The University of Arizona basketball team has been one of the most consistently successful programs in the country since the 1980s. When Coach Lute Olson took over in 1983-84, he helped a team that won just four games the season before reach the NCAA Tournament in just his second year. He remained head coach through 2007 and Arizona never again missed the tourney under his tutelage. In the last two decades, 30 Wildcats have reached the NBA, including several successful point guards who became top prospects with the help of Olson. The best NBA players from the University of Arizona include four point guards who have gone on to have lengthy successful careers.
One of the best NBA players from the University of Arizona, Mike Bibby has spent the last 12 seasons as a starting point guard for the Grizzlies, Kings, and Hawks. Bibby was drafted by the Grizzlies in 1998 and quickly developed into an above-average scorer, shooter, and passer. He boasts career averages of 15.8 points and 5.9 assists per game. His 1,337 three point field goals rank in the top 20 in NBA history. Bibby has always been able to make his teammates better players and he has led his teams to eight playoff appearances.
After Mike Bibby was drafted, Jason Terry took the reigns in Arizona and became a top prospect. Now 11 years into his professional career, Terry is one of the best NBA players from the University of Arizona. He was selected by the Hawks in 1999 where he became the team’s starting point guard, though he has always been better as a shooting guard. As his has career progressed, Terry has become an increasingly efficient scorer, winning a Sixth Man of the Year Award with the Mavericks by averaging 20 points per game off the bench. His current career averages stand at 16.2 points and 4.8 assists per game.
A steady point guard who enjoyed a 13-year career, Damon Stoudamire ranks among the best NBA players from the University of Arizona. Stoudamire began his career as the heart of the offense as the point guard for the Raptors, though he took on a smaller role with the highly talented Blazers of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Winner of the 1996 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, Stoudamire averaged 20 points and nine assists per game for his first three years with the Raptors, but enjoyed much more team success with the Blazers.
For all of his flaws, Gilbert Arenas’s talent makes him one of the best NBA players from the University of Arizona. Arenas was a second round draft pick by the Warriors in 2001, but he quickly proved to have first round ability. When he’s healthy, few players can outscore Arenas. In a three-season stretch with the Wizards from 2004 to 2007, Arenas averaged 27.7 points per game and earned All-Star and All-NBA honors in each season.
Andre Iguodala is one of the most recent players drafted out of Arizona, joining the 76ers in 2004. Iguodala does a little bit of everything for the Sixers and he has become their team leader since the departure of Allen Iverson. Iguodala has ranked among the top ten in steals in each of the last five seasons. Additionally, he has proven to be one of the most durable players in the league, having played all 82 games five times in six seasons. Through the first six years of his career, Andre Iguodala is averaging 15.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per contest.