The Seminoles men’s basketball program at Florida State University is a member of the powerhouse Atlantic Coast Conference. A total of 39 players from FSU have been taken in the NBA Draft including one member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. The best NBA players from Florida State University include legendary center Dave Cowens, championship point guard Sam Cassell, and multi-sport phenom Charlie Ward.
Hall of Fame center Dave Cowens is the all-time greatest NBA player from Florida State University. Cowens led the Seminoles to their first ever appearance in an NCAA Tournament in 1968 while averaging 19.0 points and 17.2 rebounds in three collegiate seasons. A 1970 first round pick by the Boston Celtics, Cowens was an instant NBA star, winning the Rookie of the Year Award with 17 points and 15 boards per game. He averaged no less than 13.9 rebounds in any of his first eight seasons while winning two NBA Championships with Boston in 1974 and 1976. The seven-time All-Star was named the 1973 NBA MVP when he posted career-highs of 20.5 points and 16.2 rebounds. He holds the eighth highest career rebounding average in NBA history as he grabbed more than 10,000 in his 11 seasons.
A star point guard for more than a decade, Sam Cassell is one of the greatest NBA players from Florida State University. After leading the Seminoles to just their second Elite Eight in 1993, Cassell was taken in the first round of the 1993 NBA Draft. He enjoyed immediate success in Houston as the backup point guard on the Rockets’ 1994 and 1995 NBA Championship teams. He later won a third championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008 in his final season. Over the course of his 15-year career, Cassell played for eight franchises, made one All-Star team, and earned All-NBA honors in 2004. He totaled 15,635 points and 5,939 assists as he averaged more than 19 points per game four times and more than seven assists four times as well.
A big-time three-point shooting threat, small forward George McCloud was one of the best NBA players from Florida State. McCloud earned All-America status in his senior season at FSU by pouring in 23 points per game and taking the team to the NCAA Tournament. The Pacers took him with the seventh pick of the 1989 draft, but he struggled to make the leap during his four-year stay in Indiana. He did not begin the 1994-95 season on an NBA roster, but by season’s end he found a home in Dallas. In 1995-96, he broke out for what was by far his greatest season with averages of 18.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 threes per game on a .379 clip from downtown. For his career as a whole, McCloud tallied 6,925 points on 920 treys with a .358 three-point percentage.
A big point guard who enjoyed a solid ten-year career, Bob Sura was one of the top NBA players from Florida State University. Sura is the Seminoles’ all-time scoring leader with 2,130 points in NCAA competition. He was drafted by the Cavs in 1995 and spent five seasons with the team. The best scoring season of his career came in Cleveland when he averaged 13.8 points in 1999-00. His top overall season came in his last year as he averaged 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists with the Rockets in 2004-05.
The starting point guard for the Knicks during their last successful stretch, Charlie Ward was one of the best NBA players from FSU. Ward was a wildly successful multi-sport athlete in college, winning a Heisman Trophy and leading FSU’s football team to a National Championship as the starting quarterback. As the Seminoles’ point guard, he guided the team to its second ever Elite Eight in 1993. He chose to stick with basketball and started his NBA career as a bench player in New York before taking over the role of a full-time starter in 1997-98. With Ward at the helm, the Knicks reached the 1999 NBA Finals. He played 11 seasons from 1994 to 2005 while averaging 6.3 points and 4.0 assists per game.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended Florida State University. Basketball-Reference.com