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How good was Michael Jordan in NCAA basketball? Here's a look at his college stats, career and highlights

Charlotte Hornets owner and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan reacts.
Charlotte Hornets owner and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan reacts.
ANALYST

Michael Jordan's NBA career, with his groundbreaking signature shoe line intertwined with six NBA championships for the Chicago Bulls, cemented his status as an icon.

More than simply hearing that Jordan came from the University of North Carolina when he was introduced by Chicago Bulls announcer Ray Clay, his legend started growing at powerhouse UNC, highlighted by his jumper with 15 seconds remaining to top Georgetown 63-62 for the 1982 NCAA title.

Here's a look back at Jordan's college career.


Michael Jordan's college career, stats and highlights

Jordan averaged 17.7 points, five rebounds and 1.87 steals per game in three seasons at North Carolina. As the old saying goes, the only person who could keep Jordan under 20 points was legendary UNC coach Dean Smith.

As a freshman, Jordan averaged 13.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game and made 53.4% of his field goals.

In the NCAA title game in the Superdome in New Orleans against Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown, Jordan produced the game-winner from the left wing. In that game, Jordan scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and made seven of his 13 shots.

Jordan was named to the NCAA All-American First Team in his sophomore and junior college seasons. As a sophomore, he put up 20 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game while making 53.5% of his field goals.

His 721 points established a UNC record for a sophomore.

UNC's Michael Jordan.
UNC's Michael Jordan.

As a junior, Jordan averaged 19.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, with a 55.1% shooting percentage before declaring for the 1984 NBA draft.

Jordan won the Naismith College Player of the Year and the John R. Wooden Award in 1984. In his three years at UNC, the Tar Heels went 88-13.

His offensive game was always efficient, as he converted 54% of his field goals and 74.8% of his free throws.

At Emsley A. Laney High in Wilmington, N.C., where he famously didn't make the varsity team until he was a junior, Jordan was highly ranked and received McDonald's All-American honors in 1981 after averaging 26.8 ppg as a senior.

As a freshman at UNC, Jordan's highest-scoring game in the NCAA tournament came in the Final Four against Houston, with 18 points. As a sophomore, his highest-scoring game came against Georgia Tech, with 39 points, while his best game in the NCAA tournament that year was a 26-point effort against Georgia.

As a junior, Jordan's top-scoring game in the NCAA tournament was a 27-point effort against Temple.

Here's a brief list of Michael Jordan's awards from college, according to NCAA.com.

1982 ACC Rookie of the Year

1982 national champion

1982 All-Tournament Team

1982 Freshman All-American

1983 First Team All-ACC

1983 East Regional Team

1983 consensus All-American

1983 National Player of the Year (The Sporting News)

1984 First Team All-ACC

1984 ACC Player of the Year

1984 ACC Athlete of the Year

1984 consensus All-American

1984 consensus National Player of the Year

1980s NCAA Tournament All-Decade Team

NCAA Tournament All-Time Team

Named the No. 1 male athlete in ACC history

  • Named a top-15 player in the 75 Years of March Madness Celebration

Of Jordan's evolution as a player from game to game, Smith once talked about how Jordan had lots of potential:

"Michael is a late bloomer. He improves every month. Look at his defense. When he was a freshman, he had a lot of work to do. Last year, he won the defensive award 12 times. He's going to be one of our great defensive players, although I don't think I'll tell him that until he graduates. But you can just watch him get better and better. When he was a freshman, he ran the 40 in 4.8 (seconds). This year, he ran it in 4.3."

Jordan's college career provided a great foundation for and an early look at the player he became.

Michael Jordan congratulates Kennedy Meeks of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Michael Jordan congratulates Kennedy Meeks of the North Carolina Tar Heels.

While totaling six NBA championships, six Finals MVP awards, five NBA MVP awards, a Defensive Player of the Year award, 10 scoring titles, 14 All-Star Game appearances, 11 All-NBA nods and two Olympic Gold medals, the Hall of Famer turned out to be one of the greatest to ever play the game.


Also read: Milwaukee Bucks vs Denver Nuggets Prediction & Match Preview - November 26th, 2021 | NBA Season 2021-22


Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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