UPI College Basketball Player of the Year

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UPI College Basketball Player of the Year
Given forthe most outstanding NCAA Division I men's basketball player
CountryUnited States
Presented byUnited Press International
First award1955
Final award1996

The UPI College Basketball Player of the Year was an annual basketball award given to the best men's basketball player in NCAA Division I competition. The award was first given following the 1954–55 season and was discontinued following the 1995–96 season. It was given by United Press International (UPI), a news agency in the United States that rivaled the Associated Press but began to decline with the advent of television news.

Five players—Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas, Lew Alcindor[a], Bill Walton and Ralph Sampson—won the award multiple times. Of these five, only Robertson, Walton and Sampson were three-time UPI Players of the Year.

UCLA had the most all-time winners with six. Ohio State was second with four winners, while Cincinnati and Virginia were tied for third with three winners apiece. Five other schools had two winners and sixteen schools had only one UPI Player of the Year.

Eight of the winners were sophomores, seven were juniors, and the remaining 27 were seniors. No freshman was ever presented the award.


Player (X) Denotes the number of times the player has been awarded the Player of the Year award at that point


Bill Russell won the award in 1956.
Bill Bradley (42) won the award in 1965.
Bill Walton won the award three times from 1972–74.
Michael Jordan won the award in 1984.
David Robinson won the award in 1987.
Ray Allen was the final recipient of the award, winning it in 1996.
Season Player School Position Class
1954–55 Tom Gola La Salle Forward Senior
1955–56 Bill Russell San Francisco Center Senior
1956–57 Chet Forte Columbia Point guard Senior
1957–58 Oscar Robertson Cincinnati Point guard Sophomore
1958–59 Oscar Robertson (2) Cincinnati Point guard Junior
1959–60 Oscar Robertson (3) Cincinnati Point guard Senior
1960–61 Jerry Lucas Ohio State Forward / Center Junior
1961–62 Jerry Lucas (2) Ohio State Forward / Center Senior
1962–63 Art Heyman Duke Guard / Forward Senior
1963–64 Gary Bradds Ohio State Forward Senior
1964–65 Bill Bradley Princeton Small forward / Shooting guard Senior
1965–66 Cazzie Russell Michigan Shooting guard Senior
1966–67 Lew Alcindor[a] UCLA Center Sophomore
1967–68 Elvin Hayes Houston Forward / Center Senior
1968–69 Lew Alcindor[a] (2) UCLA Center Senior
1969–70 Pete Maravich LSU Guard Senior
1970–71 Austin Carr Notre Dame Guard Senior
1971–72 Bill Walton UCLA Center Sophomore
1972–73 Bill Walton (2) UCLA Center Junior
1973–74 Bill Walton (3) UCLA Center Senior
1974–75 David Thompson NC State Shooting guard / Small forward Senior
1975–76 Scott May Indiana Forward Senior
1976–77 Marques Johnson UCLA Guard / Forward Senior
1977–78 Butch Lee Marquette Point guard Senior
1978–79 Larry Bird Indiana State Small forward Senior
1979–80 Mark Aguirre DePaul Small forward Sophomore
1980–81 Ralph Sampson Virginia Center Sophomore
1981–82 Ralph Sampson (2) Virginia Center Junior
1982–83 Ralph Sampson (3) Virginia Center Senior
1983–84 Michael Jordan North Carolina Shooting guard Junior
1984–85 Chris Mullin St. John's Small forward / Shooting guard Senior
1985–86 Walter Berry St. John's Power forward Senior
1986–87 David Robinson Navy Center Senior
1987–88 Hersey Hawkins Bradley Shooting guard Senior
1988–89 Danny Ferry Duke Power forward / Center Senior
1989–90 Lionel Simmons La Salle Small forward Senior
1990–91 Shaquille O'Neal LSU Center Sophomore
1991–92 Jim Jackson Ohio State Shooting guard Junior
1992–93 Calbert Cheaney Indiana Small forward Senior
1993–94 Glenn Robinson Purdue Small forward / Power forward Sophomore
1994–95 Joe Smith Maryland Center Sophomore
1995–96 Ray Allen Connecticut Shooting guard Junior

Winners by school[edit]

School Winners Years
UCLA 6 1967, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977
Ohio State 4 1961, 1962, 1964, 1992
Cincinnati 3 1958, 1959, 1960
Virginia 3 1981, 1982, 1983
Duke 2 1963, 1989
Indiana 2 1976, 1993
La Salle 2 1955, 1990
LSU 2 1970, 1991
St. John's 2 1985, 1986
Bradley 1 1988
Columbia 1 1957
Connecticut 1 1996
DePaul 1 1980
Houston 1 1968
Indiana State 1 1979
Marquette 1 1978
Maryland 1 1995
Michigan 1 1966
Navy 1 1987
NC State 1 1975
North Carolina 1 1984
Notre Dame 1 1971
Princeton 1 1965
Purdue 1 1994
San Francisco 1 1956


  • a Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971 after converting to Islam.[1][2]


  1. "United Press International Player of the Year". AmericasBestOnline.com. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  2. "Men's College Basketball: Player of the Year Awards → United Press International". HickokSports.com. 2006. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  1. ^ Associated Press (4 June 1971). "Call Me 'Kareem' says Lew Alcindor" (Google News Archive). The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  2. ^ "'Big O' Completes Bucks' Championship Run". NBA Encyclopedia Playoff Edition. National Basketball Association. 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.