. The three-time All-Defensive forward spent five-and-a-half years in the role, averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks during that span while making the 1985 All-Star team. Spending the second half of his career in Cleveland, Nance reached career totals of 15,687 points and 7,352 rebounds. His 2,027 blocks rank 17th and his .546 field goal percentage 15th in NBA history. When the NBA introduced its Slam Dunk Contest in 1984, Larry Nance was its first ever winner.
A great defensive forward and center, All-Star, and four-time NBA Champion, Horace Grant was one of the best NBA players from Clemson University. As a senior, Grant took the Tigers to their second NCAA Tournament with averages of 21.0 points and 9.6 boards per game. He was a first round pick in the 1987 NBA Draft and shortly thereafter became the Bulls’ starting power forward. In seven years with the Bulls, Grant averaged 12.6 points and 8.6 rebounds while taking home All-Defensive honors twice and playing on three straight NBA Championship teams. After signing with Orlando in 1994, he won two more spots on All-Defensive teams. In his 17-year NBA career, Grant totaled 12,996 points and 9,443 rebounds while twice averaging a double-double for an entire season.
Dale Davis was an All-Star big man for the Indiana Pacers and one of the top NBA players from Clemson University. Davis was a big-time double-double threat in college and a starter throughout his NBA career. In 16 seasons, he became one of the NBA’s all-time top five leaders in rebounds with 8,605 and blocks with 1,270. Though not a go-to scorer, Davis was highly efficient on the offensive end, posting a .530 field goal percentage for his career, good for 29th all-time.
Two-time All-Defensive center Tree Rollins was one of the best NBA players from Clemson. After averaging a double-double in all four years with the Tigers, Rollins became a first round pick in the 1977 NBA Draft. Rollins was a game-changing defensive force inside, averaging at least 2.3 blocks per game in each of his first nine seasons. Ranking eighth among the NBA’s all-time blocks leaders with 2,542, Rollins played 11 of his 17 years in Atlanta to become the Hawks’ all-time blocks leader by a massive margin. Since retiring, Rollins has been coaching at various levels, serving as an assistant in the NBA and as both an assistant and a head coach in the WNBA.
Center Elden Campbell played 15 seasons as one of the best NBA players from Clemson University. Campbell was a great shot-blocker with a total of 1,602 rejections for a career average of 1.5 per game. He spent the majority of his career with the Lakers and Hornets, tallying 10,805 points and 6,116 rebounds. Nearing his retirement, Campbell served as a role player and occasional starter for the Detroit Pistons’ 2004 championship team.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended Clemson University. Basketball-Reference.com