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Why no mention of Dan Issel on lists of all-time great college basketball players?

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

In looking through several lists recently of various media outlet’s articles about the top college basketball players of all time it was apparent that something wasn’t right.

The articles had titles like “The 50 greatest college basketball players of all time” and the “Ranking the 20 most dominant college basketball players of all time”.

There were several more from several national media outlets that listed various college basketball players from many schools but the thing most interesting was what was not on these lists. More specifically who.

Not a single mention of one of the greatest players of all time. A player that was dominant as a scorer and rebounder. This player was a two time consensus All-American in his three year college career. He played on teams that won the SEC title three years in a row and played in two Elite Eight’s and a Sweet Sixteen.

At a time when the three point shot and shot clock did not exist in college basketball he averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds per game over a three year career. He also shot 52 percent from the floor and 74 percent from the free throw line. This same player scored over 27,000 points in his professional career.

This player was not on a team where he was the only scoring option. He had teammates that averaged 18 to 20 points per game also. In his senior season at UK he averaged 34 points per game and is still not mentioned on many of the national media lists as one of the greatest of all time.

There were names like Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Manning, Bryant Reeves, Keith Van Horn and the lists go on and on of players that can’t compare with this former UK player.

Those of you that have been around UK basketball for a long time probably know the player that is missing. The pride of Batavia, Illinois — Dan Issel.

Not only was he one of the best college players of all time – Naismith Hall of Fame inductee in 1993 – but was a standout professional player as well. He was voted American Basketball Association Rookie of the Year in 1971 and was a 6 time ABA All-Star and was also named an NBA All-Star. His ABA and NBA combined 27,482 points would place him in eleventh place on the ABA/NBA combined career scoring list ahead of players like Oscar Robertson, Elvin Hayes, Tim Duncan and John Havlicek.

So what’s up with the snub on all the so-called ” greatest” lists from national media outlets? Do they not watch basketball? Do they have no appreciation for players that played prior to the 1990’s? Is there truly a University of Kentucky bias factor? True basketball fans who go to the extend of having their very own march madness brackets would not have made a mistake like this.

Knowing that Dan Issel is a Naismith Hall of Fame player and that his statistics are better than many of the players on those lists one can only think that these particular writers have no appreciation for college basketball before the 1990s or they truly are biased against UK Basketball.

Either way it appears that to be one of the greatest college basketball players of all time you have to do more than perform on the court. If that wasn’t the case Dan Issel would appear in the top 20 of every one of those lists.

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