BTN.com staff, January 22, 2016
Who gets your vote for the best player in Northwestern basketball history? We came up with a list of 12 Wildcat greats, and now it?s your job to rank them!
Read each player?s bio below, then scroll down and rank them, 1-12. The results of this fan survey will be announced on TV?s ?BTN Live? in February.
Jim Burns 1964-67: Became Northwestern?s seventh All-American in 1966 and their fifth first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1967. Jim Burns enjoyed an outstanding senior season, leading the team with an average of 21.5 points per game. At the time his career ended, Burns was Northwestern?s career scoring leader with 1,368 points in three seasons. He currently ranks 12th. Became the first Wildcat player to earn Academic All-America and first-team All-Big Ten honors. He led NU in scoring all three years he was on varsity.
Drew Crawford 2009-14: Drew Crawford was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2010 and was a third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2012 and again in 2014. He is the second-leading scorer in school history (1,920) and is first in games played (143).
Otto Graham, 1941-1944: A star on the baseball and football fields, Graham was also an all-state high school basketball player and came to Northwestern on a basketball scholarship. He played on the varsity as a freshman, was the second-leading Big Ten scorer as a junior, then captained the team his senior year as a first team All-American in 1944.
Evan Eschmeyer 1995-99: The only three-time first team All-Big Ten selection in Northwestern history (1997-99). Evan Eschmeyer is the school?s all-time leader in field goal percentage (59.5) and rebounds (995), and he ranks fourth in points (1,805). He earned second-team All-American honors in 1999. Became NU?s third three-time Team MVP (1997-99).
Billy McKinney 1973-77: Setting a school scoring record that lasted 35 years, Billy McKinney was Northwestern basketball?s first three-time Team MVP (1975-77). During his senior season (1977), he averaged 21.3 points per game and was named first-team All-Big Ten. Starring for coach Tex Winter from 1974 to 1977, McKinney poured in 1,900 points.
Max Morris 1944-46: Northwestern?s last two-sport male All-American, Max Morris excelled on both the gridiron and the basketball court. The 6-foot-2 Morris earned consensus first-team All-America honors as a forward during his senior year on the basketball team. He was the first-ever recipient of the Chicago Tribune?s Big Ten Player of the Year honor, in 1946 (the only NU winner of the award). He led the conference in scoring twice (15.8 points per game in 1945 and 16.5 points per game in 1946).
Shon Morris 1984-88: Became Northwestern's second three-time Team MVP (1986-88). NU?s only three-time Academic All-American. Led Northwestern in scoring and rebounding in each of his last three seasons in Evanston. Ranks 11th in school history with 1,407 career points.
Joe Reiff 1930-33: Northwestern?s only two-time All-American player (1931, 1933). Member of NU?s only Big Ten Conference Championship teams (1931 and 1933). Reiff finished second in the conference in scoring during his junior season behind to Purdue senior John Wooden. In his senior year, Reiff led the league in scoring at 14.0 points per game.
Joe Ruklick 1956-59: A 6-foot-9 All-American (1958) and first-feam All-Big Ten (1959) center who led the Wildcats in both scoring and rebounding for three consecutive years. He still holds the Northwestern records for points per game (19.9) and ranks second in rebounds per game (13.2). NU?s third two-time Team MVP (1957-58).
John Shurna 2008-12: In breaking Billy McKinney?s 35-year-old school scoring record, Shurna became the first Wildcat to break the 2,000-point plateau (2,038). Earning All-America honorable mention and consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior (2012), he also became Northwestern?s first Big Ten scoring champion since 1951. Shurna also holds the school?s career blocked shots record (136) and played for the first two 20-win teams in Northwestern history. Became NU?s fifth three-time Team MVP (2012-14).
Jim Stack 1978-83: Two-time Team MVP (1982-83). Ranks sixth in NU history with 1,583 career points.
Michael ?Juice? Thompson 2007-11: Ranks fifth in school history with 1,689 career points. Thompson ranks first in school history in assists (528) and minutes played (4,633). Started 129 games during his college career, which also ranks first in Northwestern school history. He made 276 3-pointers during his four seasons at NU, which is the second highest total in school history.