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Thursday, February 25, 2021

How Many NCAA Division I Players Have Career Averages of at Least 20 PPG and at Least 20 RPG?

One would think that the title question could be answered by consulting the Official NCAA Records Book. However, different answers are provided in different editions, without an explanation for the changes.

On page nine of the Official 1993 NCAA Basketball book, under "General" there is a list of six Division I players who averaged at least 20 ppg and at least 20 rpg during their varsity careers:

Walt Dukes, Seton Hall, 1952-53 (23.5 points and 21.1 rebounds)

Bill Russell, San Francisco, 1954-56 (20.7 points and 20.3 rebounds)

Paul Silas, Creighton, 1962-64 (20.5 points and 21.6 rebounds)

Julius Erving, Massachusetts, 1970-71 (26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds)

Artis Gilmore, Jacksonville, 1970-71 (24.3 points and 22.7 rebounds)

Kermit Washington, American, 1971-73 (20.1 points and 20.2 rebounds)

The introductory material in this book notes that Division I individual rebound statistics have been tracked since 1950-51, and that freshmen became eligible for varsity play starting in 1973 (which is one reason why none of the players listed above had four year Division I careers; also, Erving played two years at the varsity level before signing with the Virginia Squires, while Gilmore played two years of junior college ball before transferring to Jacksonville).

On page 9 of the Official 1998 NCAA Men's Basketball Records Book, under "General" there is a list of the Division I players who averaged at least 20 ppg and at least 20 rpg during their varsity careers. Walter Dukes' name is missing (most sources give his first name as Walter, not Walt), while the other five players and their statistics are listed the same way that they are listed above. The introductory material regarding individual rebound statistics and varsity play is unchanged. Both books list Dukes as the record holder for total single season rebounds (734 in 1953).

NCAA Basketball's Finest, an official NCAA book from 1991, lists Dukes as a participant in two varsity seasons at Seton Hall, with the same scoring and rebounding averages displayed above. However, research from other sources indicates that Dukes had a three year varsity career (1951-53), and that over that three year span he did not maintain a 20-20 career average. Is the answer that simple, namely that the authors of the 1993 record book were not aware that Walter Dukes, one of the premier college players of his era, played three varsity seasons? It is odd that the NCAA would list Dukes as a record holder, and then just remove his name without any explanation. I do not have a complete collection of NCAA record books, so perhaps an explanation was provided in an edition that I do not have.

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posted by David Friedman @ 8:37 PM



At Wednesday, April 21, 2021 4:40:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Why doesn't Spencer Haywood qualify? He averaged 32.1 ppg and 22.1 rpg for the University of Detroit in 68-69, his only varsity season before turning pro.

At Thursday, April 22, 2021 12:56:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


The NCAA requires that a player have at least 800 rebounds in order to be listed among the career leaders in rebounds per game. Haywood fell short of that total, so he is not listed among the career leaders for rpg, nor is listed among the players who averaged at least 20 ppg and at least 20 rpg during their college careers.


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