Published On: Mar 29 2012 04:58:00 PM CDTUpdated On: Apr 04 2014 01:00:00 AM CDT
The NCAA Final Four has produced many big stars over the years -- but where are they today?
Let's start with Mateen Cleaves, who after leading Michigan State to the 2000 national title, played sparingly in the NBA for several seasons before eventually playing in the D-League and overseas.
Cleaves, who had his number retired by Michigan State in 2007, is now a music talent manager and an basketball analyst on the "Inside College Basketball" on CBS Sports Network. He also offers NBA analysis for Fox Sports Detroit's coverage on "Pistons Live" and was selected for the 2013 class of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
As a freshman sharpshooter, Gerry McNamara helped the Syracuse Orange to a NCAA title in 2003. McNamara totaled 19 points and 4 steals to go along with teammate Carmelo Anthony's 33 points in a 95-84 semifinal victory over Texas and then hit six three-pointers in the first half of the title game versus the Kansas Jayhawks. Those 18 points were McNamara's total for the game, helping Syracuse to a 81-78 victory. Anthony, who scored 21 points in the win and is now an NBA superstar, won Most Outstanding Player honors, but both he and McNamara were named to the All-Tournament team.
McNamara played another three years at Syracuse, leading the Orange to the Sweet 16 in the 2004 tournament but losing in first-round upsets in 2005 and 2006. He was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2006 United States Basketball League draft, but elected to try for an NBA career instead. He had brief stints with international teams in Greece and Latvia and with the NBA Development League teams Bakersfield Jam and Reno Bighorns before retiring as a player in March 2009. He returned to Syracuse as a graduate student and student assistant for the men's basketball team in the summer of 2009 and was promoted to an assistant coach in 2011.
Sean May was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2005 Final Four after leading the North Carolina Tar Heels to their fourth national championship as a junior. May scored 26 points on 10-for-11 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead North Carolina over the University of Illinois 75-70.
May left the Tar Heels for the NBA following his junior year, being drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 13th overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, one of four North Carolina players drafted with lottery picks that year (along with Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants.) He played for Charlotte for three seasons and another year for the Sacramento Kings. Since 2010, he has played internationally with professional teams in Turkey, Croatia and Italy. He currently plays for the French professional team Orléans Loiret Basket.
Juan Dixon won the Most Outstanding Player award in leading Maryland to a championship over Indiana in 2002. He went on to play for several teams in the NBA.
Dixon last played in the NBA with the Washington Wizards in 2009 before heading overseas to play in Europe, including stints in Greece and Spain. After a one-year FIBA suspension for steroid use, he signed with Turkish team Banvit in March 2011. In November 2013, Dixon joined the University of Maryland men's basketball coaching staff as a special assistant under head coach Mark Turgeon.
Duke superstar Christian Laettner helped lead the Blue Devils to the 1991 and 1992 national crowns. He then was a first-round pick in the 1992 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and spent that summer as part of the Olympic "Dream Team" that won gold in Barcelona. He played in the NBA for 13 years, including stints with Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Washington before wrapping up his career with the Miami heat during the 2004-05 season.
In January 2012, Laettner accepted a position as an assistant coach with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, but was let go with the rest of the coaching staff after the season. He also has battled financial problems and debt from his real-estate ventures, owing a reported $30 million to creditors, according to the Wall Street Journal. These days he's a motivational speaker and runs his own basketball camp.
Corliss Williamson earned the Most Outstanding Player award for his performance in the 1994 Final Four, leading Arkansas to a title over Duke. He also led the Razorbacks back to the NCAA final the next year, with Arkansas losing to UCLA. He went on to play for four teams during a 12-year NBA career.
Williamson retired from the NBA in 2007 to become an assistant coach at Arkansas Baptist College. In March 2010, he was named the men's head basketball coach at the University of Central Arkansas. He left Central Arkansas after compiling a 26-62 record over three seasons to become an assistant coach with the NBA's Sacramento Kings in August 2013.
Shane Battier led the Duke Blue Devils to the 2001 national title, winning NCAA basketball tournament MVP honors along the way. He was then drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.
Battier was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2006, but was traded back to the Grizzlies in February 2011. He signed with the Miami Heat as a free agent in December 2011 and ended up winning two NBA titles with the team before retiring after the 2014 season. He is also a co-owner of D1 Sports Training in Memphis and in 2010 was chosen as the seventh smartest professional athlete by the Sporting News. He is now a commentator for ESPN.
Bobby Hurley won national titles with Duke in 1991 and 1992 before being drafted by the Sacramento Kings. Hurley was involved in a serious car crash his rookie season. He was able to return to the Kings in 1994 and play with the team for several years before retiring.
Hurley turned his focus to owning and breeding thoroughbred race horses after retiring, but lost his stables to foreclosure in 2010. In 2010 he joined his younger brother Dan as a coach for Wagner University and followed him to the University of Rhode Island in March 2012 when Dan was named the school's head basketball coach. In March 2013, Hurley was named the head coach of the State University at New York at Buffalo men's basketball team. He led the Buffalo Bulls to a 19-10 record and their first-ever Mid-American Conference East division title in his first season as coach and followed that up with the team's first NCAA tournament berth this season.
UConn was 91-17 during Khalid El-Amin's three years as starting point guard. This included 10 NCAA tourney wins and the 1999 National Championship.
