List of NCAA Division I men's basketball career scoring leaders

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In basketball, points are the sum of the score accumulated through free throw or field goal.[1] In National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I basketball, where a player's career is at most four seasons long, it is considered a notable achievement to reach the 1,000-points scored threshold. In even rarer instances, players have reached the 2,000- and 3,000-point plateaus (no player has ever scored 4,000 or more points at the Division I level). The top 25 highest scorers in NCAA Division I men's basketball history are listed below. The NCAA did not split into its current divisions format until August 1973.[2] From 1906 to 1955, there were no classifications to the NCAA nor its predecessor, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS).[2] Then, from 1956 to spring 1973, colleges were classified as either "NCAA University Division (Major College)" or "NCAA College Division (Small College)".[2][3]

Some of the top 25 scorers in Division I history played before the three-point line was officially instituted in 1986–87. All of the players with a dash through the three-point field goals made column were affected by this rule. Hank Gathers of Loyola Marymount is the only three-point shot era player on this list who did not make a single three-point shot. From the 1986–87 season through the 2007–08 season, the three-point perimeter was marked at 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m) for both men's and women's college basketball.[4] On May 3, 2007, the NCAA men's basketball rules committee passed a measure to extend the distance of the men's three-point line back to 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m) (the women's line would remain the same).[4]

Additionally, several of the players on this list played during an era when college freshmen were ineligible to compete at the varsity level and were forced to participate on either freshman or junior varsity teams. Since freshman and junior varsity points do not count toward official NCAA records, three players—Pete Maravich, Oscar Robertson and Elvin Hayes—only had three seasons to compile their totals. Larry Bird redshirted (sat out) his freshman year, and therefore, like Maravich, Robertson, and Hayes, his totals also cover only three seasons. With the added benefits of a three-point line and a full extra year of varsity eligibility, their already-historical statistics would have been much higher. Maravich, a guard from LSU, not only owns the three highest single season averages in Division I history, but also the highest career total. Remarkably, he scored 3,667 points (over 400 more than the next closest player) in a mere 83 games. His record is generally considered unbreakable; the only player who could have potentially overtaken him as the top scorer in Division I history is Stephen Curry of Davidson, who had scored 2,635 points through his first three seasons of college basketball. However, Curry opted to forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility and moved on to the National Basketball Association (NBA) following his junior season in 2008–09.

Five players on this list are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Pete Maravich,[5] Oscar Robertson,[6] Elvin Hayes,[7] Larry Bird[8] and David Robinson.[9]

Key[edit]

Career scoring leaders[edit]

