Top 10 Greatest Chicago College Basketball Players - #1


George Mikan (Photo courtesy of Vedia on Flickr.)

There have been some - to put it lightly - disagreements about the members of this Top 10 list. Unlike a lot of the analysis I do on the blog it's difficult to quantify the impact made by players on during their brief time in a college basketball program. No matter your feelings about the other nine members of the list though, I think everyone can agree that the top player stands head and shoulders above the rest.

First here are the nine players already selected:

#10 David Holston - Chicago State
#9 Drake Diener - DePaul
#8 Kenny Williams - UIC
#7 Leslie Hunter - Loyola
#6 Evan Eschmeyer - Northwestern
#5 Jerry Harkness - Loyola
#4 Joseph Reiff - Northwestern
#3 Mark Aguirre - DePaul
#2 LaRue Martin - Loyola

When he played at DePaul that was also certainly the case. This player was a two-time national player of the year and carried the Blue Demons to an NIT Title. He was a titan of his era and even today is remembered quite fondly. If you haven't guessed yet, that player is George Mikan.

1. George Mikan - DePaul: This 6'10" center was born in 1924 in Joliet, Illinois. He went to high school at Quigley Prep in Chicago. He started his Hall of Fame basketball career in earnest at DePaul as an awkward freshman. Mikan was not only one of the first collegiate basketball players to make a big impact in Chicago, he was also the best.

Mikan was a two-time Helms NCAA College Player of the Year (1944, 1945) and a three-time All-American. The Blue Demons won the NIT Title in 1945 because of their big man in the middle. Mikan was named MVP of the tournament. Mikan is fourth in career scoring all-time at DePaul with 1,870 points. His 53 points against Rhode Island on March 21, 1945 are the most by any Blue Demon in a single game. Mikan is also second all-time at DePaul in blocked shots with 154.

George's brother Ed also played basketball at DePaul. Either George or Ed led the Blue Demons in field goal percentage for four straight seasons starting in 1944-45.

In his obituary The New York Times went out of its way to describe the incredible impact that George Mikan had on the game of basketball. Things we know today - such as the lane and shot clock - grew out of Mikan's ability to dominate a game. Mikan would go on to play in the NBA and was named one of the league's 50 Greatest Players in 1996. Mikan passed away on June 1, 2005 at the age of 80, but his legacy lives on.

He is truly the greatest player in Chicago college basketball history.

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