Top 20 Indiana basketball players of all-time

Former Indiana Hoosiers head coach Bob Knight . (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Former Indiana Hoosiers head coach Bob Knight . (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
19 of 20
Indiana basketball
Indiana coach Bob Knight with Steve Alford during the NCAA National Basketball Championship. MANDATORY CREDIT: Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos /

Indiana basketball career stats: 19.5 PPG, 3.1 AST, 1.4 STL, 53.3 FG%, 3.1 3PM, 125 GP

Steve Alford finished his college career at Indiana as the number-one scorer of all time. Of course, he would be passed up by Calbert Cheaney just a couple of years later, but Alford is definitely one of the best scorers in Indiana basketball history.

Alford was a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, two-time Consensus All-American, NCAA All-Tournament selection, and NCAA Tournament All-Region selection in 1987. The Hoosier-born guard had one of the best runs in college basketball history in the 1987 NCAA Tournament, averaging 25.7 points and 3.5 three-pointers made.

Alford started off the tournament with a 42-point explosion against Michigan State, then had two more games, including the championship against Syracuse, with seven three-pointers. Alford shot 64.1 percent from beyond the arc and cemented his legacy as one of the best shooters in college basketball history.

Alford has one of the best arguments to be named the best Indiana basketball player of all-time and is ranked in the top 10 in the MOST statistical categories for career and single-season numbers:

  • Points: 2,438 (2nd)
  • Points per game: 19.5 (7th)
  • Minutes played: 4,624 (2nd)
  • Minutes played per game: 37.0 (1st)
  • Field goals made: 898 (2nd)
  • Field goal attempts: 1,685 (2nd)
  • Field goal percentage: 53.3% (9th)
  • Free throws made: 535 (2nd)
  • Free throw attempts: 596 (6th)
  • Free throw percentage: 89.8% (1st)
  • Steals: 178 (2nd)
  • Steals per game: 1.4 (4th)
  • Points (single season): 749 in 1986-87 (3rd)
  • Minutes played (single season): 1,258 in 1986-87 (tied for 1st)
  • Minutes played per game (single season): 38.0 in 1983-84 (2nd), 37.0 in 1985-86 & 1986-87 (tied for 5th), & 36.0 in 1984-85 (tied for 9th)
  • Field goals made (single season): 254 in 1985-86 (tied for 7th)
  • Field goal percentage (single season): 59.2% in 1983-84 (6th)
  • Three-pointers made (single season): 107 in 1986-87 (1st)
  • Three-point percentage (single season): 53.0% in 1986-87 (2nd)
  • Free throw percentage (single season): 92.1% in 1984-85 (1st), 91.3% in 1983-84 (2nd), & 88.9% in 1986-87 (tied for 6th)
  • Steals (single season): 50 in 1985-86 (10th)
  • Steals per game (single season): 1.8 in 1985-86 (5th)

Alford was selected 26th overall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks after his successful four seasons under Bob Knight. Unfortunately, Alford spent just five seasons in the NBA and started just three total games out of the 169 career games played.

Quickly moving on after his playing career, Alford got a head coaching job at Missouri State in 1995-96 and led his team to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1999, then spent eight seasons as the head coach for Iowa, six seasons as the head coach for New Mexico, six seasons in charge at UCLA, and now is the current head coach of Nevada. Alford has 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and has a record of 557-309 (.643) in his 27-year college coaching career.

After his years in Bloomington as one of the best shooters of all time, Alford made a name for himself and continues to succeed in the basketball world. If not for Alford, Indiana basketball would not have won their fifth (and most recent) banner in 1987.

Now, what we’ve all been waiting for. Who is the best Indiana basketball player of all time? Drum roll, please!