A picture of a darker black man wearing a suit while standing behind a podium. The photograph is in black and white.
Elvin Hayes finished with 2,884 points.
J. J. Redick is also second all-time in three-point field goals made (457).
Player Pos. Team Career
start
Career
end
Games
played
Field goals
made
3-point
field
goals
made
Free
throws
made
Points Ref.
Maravich, PetePete Maravich* G LSU 1967 1970 83 1,387
893 3,667 [10]
Williams, FreemanFreeman Williams F/G Portland State 1974 1978 106 1,369
511 3,249 [11]
Simmons, LionelLionel Simmons F La Salle 1986 1990 131 1,244 56 673 3,217 [12]
Ford, AlphonsoAlphonso Ford G Mississippi Valley State 1989 1993 109 1,121 333 590 3,165 [13]
McDermott, DougDoug McDermott F Creighton 2010 2014 145 1,141 274 594 3,150 [14]
Kelly, HarryHarry Kelly F Texas Southern 1979 1983 110 1,234
598 3,066 [15]
Clark, KeydrenKeydren Clark G Saint Peter's 2002 2006 118 967 435 689 3,058 [16]
Hawkins, HerseyHersey Hawkins G Bradley 1984 1988 125 1,100 118 690 3,008 [17]
Robertson, OscarOscar Robertson* G Cincinnati 1957 1960 88 1,052
869 2,973 [18]
Manning, DannyDanny Manning F Kansas 1984 1988 147 1,216 10 509 2,951 [19]
Hughes, AlfredrickAlfredrick Hughes G Loyola (IL) 1981 1985 120 1,226
462 2,914 [20]
Hayes, ElvinElvin Hayes* C/F Houston 1965 1968 93 1,215
454 2,884 [21]
Hansbrough, TylerTyler Hansbrough F North Carolina 2005 2009 142 939 12 982 2,872 [22]
Bird, LarryLarry Bird* F Indiana State 1976 1979 94 1,154
542 2,850 [23]
Birdsong, OtisOtis Birdsong G Houston (2) 1973 1977 116 1,176
480 2,832 [24]
Bradshaw, KevinKevin Bradshaw G Bethune-Cookman /
U.S. International
1987 1991 111 1,027 132 618 2,804 [3]
Houston, AllanAllan Houston G/F Tennessee 1989 1993 128 902 346 651 2,801 [25]
Redick, J. J.J. J. Redick G Duke 2002 2006 139 825 457 662 2,769 [26]
Gathers, HankHank Gathers F/C Southern California /
Loyola Marymount
1986 1990 117 1,127 0 469 2,723 [27]
Lewis, ReggieReggie Lewis F Northeastern 1983 1987 122 1,043 30 592 2,709 [28]
Queenan, DarenDaren Queenan G/F Lehigh 1984 1988 118 1,024 29 626 2,703 [29]
Larkin, ByronByron Larkin G Xavier 1984 1988 121 1,022 51 601 2,696 [30]
McCalebb, BoBo McCalebb G New Orleans 2003 2008 128 977 115 610 2,679 [31]
Robinson, DavidDavid Robinson* C Navy 1983 1987 127 1,032 1 604 2,669 [32]
Tisdale, WaymanWayman Tisdale F/C Oklahoma 1981 1985 104 1,077
507 2,661 [33]

All-time conference scoring leaders[edit]

The following list contains current and defunct Division I conferences' all-time scoring leaders. The "conference founding" column indicates when each respective conference first began intercollegiate athletic competition, not necessarily when they began basketball. For example, the Great West Conference was established as a football-only conference in 2004 but became an all-sports conference in 2008 (with basketball actually beginning in 2009–10).[34] Also note that some of the schools on this list are no longer in the conference in which they are identified. Utah, for instance, is currently a member of the Pacific-12 Conference, but when Keith Van Horn set the scoring record they were still a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Similarly, BYU is currently in the West Coast Conference, but their final four seasons in the Mountain West Conference were the years in which Jimmer Fredette played at the school and set that conference's scoring record.

