The emergence of Duncan Robinson in 2020 caught the attention of many. He was making three-pointers at an incredibly efficient rate. For long stretches, he would literally forget how to miss.
The unique thing about Robinson is that his career began in Division III. He played for Williams College, a renowned power house. His team would lose in the D3 National Championship game in his lone season there, before Robinson took his talents to Michigan.
Robinson is just the latest in a line of many D-III NBA players. Read on as we name some of the others.
Ronald “Flip Murray”
From Shaw University to the NBA, Flip Murray made it to the league after averaging better than 22 points, five rebounds and five assists in consecutive years. Murray’s name was called on draft night, the Bucks making him the twelfth pick of the second-round (42nd overall).
Murray barely saw the floor as a rookie, but was packaged in the Ray Allen trade to Seattle. He would average 12 points per game the following season. But, he made the playoffs only once with the Sonics.
It was his half-year in Cleveland that Murray played his best. He averaged 13 points per game as a starting guard on a young LeBron’s Cavs team. He wouldn’t be re-signed after a poor playoff showing, but he did last for four more years in the NBA.
In all, Murray played for eight teams in eight years, averaging 10 points per game on 41% shooting. Not bad for a D-III kid.
His numbers don’t jump off the page at you, but Devean George was a glue guy on three title-winning LA Lakers teams. After averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior at Augsburg University, it was clear that George was good enough to play at the next level.
George would be selected #23 by the Lakers in the first-round of the draft 1999 draft, though he played sparingly as a rookie. He lasted eight years with the Lakers thanks to hard work and timely plays, a key part of Shaq and Kobe’s three-peat.
He would play three years in Dallas, before finishing up as a Golden State Warrior in 2009-10. George only averaged six points and three rebounds per game over 11 NBA seasons, but he was a hard-worker who knew what it took to win.
Talk about humble beginnings. Terry Porter played four years of college ball at UW-Stevens Point, where he averaged 14 points, four rebounds and four assists over four years (three as a starter). He was good enough for Portland to select him #24 in the 1985 NBA Draft.
After a relatively quiet rookie season, he averaged 13 points and nine assists in year two, and then 15 and 10 assists the following campaign. He was with the Blazers for 10 years, making two All-Star games and averaging 15 points and seven assists.
Portland did not miss the playoffs with Porter on the roster during his 10 years, losing in the Finals twice. Porter’s final seven seasons saw his production dip significantly, but he remained a good locker room leader.
In all, the guy from D-III Stevens Point averaged 12 points and six assists in the NBA, where he made two All-Star games and two NBA Finals. Not too shabby.
I had to save the best for last. Jack Sikma was an absolute beast in the NBA. He was a 7X All-Star, All-Defensive selection, an NBA champion. Plus, he’s a Hall-of-Famer. Sikma’s career began at Illinois Wesleyan University, just 90 miles from where he was born.
Over his four years for the Titans of Illinois Wesleyan, Sikma averaged 21 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 51% from the floor. He averaged 27 and 15 as a senior, just incredible numbers. Nobody could stop him.
His fantastic time there would lead to Sikma being the #8 pick in the 1977 NBA Draft. And it took just two years for him to help bring a championship to Seattle. His seven All-Star game appearances were consecutive, from 1978-1985.
Over nine years in Seattle, he averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. And in five years with the Bucks, Sikma posted 13 points, eight rebounds and nearly two-and-a-half assists per game.
Sikma is in the Basketball Hall of Fame for a good reason. He was a dominant force. It’s just incredible that he did all of this coming out of a Division III school.