Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!
Today: The five best NBA players ever to come out of New Jersey.
Kyle Anderson and Mike Tobey are standout basketball recruits who are headed to D-I colleges — and possibly beyond. New Jersey has a long history of sending top high school players to the NBA. But who's been the best? Here's our list of the five best players from the Garden State to play in the NBA.
5. Joakim Noah
Credentials: Noah went to The Lawrenceville School before moving on to Florida, where he won two NCAA titles. He was picked ninth overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 2007 NBA Draft while wearing this. His presence has helped turn the Bulls back into a contender, as he averages 8.5 points and 8.4 rebounds.
4. Andrew Bynum
Credentials: Right now, the most memorable images we have of Bynum are him knocking J.J. Barea out of the air in last season's playoffs, taking his shirt off after being ejected and crumbling to the floor after another knee injury. But let's forget all that and focus on the good stuff. Bynum went straight from St. Joseph (Met.) to the NBA, where the McDonald's All-American was drafted 10th overall by the Lakers in 2005. Despite battling injuries, Bynum has become a valued player when healthy, averaging 10.5 points and 7.1 boards and winning two NBA titles.
3. Luol Deng
Credentials: This Sudan native attended Blair Academy before enrolling at Duke University for one season. After averaging 15.1 points and 6.9 boards as a freshman, Deng was chosen seventh overall by the Bulls in the 2004 NBA Draft. In Chicago, he's been a regular starter and put up 17.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game alongside MVP Derrick Rose.
2. Tom Heinsohn
Credentials: Whether or not you like him as a Celtics broadcaster, Heinsohn is a legend and Hall of Famer. Hailing from St. Michael's went on to play at Holy Cross, averaging 27.4 points and 21.1 rebounds as a senior. The Celtics drafted him in 1956 and he went on to win Rookie of the Year and eight championships in his nine seasons.
1. Rick Barry
Credentials: One of the NBA's top 50 greatest players began his ascent into excellence at Roselle Park. After dominating at Miami, (he averaged 37.4 points and 18.3 boards as a senior) Barry took his talents to the San Francisco Warriors, who drafted him second overall in the 1965 NBA Draft. Barry continued his great play in the NBA and ABA, putting up 24.8 points per game and leading the Warriors to the 1965 NBA title. His genes spread into sons Jon, Brent and Drew, who all played in the NBA.
Tomorrow: Wild Card! Check back tomorrow to find out what our list is.
Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.