Team For The Ages If you could have just five players for your lineup of the century, whom would you choose? Here are our starters, with a look at them then and now

November 15, 1999

There's a UCLA center, but he's not Bill Walton. There's a
backcourtman whose versatility defies belief, but he's not
Michael Jordan. There's a rep from the Big Ten, but he's not
Isiah Thomas. There's a player from North Carolina, but he's not
from Dean Smith's Tar Heels. And there's a guy from--could this
be right?--the Ivy League.

Keep in mind that in making selections for SI's Millennium
All-Star Team--the best five college players of the 20th
century--we didn't care what our Fab Five for the Ages
accomplished later in the NBA. Therefore, there's no Magic or
Wilt (both of whom played only two years of college ball), no
Larry (though he came darn close), no Michael (whose hands were
tied by Smith's spread-the-wealth system) and no Bill Russell
(alas, the competition was tough at the center position). And no
player from the last 25 years because, it seems, so many
potentially great collegians have left early for the pros.

Three members of our legendary lineup won at least one NCAA
title--one of them won three--but all belong in anyone's hall of
fame. More important, decades after they left their respective
halls of ivy, they remain eternal BMOCs, men whose feats are
celebrated whenever the old grads pull up a chair, pour a glass
of sherry and say, "You know, I was around here when...."

Bill Bradley
Princeton, 1962-63 to 1964-65

When the stories from the East began to get out, it didn't seem
possible: A 6'5", button-down, well-to-do brainiac from the Ivy
League was America's best player? There was widespread disbelief
until Bradley's senior year at Princeton, when he hung 41 points
on top-ranked Michigan and Cazzie Russell in the 1964 Holiday
Festival tournament at Madison Square Garden--he received a
three-minute standing ovation after fouling out--and then
one-man-teamed the Tigers into the '65 Final Four. Princeton
didn't reach the championship game, but all Bradley did in the
consolation match was score 58 points against Wichita State.

David Thompson
North Carolina State, 1972-73 to 1974-75

Close your eyes and you can still picture him: gliding over the
rim to guide in the follow shot that beat Maryland in that
memorable game on Super Bowl Sunday, 1973. Or rising straight
into the air, copter-like, to release the most righteous-looking
jumper in college hoops history. Or plummeting frighteningly to
earth the time he had his feet cut out from under him at the
height of his 42-inch vertical leap. The ACC has produced more
great players than any other conference, but none of them, not
even Michael Jordan, was a better collegian than the versatile,
all-but-unguardable 6'4" Thompson, who in his first two seasons
led the Wolfpack to a 57-1 record and an NCAA championship.

Oscar Robertson
Cincinnati, 1957-58 to 1959-60

He was America's first Mr. Basketball, a player whose nonpareil
skills--and nickname--were known even to people who knew little or
nothing about the game. The Big O's stats are a poor way to
illustrate the greatness of a man who was at once intimidating
and cerebral, but they have to be mentioned: In his three college
seasons the 6'5" Robertson averaged 33.8 points and 15.2 rebounds
a game. Perhaps the best tribute came from Bob Cousy, who said
Robertson could call out his moves in advance and still be
unstoppable.

Jerry Lucas
Ohio State, 1959-60 to 1961-62

He is seriously old school, remembered as something of a
mechanical man whose arsenal included a glued-to-the-floor
one-handed push shot. But the 6'8" Lucas, the prototypical power
forward even though he was listed as a center in college, was
the leader of a Buckeyes' brigade (he and John Havlicek and Mel
Nowell had made a joint decision to play at Ohio State) that won
78 of 84 games over three seasons, made it to the NCAA
championship game every year and took home the title in 1960.
Lucas was tournament MVP that year and again in '61 despite the
Buckeyes' loss to Cincinnati. He averaged 17.2 rebounds per game
for his career and never shot less than 61% from the floor, and
he remains the only three-time recipient of the Big Ten player
of the year award. He doubtless remembers all of his stats and
honors because he later became a nationally known memory expert.

Lew Alcindor
UCLA, 1966-67 to 1968-69

Two in three seasons. That's how many games the Bruins lost when
the 7'2" mystery man whom John Wooden still calls Lewis dominated
the college game with his majestic skyhook. Alcindor loved
shredding stereotypes as much as he did defenses. He ruled with
finesse rather than power, comported himself more like a student
on academic scholarship than like one of the most highly
recruited high school athletes ever. The future Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar never lost an NCAA tournament game, and in each of
his three seasons he was the tournament MVP. Here's what we
think: He was the best college player ever.

FIVE COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY PETER GREGOIRE
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTO BY BRUCE ROBERTS COLOR PHOTO: PHOTO BY JOHN D. HANLON B/W PHOTO: NAISMITH MEMORIAL BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME B/W PHOTO: PHOTO BY GEORGE SILK/LIFE MAGAZINE B/W PHOTO: PHOTO BY RICH CLARKSON
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)