NCAAB
April 22, 2020
BY Joey Pisciotti

The 10 Most Hated Players in College Basketball History, Ranked

As much as we watch college basketball to root for our favorite team — or the teams we picked to win in March — we also watch so we can root against the teams and players we love to hate. Remember, hate and love are two sides of the same coin.

Over the years, there have been plenty of college basketball players who most fans hate with a passion. For some reason, most of these athletes tend to play for Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina or one of the other name-brand NCAA programs.

Every now and then, it’s important to look back and remember the players we despised and why we loathed them. While it’s surely up for debate, here is our list of the most hated college basketball players of all time.

Honorable Mentions:

Aaron Craft, Ohio State

The most surprising thing about Craft is that he didn’t actually go to Duke because he seems like the prototypical Blue Devil point guard. He was aggressive, great defensively and undeniably clutch. All of those traits are great if he’s on your team, but when you’re facing him, it’s impossible not to hate him.

Allen Iverson, Georgetown

Few people outside of Washington D.C. have reason to like Georgetown in general and even fewer people ever had reason to like Iverson. Even before his college career started, people knew Iverson had gone to prison, which made it easy to hate him from the start.

Seeing a little guy play the way he could, trash talk like he was at the park and embrace his villainy only made it easier for college basketball fans everywhere to hate him. Even when he joined the NBA, Iverson did little to change that.

Shane Battier, Duke

Battier played four years at Duke and was an excellent defender. In other words, he was an easy guy to hate if you didn’t cheer for the Blue Devils. The worst part is that the boisterous Cameron Crazies would yell, “Who’s your daddy? Battier!” after he took charges, which was a frequent occurrence. Gross. 

Eric Devendorf, Syracuse

Even for Syracuse fans, liking Devendorf was a challenge. As a freshman, he had this brash arrogance to him that made him easy to despise.

Devendorf was also prone to boneheaded plays, which made some Syracuse fans question how much they really liked him, at times referring to him as “Stupid Eric Devendorf.” But the dude could play, and that just made it easier to detest him.

Adam Morrison, Gonzaga

Let’s be honest, we didn’t hate Morrison, we just hated his weird, somewhat creepy mustache and his stupid haircut. If you take that stuff away, we’d look at him like he was another Jimmer Fredette.

Alas, Morrison looked like a vagabond, which outweighed what a good player and amazing shooter he was, leading Gonzaga to the Elite Eight while averaging 28 points per game in 2006.

10. Bobby Hurley, Duke

Hurley was one of the first Duke players to be almost universally hated by college basketball players, setting the stage for so many who would come after him. He was scrappy and tenacious, which are common and endlessly annoying traits of Duke point guards.

With his slight 6-foot frame, Hurley didn’t look like an All-American, a two-time national champion or a Final Four Most Outstanding Player, but Hurley was all of those things, and that success made it even easier to hate him and the rest of the Blue Devils.

9. Patrick Ewing, Georgetown

Georgetown players are always villains; that’s just the way it is. Ewing, in particular, was easy to dislike in his day because he stepped onto the court as a freshman and was immediately one of the most dominant big men in the country, which was almost unheard of at that time.

Ewing was big, powerful and he fouled hard, which was a common occurrence in the Big East back then. But that didn’t win Ewing too many friends in a conference that was filled with bitter rivalries. Naturally, that led to a lot of animosity being pointed at Ewing and the Hoyas.

8. Steve Wojciechowski, Duke

To give Wojo a compliment, it’s the great defensive players who usually end up being hated the most. They’re pesky, relentless and everybody hates when their team has to face a player like that.

Of course, Wojo took things to another level by being one of those players who likes to slap the floor to hype himself up. Let’s be honest, if you play for Duke and you slap the floor, nobody’s going to like you.

7. J.J. Redick, Duke

Let’s be honest, hating Redick when he was at Duke was all about jealousy. Obviously, it didn’t help that he played for Coach K and the all-mighty Blue Devils. But the truth is that the dude could shoot it, making 40.6% of his perimeter shots during his career, and most fans just wanted a shooter like that playing for their team.

The fact that he was super confident and perhaps a little cocky didn’t help, but if you play for Duke and you can shoot like Redick, you’re going to be despised.

6. Joakim Noah, Florida

Not to sound petty, but Noah wasn’t easy to watch. Let’s just say that his game face did not have an alibi (because it was u-g-l-y). On top of that, his relentless rebounding and non-stop moving was annoying to watch.

If you weren’t a diehard Florida fan, it was frustrating to watch Noah play, which is why so many people grew to hate him without fully realizing why. It also didn’t help that he was constantly on TV in March while leading the Gators to back-to-back national championships.

5. Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss

There was something about Henderson that just rubbed people the wrong way. For starters, he was kind of a chucker, just hoisting up three-pointers with little regard for his teammates.

But he also reeked of immaturity during multiple incidents with fans, including flipping off spectators after Ole Miss lost in the NCAA Tournament. As a fan, you would just love to see him lose because you know how much he hated it. In fairness, as is usually the case with players who act like petulant children, watching Henderson was never boring.

4. Jalen Rose, Michigan

If you can’t stand Rose as a TV personality nowadays, you would have hated him as a player at Michigan. Rose, Chris Webber and the rest of the Wolverines' Fab Five — who went to the Final Four in 1992 and 1993 — were always criticized for the way they looked and played the game.

The truth is that they were just a little ahead of their time and unafraid of being different. Rose, in particular, was brash and outspoken, which drew the ire and disdain of fans.

3. Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina

In retrospect, it’s odd to think that so many people disliked Hansbrough for being such an energetic player. It earned him the scornful nickname Psycho T, but in his defense, he played the game the way you’re supposed to play it.

The other thing is that he was such a good player, averaging 20.2 points during his four years at UNC, but he just didn’t look like someone who would be a great athlete and a dominating player. It was perplexing, and we all grew to hate Hansbrough as a result.

2. Grayson Allen, Duke

Not only did he play at Duke and was annoyingly good, but Allen is also one of the dirtiest players in college basketball history. The worst part is that he wouldn’t even own all of his dirty work; he’d try to be sneaky by tripping people behind the play or hip-checking a player who was trying to run down the court.

It’s one thing to play hard and foul hard, but it’s another thing to stick your leg out and trip people on purpose. There’s something wrong with that, and if you don’t hate Allen for it, there might be something wrong with you.

1. Christian Laettner, Duke

When you have a 30 for 30 documentary made about how much people hate you, it’s a safe bet that you’re going to go down as the most hated player in college basketball history. If you’re a basketball purist, you couldn’t help but love his game because he was crazy talented.

After all, he was the only college player invited to join the original Dream Team. Of course, if you weren’t a Duke fan, that just made you hate him more. If that wasn’t enough, there was the dirty stuff Laettner would pull, especially stepping on Kentucky’s Aminu Timberlake during the 1992 Elite Eight. That was the same game of his epic buzzer-beater, which only made people that much more eager to hate him.

Photo: Getty Images