Tyler Hansbrough amassed an ACC-record 2,872 points at North Carolina.
Bill Bradley, the Ivy League's all-time leading scorer, is also in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Conference Conference
founding
Conference
disbanding
Player School Career
start
Career
end
Points Ref.
America East 1979 Lewis, ReggieReggie Lewis Northeastern 1983 1987 2,709 [35]
American South 1987 1991 Brooks, KevinKevin Brooks Southwestern Louisiana 1987 1991 2,294
Atlantic 10 1976 Macon, MarkMark Macon Temple 1987 1991 2,609 [36]
ACC 1953 Hansbrough, TylerTyler Hansbrough North Carolina 2005 2009 2,872 [37]
Atlantic Sun 1978 Jackson, WillieWillie Jackson Centenary 1980 1984 2,535 [38]
Big 12 1996 Dunn, LaceDariusLaceDarius Dunn Baylor 2007 2011 2,285 [39]
Big East 1979[a] Bell, TroyTroy Bell Boston College 1999 2003 2,632 [40]
Big Eight 1907 1996 Manning, DannyDanny Manning Kansas 1984 1988 2,951 [41]
Big Sky 1963 Lightfoot, OrlandoOrlando Lightfoot Idaho 1991 1994 2,201 [42]
Big South 1983 Williams, ReggieReggie Williams VMI 2004 2008 2,556 [43]
Big Ten 1896 Cheaney, CalbertCalbert Cheaney Indiana 1990 1993 2,613 [44]
Big West 1969 Harris, LuciousLucious Harris Long Beach State 1989 1993 2,312 [45]
CAA 1982 Robinson, DavidDavid Robinson* Navy 1983 1987 2,669 [46]
C-USA 1995 Jackson, StefonStefon Jackson UTEP 2005 2009 2,456 [47]
East Coast 1958 1994 Queenan, DarenDaren Queenan Lehigh 1984 1988 2,703
Great Midwest 1990 1995 Claggett, ErwinErwin Claggett Saint Louis 1991 1995 1,910 [48]
Great West 2004 2013 Flores, ChrisChris Flores NJIT 2009 2013 1,726
Horizon 1979 Hughes, AlfredrickAlfredrick Hughes Loyola (IL) 1981 1985 2,914 [49]
Ivy 1901 Bradley, BillBill Bradley* Princeton 1962 1965 2,503 [50]
MAAC 1980 Simmons, LionelLionel Simmons La Salle 1986 1990 3,217 [51]
Metro 1975 1995 Coles, BimboBimbo Coles Virginia Tech 1986 1990 2,484 [52]
MAC 1946 Wells, BonziBonzi Wells Ball State 1994 1998 2,485 [53]
MEAC 1970 Davis, TomTom Davis Delaware State 1987 1991 2,275 [54]
Missouri Valley 1907 Hawkins, HerseyHersey Hawkins Bradley 1984 1988 3,008 [55]
Mountain West 1999 Fredette, JimmerJimmer Fredette BYU 2007 2011 2,599 [56]
NEC 1981 Bailey, TerranceTerrance Bailey Wagner 1983 1987 2,591 [57]
OVC 1948 Domercant, HenryHenry Domercant Eastern Illinois 1999 2003 2,602 [58]
Pac-12 1959 MacLean, DonDon MacLean UCLA 1988 1992 2,608 [59]
Patriot 1986 McCollum, C. J.C. J. McCollum Lehigh 2009 2013 2,361 [60]
SEC 1933 Maravich, PetePete Maravich* LSU 1967 1970 3,667 [61]
Southern 1921 Curry, StephenStephen Curry Davidson 2006 2009 2,635 [62]
Southland 1963 Dumars, JoeJoe Dumars*[b] McNeese State 1981 1985 2,607 [63]
Summit 1982 Green, CalebCaleb Green Oral Roberts 2003 2007 2,504 [64]
Sun Belt 1976 McCalebb, BoBo McCalebb New Orleans 2003 2008 2,679 [65]
Southwest 1914 1996 Rencher, TerrenceTerrence Rencher Texas 1991 1995 2,306 [66]
SWAC 1920 Ford, AlphonsoAlphonso Ford Mississippi Valley State 1989 1993 3,165
West Coast 1952 Gathers, HankHank Gathers Loyola Marymount 1987 1990 2,490[c] [67]
WAC 1962 Van Horn, KeithKeith Van Horn Utah 1993 1997 2,542 [68]

Footnotes[edit]

  • a The original Big East Conference split along football lines in July 2013. The seven schools that did not sponsor Division I FBS football reorganized as a new Big East Conference under a new charter, while the FBS football schools that had not left for other conferences, plus several new members, retained the original league charter and began operating as the American Athletic Conference. However, both conferences claim 1979 as their founding date, and jointly claim the pre-split history of the original conference.[69][70] If the histories of the existing offshoot conferences are considered to have begun in 2013, the current scoring leaders are:
  • b The Southland Conference recognizes Dwight "Bo" Lamar, who played at Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana–Lafayette) between 1968 and 1972, as their all-time conference scoring leader, using the criterion of points scored against conference opponents only.[71] He scored 1,054 points in conference games.[71] Additionally, Southwestern Louisiana did not join the Southland Conference until 1971, so all of Lamar's points prior to then do not count toward Southland Conference scoring. Joe Dumars, who is technically second on the list with 819 points, actually scored more career points than Lamar since McNeese State was a member of the Southland Conference for the duration of Dumars' career. The above conference scoring leaders list uses overall career totals, not conference-career totals, as its criterion.
  • c Hank Gathers' scoring total in this table includes only games played for WCC member Loyola Marymount; he played his freshman season of 1985–86 at USC in what was then known as the Pacific-10 Conference. He transferred from USC after that season; after sitting out the 1986–87 season due to NCAA transfer rules, he played at Loyola Marymount until his death during his senior season in 1990.

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