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The 25 Top Scorers in NCAA Men’s College Basketball History (D1)

In the long history of NCAA Men’s College Basketball, numerous players have etched their names in the record books with their extraordinary scoring abilities. This prestigious list of the top 25 all-time leading scorers is a testament to the diverse talent that has graced the college basketball courts over the years.

With Caitlin Clark setting the women’s all-time scoring record, the top scorers in Men’s NCAA college history is getting renewed interest.

It features legends like Pete Maravich from LSU, who astonishingly holds the top spot without the benefit of the three-point line, and renowned figures like Oscar Robertson from Cincinnati and Hersey Hawkins from Bradley, who both translated their collegiate success into impressive NBA careers. These players, along with others on the list, have not only set high scoring benchmarks but have also left indelible marks on their programs.

The Top Scorers in NCAA Men’s Basketball History

The remarkable scoring abilities of Maravich, Robertson, Hawkins, Doug McDermott, Lionel Simmons and other walking buckets were sometimes enough to make an average program competitive. They not only heightened their teams’ prospects in the tournament but also swayed the March Madness odds with their potential to single-handedly change the outcome of games.   These guys lit up the scoreboard in their college days, but have etched their names in NCAA basketball history books, but it doesn’t always mean they were one of best college players of all-time much less have success on the next level. Okay enough talking, let’s dive into NCAA college basketball’s all-time scoring legends.

1.Pete Maravich (3,677)

Starting with the king of college hoops scoring, Pete Maravich from LSU. He racked up a wild 3,667 points from 1967-68 to 1969-70. What’s nuts is he did all this without a 3-point line and a shot clock. “Pistol Pete” was a scoring machine, averaging over 43 points per game in his varsity years. Although LSU didn’t hit the NCAA tournament with him, Maravich’s impact was massive. Maravich later became an NBA all-star, known for his incredible scoring and flashy playmaking.

2. Antoine Davis (3,664)

Next up, sitting just shy of Maravich, is Antoine Davis from Detroit Mercy. He scored a massive 3,664 points from 2018-19 to 2022-23. Talk about a near miss – Davis finished just four points short of tying Maravich’s record (and Davis definitely believes he got cheated out of the record). He was a scoring sensation through his college career but hasn’t made it onto an NBA team as of this post.

3. Freeman Williams (3,249)

Now, let’s talk about Freeman Williams of Portland State. This guy notched up 3,249 points from 1974-75 to 1977-78. He was a scoring beast, averaging over 30 points in his final three years and peaking at a wild 38.8 points per game as a junior. Williams made it to the NBA, drafted No. 8 overall by the Boston Celtics and played just four seasons in the NBA.

4. Chris Clemons (3,225)

Then there’s Chris Clemons from Campbell, standing at 3,225 points from 2015-16 to 2018-19. Despite being only 5-foot-9, Clemons was a scoring powerhouse, leading the nation in scoring and having a few 40-point games under his belt. Clemons took his talents to the NBA, but only played 33 games for the Houston Rockets. He would also play in the G League before going to play professionally overseas.

5. Lionel Simmons (3,217)

Lionel Simmons from La Salle is another legend with 3,217 points from 1986-87 to 1989-90. He won the Naismith and Wooden Awards in his senior year. Simmons brought his scoring prowess to the NBA but wasn’t able to find the same success. Still, Simmons was able to carve out 7 NBA seasons before moving on from the League.

