10 Best NBA Players Who Spent Four Years in College

The term "one-and-done" is used to describe a college basketball player who enters the NBA draft after a single year at their chosen university. Typically, these young athletes decide to enter the NBA for financial reasons, to avoid potential injury, or because NBA scouts are more inclined to draft a 19-year-old freshman than a 23-year-old senior. Regardless of reasoning, the amount of players declaring for the draft after a single year at a university is significantly larger than the number of players who complete four years of school. 


The last No. 1 overall pick that wasn't a college freshman was Blake Griffin in 2009, who was selected by the Clippers as a sophomore out of Oklahoma. The last senior to be taken No. 1 overall came in 1998, when Michael Olowokandi was taken No. 1 overall out of Pacific, also by the Clippers. Most notably, perhaps, is Tim Duncan, who was drafted No. 1 overall as a senior in 1997 from Wake Forest. 


Despite the recent precedent of drafting younger players, there are several studs in the NBA who played four seasons of college ball prior to entering the draft. This list highlights the best of the bunch.

10. Wesley Matthews

Wes Matthews went undrafted after four productive seasons at Marquette from 2005-2009. Despite going undrafted, Matthews fought his way on to the Utah Jazz roster as a rookie and played in all 82 games. Matthews has posted a career average of 14 points per game and an average of 2.7 three pointers per game throughout his eight-year career.

9. Chandler Parsons

Chandler Parsons played four years at the University of Florida before being selected 38th overall by Houston in 2011. He has shown that he can be a very effective scorer in the league, but has faced a series of injuries throughout his six-year career that has slowed down his scoring prowess. Parsons has posted career averages of 14 points and 5 rebounds per game.

8. Kenneth Faried


Faried was an absolute beast during his four-year stay at Morehead State, posting college career averages of 14.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. The Nuggets drafted him 22nd overall in the 2011 draft, and he has since established himself as a ferocious rebounder. A fan favorite in Denver, Faried has posted career averages of 12 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in his six-year career, and earned a spot on the All-Rookie team in 2011-2012. 

7. Darren Collison

Darren Collison played four seasons at UCLA from 2005-2009. Collison was on UCLA teams that included NBA stars such as Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. He was drafted 21st overall in 2009, and has gone on to have a solid NBA career, posting career averages of 12.6 points and 4.8 assists per game throughout his eight seasons. Collison was also included in the All-Rookie First team in 2009-2010. 

6. David West

David West is the oldest member of the group at 36 years old. West played his college ball for Xavier from 1999-2003, and was drafted 18th overall in 2003 by the New Orleans Hornets. He has been a force in the league for over 10 years now, currently in his fourteenth season in what has been touted as a highly reputable career. West is still searching for his first ring though, and he joined Golden State this past offseason in an effort to do just that. Throughout his 14-year career, West has averaged 14.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

5. C.J. McCollum

McCollum played four years at Lehigh University before being drafted 10th overall in 2013. He was the oldest player selected in the top 10 of the 2013 draft, coming in at 21 years old at the time. McCollum has had a very impressive career thus far, earning the Most Improved Player award for the 2015-16 season. Currently in his fourth season, he is averaging 23 points per game, shooting an impressive 43% from three point range. 

4. David Lee

Lee is a veteran member of this list, drafted 30th overall in the 2005 NBA Draft. The power forward practiced his trade at the University of Florida, playing four seasons and winning the NCAA tournament in his final year at Florida. Lee won a championship with Golden State in 2015, and has averaged 13.9 points and 9 rebounds per game throughout a respectable 11-year career. 

3. Jimmy Butler

Butler was the final pick of the 2011 NBA draft out of the University of Marquette. Butler won the Most Improved Player award in 2014-2015, and is currently enjoying a fantastic season for Chicago, averaging 24.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Currently in his fifth season, Butler is on pace for another All-Star season.

2. Draymond Green

Green played four seasons at Michigan State before being selected 35th overall by Golden State. He has since risen to star-level in the league, winning a ring with the Warriors in 2015, as well as earning an All-Star appearance in 2016. Green is extremely versatile for a 6'7" player, coming in at 7th in the league in assists and 20th in rebounds. In his fifth year in the league, Green is a key member of the stacked Warriors team and a fan favorite throughout the NBA. 

1. Damian Lillard

Lillard redshirted his freshman year at Weber State, eventually declaring for the draft after his fourth season with the team. He was taken 6th overall in 2012 by Portland and has become a household name around the league, beating out Anthony Davis for the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year award. Dame is currently boasting an impressive 27 points per game, good for 7th in the league. 


TOP ARTICLES