In 50 games in the NBA, El-Amin averaged 6.3 points with 2.9 assists, 1.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 1.1 turnovers and 2.0 fouls in 18.6 minutes. He started playing overseas in 2002 and has played in France, Turkey, Israel, Ukraine, Lithuania and Croatia. He's seen here playing for the French League team Le Mans Sarthe Basket in 2012. He's played with the German team BG Göttingen of the Basketball Bundesliga since 2014.
Larry Bird, whose Indiana State team made it to the title game in 1979, followed up his 13-year Hall of Fame NBA career by coaching the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000. In 2003, he assumed the role of president of basketball operations for the Pacers, which he held through 2012, when he resigned to deal with an ailing back and other health issues. He returned to the position in 2013 after a year away from the team.
After leading North Carolina to the 1982 national title, Michael Jordan went on to become of the best NBA players of all time. After ending a legendary NBA career that saw him win six championships with the Chicago Bulls and earning Finals MVP honors each time, Jordan served as the Washington Wizards' director of basketball operations before later becoming first a part-owner and then majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets. Jordan, who is the first former player and first African-American to become the majority owner of an NBA team, is also the head of basketball operations for the Hornets.
After leading Michigan State to the 1979 NCAA crown, beating Larry Bird's Indiana State squad for the title, Magic Johnson became one of the greatest NBA players of all time. The Lakers' star retired in 1991 after learning he was HIV positive. He later returned to the league before retiring for good during the 1996 season. Johnson has worked as an NBA commentator and also owns Magic Johnson Enterprises, which includes a movie studio and a nationwide chain of movie theaters.
Johnson has focused on his business ventures and raising money for AIDS research since retiring. He also was part of an ownership group that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in March 2012 for $2.15 billion.
Patrick Ewing led Georgetown to the 1984 national title before becoming one of the NBA's all-time greatest players.
After retiring as a player in 2002, Ewing has worked as an assistant coach with the Wizards, Rockets and Magic. He is currently associate head coach with the Charlotte Hornets under head coach Steve Clifford. He was also among the 1992 United States Olympic "Dream Team" inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Bill Walton not only won back-to-back titles with UCLA in 1972-73, but he also was named Most Outstanding Player in both title runs. After a successful NBA career that saw two titles in 13 years, Walton retired. He spent another 19 years as a broadcaster before retiring in November 2009, although he later returned as a part-time commentator for the Sacramento Kings and the Boston Celtics. He also returned as a game analyst for Pac-12 basketball coverage on ESPN and the Pac-12 Network starting with the 2012-13 season.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led UCLA to three NCAA championships before embarking on a legendary NBA career. In January 2012, he was named a United States cultural ambassador, with a mission of promoting education, racial tolerance and cultural understanding among young people around the world.
Chris Webber led Michigan to two appearances in the NCAA championship game. In 1993 he infamously called timeout when his team didn't have any timeouts remaining, resulting in a technical foul that helped clinch the game for North Carolina.
Nicknamed C-Webb, his 15-year NBA career came to an end in 2008. Since retiring, Webber has worked as an analyst for NBA TV and TNT. Outside of basketball, Webber has been active in his investment company representing basketball and football players, real estate, and film projects. In October 2014, his name emerged as part of a potential ownership group that has submitted a letter of interest to the NBA about its desire to purchase the Atlanta Hawks.
James Worthy, who won a title in 1982 with North Carolina, was named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history after a Hall of Fame career with the Lakers. He now co-hosts a pre- and post-game Lakers show in Los Angeles as well as serving as an analyst for local broadcasts.
Bill Bradley's Princeton team fell short of the title game in 1965, but Bradley was named MVP nonetheless. In total, Bradley scored 2,503 points at Princeton.
Bradley played 10 years in the NBA for the New York Knicks. He served three terms in the U.S. Senate and mounted an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2000. These days he is a corporate director of Starbucks and a partner at investment bank Allen & Company in New York City. He also hosts a weekly radio show, "American Voices," on Sirius Satellite Radio.
Isiah Thomas led the Indiana Hoosiers to the NCAA title in 1981. Following a successful 13-year NBA career that saw him win two titles with the Detroit Pistons, he had stints in various front offices and coaching positions. He most recently was the head coach at Florida International University for three seasons from 2009 to 2012. Since December 2012, he has been a studio analyst for NBA TV and a regular contributor for NBA.com.
Danny Manning led the Kansas Jayhawks to the title in 1988, earning the Most Outstanding Player award on the strength of his 31 points, 18 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 blocked shots in the championship game. He was drafted with the first overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1998 NBA Draft and spent more than a decade in the league.
After he retired from the NBA in 2003, Manning went on to spend nine years on the basketball staff at Kansas, including six years as an assistant coach under Jayhawks head coach Bill Self, before being named the head basketball coach at the University of Tulsa in April 2012. In his second year at Tulsa, the team claimed the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles and made the NCAA Tournament, earning him Conference USA Coach of the Year honors. That success landed him the head coaching position at Wake Forest in April 2014. The Demon Deacons struggled in their first season under Manning, finishing the 2014-15 season with a 13-19 record.
Though Jerry West's West Virginia team fell short against Cal in the 1959 title game, West was named Most Outstanding Player. He's seen here in the 1959 University of West Virginia yearbook.
West won one title in his 14-year NBA career, but is most well-known for his silhouette being incorporated into the NBA logo. He became general manager of the Lakers in 1982, guiding the team to six NBA championships, followed by a five-year stint as the Memphis Grizzlies' GM before retiring in 2007. In 2011, he joined the Golden State Warriors as a head consultant, also receiving an undisclosed minority ownership stake in the team.
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