The 25 All-Time Leading Scorers in NCAA Men's College Basketball (D1)
Rank Player Points Team Career Games PPG
1 Pete Maravich* 3,667 LSU 1967-1970 83 44.2
2 Antoine Davis 3,664 Detroit Mercy 2018-2023 144 25.4
3 Freeman Williams 3,249 Portland State 1974-1978 106 30.7
4 Chris Clemons 3,225 Campbell 2015-2019 130 24.8
5 Lionel Simmons 3,217 La Salle 1986-1990 131 24.6
6 Alphonso Ford 3,165 Mississippi Valley State 1989-1993 109 29
7 Doug McDermott 3,150 Creighton 2010-2014 145 21.7
8 Mike Daum 3,067 South Dakota State 2015-2019 137 22.4
9 Harry Kelly 3,066 Texas Southern 1979-1983 110 27.9
10 Keydren Clark 3,058 Saint Peter's 2002-2006 118 25.9
11 Hersey Hawkins 3,008 Bradley 1984-1988 125 25.5
12 Max Abmas^C 2,987 Oral Roberts / Texas 2019- 147 20.3
13 Oscar Robertson* 2,973 Cincinnati 1957-1960 88 33.8
14 Danny Manning 2,951 Kansas 1984-1988 147 20.1
15 Alfredrick Hughes 2,914 Loyola Chicago 1981-1985 120 24.3
16 Elvin Hayes* 2,884 Houston 1965-1968 93 31
17 Tyler Hansbrough 2,872 North Carolina 2005-2009 142 20.2
18 Larry Bird* 2,850 Indiana State 1976-1979 94 30.3
19 Otis Birdsong 2,832 Houston (2) 1973-1977 116 24.4
20 Kevin Bradshaw 2,804 Bethune-Cookman/U.S. International 1987-1991 111 25.3
21 Allan Houston 2,801 Tennessee 1989-1993 128 21.9
22 JJ Redick 2,769 Duke 2002-2006 139 19.9
23 Markus Howard 2,761 Marquette 2016-2020 128 21.6
24 Hank Gathers 2,723 USC / Loyola Marymount 1985-1990 117 23.3
25 Tyler Haws 2,720 BYU 2009-2015 139 19.6

6. Alphonso Ford (3,165)

Alphonso Ford of Mississippi Valley State, with 3,165 points from 1989-90 to 1992-93, was another consistent scorer. 

7. Doug McDermott (3,150)

Doug McDermott from Creighton, tallying 3,150 points from 2010-11 to 2013-14, improved his game each season under his dad, coach Greg McDermott. He later became an NBA player, but never more than a sharpshooter role player. Being one of the 500 best players in the world can be seen as success and most of us would take that in a heartbeat, but for a player that scored the seventh most points in NCAA Men’s D1 history, some could see that as disappointing.

8. Mike Daum (3,067 )

Mike Daum from South Dakota State, scoring 3,067 points from 2015-16 to 2018-19, was a star in college.

9. Harry Kelly (3,066)

“Machine Gun” Kelly, aka Harry Kelly from Texas Southern, racked up 3,066 points from 1979-80 to 1982-83. Kelly may have been was a scoring machine on the college level but never ended up making a big splash in the NBA.

10. Keydren Clark (3,058)

Keydren Clark from Saint Peter’s scored 3,058 points from 2002-03 to 2005-06. Despite his height (only 5’11”), Clark was a scoring leader in college. 

11. Hersey Hawkins (3,008)

Hersey Hawkins from Bradley, with 3,008 points from 1984-85 to 1987-88, was a scoring star in college and carried his talents into an NBA career that saw him be named an NBA All-Star in 1991.

12. Oscar Robertson (2,973)

And finally, Oscar Robertson from Cincinnati, scoring 2,973 points from 1957-58 to 1959-60, was a phenomenal player both in college and the NBA, known for his all-around skills and triple-double records.

These players not only dominated college hoops but also, for many, made significant marks in the NBA with their scoring talents.

NCAA Scoring Books Doesn’t Equal NBA Success

Absolutely, being a scoring sensation in college doesn’t always translate to NBA stardom. This list of college basketball’s top scorers is a perfect example of how collegiate success isn’t a surefire ticket to NBA glory. Take Larry Bird, Elvin Hayes, Maravich and Oscar Robertson. These four are the notable exceptions on this list with all three having illustrious careers on the next level. The foursome ended up on the NBA’s 75 Greatest Players list. Kevin Bradshaw? Not so much.

But not everyone can replicate that success in the NBA.  Take Antoine Davis for example. Despite finishing just shy of Maravich’s all-time scoring record, he was never drafted and is currently playing in the G-League. Then there’s Lionel Simmons from La Salle. The L-Train had a respectable NBA career, but it didn’t come close to the dominance he displayed in college. Whatever the case, these 25 players’ legacies are locked into NCAA history… until the next great scorer pushed them down a notch.

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