Having lefties increases almost every dynamic of college basketball and today we celebrate Left Handers Day.
You can’t teach someone how to play a sport exactly the way you know it and that most certainly rings true for the lefties out there. August 13th is Left Handers Day, so we applaud (with both hands) the best left-handers in college hoops history.
8. Derrick Coleman
Career stats: 15.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.2 blocks
1989-90: 17.9 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.0 blocks
Coleman has some of the least compelling stats of anyone on this list, but he was chosen first overall in the 1990 NBA Draft. He came up a free-throw short of giving Syracuse basketball a national championship in 1987. Other than that blunder, Coleman is still one of the best players in the Orange’s storied program.
7. Wayman Tisdale
Career stats: 25.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.0 blocks
1983-84 stats: 27.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.2 blocks
Tisdale is still recognized as perhaps Oklahoma’s greatest basketball player of all time. He had a dominating presence down low, using his body to establish position, and his lefty touch (often lefty slam) to finish things off inside the paint.
6. Jalen Rose
Career stats: 17.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals
1993-94 stats: 19.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals
Perhaps the most recognizable player from Michigans ‘Fab Five’, Rose has now established himself a nice career in sports media. Before that, he was using his lefty ball-handling skills to break down defenders and lead Michigan to national prominence. Happy Left Handers Day Jalen!
5. Zion Williamson
2018-19 stats: 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 1.8 blocks
Williamson only stayed one year, but it didn’t matter. He’d become the first overall pick in 2019 and because of how he lived up to the hype. There’s no doubt Zion was the most talented high-school product since LeBron James and he showed us why at Duke.
4. Bob Lanier
Career stats: 27.6 points, 15.7 rebounds
1969-70 stats: 29.1 points, 16.0 rebounds
It’s difficult to compare players from 50 years ago to the present day and especially guys who played at the mid-major level. For Lanier, it doesn’t matter. St. Bonaventure was more than just a small school in upstate New York. Lanier dominated against everyone he played. Lanier led the Bonnies to the 1970 Final Four and had outbursts like 51 points against Seton Hall and a 32 point, 15 rebound game against Bob Cousy and Boston College.
3. Bill Russell
Career stats: 20.7 points, 20.3 rebounds
1954-55 stats: 21.4 points, 20.5 rebounds
Russell goes even further back than Lanier but is a true champion of Left Handers Day. He won the NCAA Championship twice in college and holds the record with 11 NBA titles. He may have used both hands to rebound the ball, but Russell was just as talented a scorer, and winning back-to-back championships is an impressive feat.
2. Chris Mullin
Career stats: 19.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.7 steals
1983-84 stats: 22.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.1 steals
The only college basketball player on the 1992 Team USA Basketball Olympic Dream Team, Mullin was a force at St. John’s. Differing from some of the big bruisers on this list before him, Mullin had a sweet jumper and underrated handles, all contributing to why he’s ranked third on this list. He played at the height of the Big East and at a time where individual statistics were starting to lessen. With a look at Mullin’s statistics, he didn’t fit that mold.
1. David Robinson
Career stats: 21.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.1 blocks
1986-87 stats: 28.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 2.1 steals
Robinson made our list of the best servicemen players in college basketball history and again is near the top of the lefties debate. It was practically impossible to pick just one single season, so I went with the one that Robinson amassed the most points per game. But in 1986 he blocked 5.9 shots and grabbed 13.0 rebounds per game, so don’t let the 1987 season dispel how great of a player Robinson was over his entire career at Navy.