Syracuse and NBA legend Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement from basketball Monday after a 19-year NBA career. The former No. 3 overall pick from the 2003 NBA Draft shined during his one season with the Orange program and helped lead the school to the 2003 national championship.
“I remember the days when I had nothing, just a ball on the court and a dream of something more,” Anthony said in a video announcing his retirement. “But basketball was my outlet, my purpose was strong, my communities, the cities I represented with pride, and the fans that supported me along the way. I am forever grateful for those people and places, because they made me Carmelo Anthony.
“But now the time has come for me to say goodbye — to the court where I made my name, to the game that gave me purpose and pride. But this bittersweet goodbye to the NBA, I am excited about what the future holds for me. When people ask what I believe my legacy is, it’s not my feats on the court that come to mind, nor the awards or praise, because my story has always been more than basketball.”
Anthony was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player after his performances in a win over Texas in the Final Four and Kansas in the NCAA Tournament game. Anthony scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the win over the Longhorns and then added 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists against Kansas to give the Orange their first national championship.
During the 2002-03 season with the Orange, Anthony averaged 22.2 points and 10 rebounds per game. His 10 rebounds as a 6-foot-8 forward led the nation. He was named national freshman of the year by various media outlets his only season of college basketball.
Here are the top one-and-done seasons for college players before they left for the NBA, which officially adopted the one-and-done rule in 2005 requiring prospects to play one year of college to be eligible (or be at least 19 years old) for the draft.
1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky
2011-12 stats: 14.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 4.7 BPG, 1.3 APG
Davis left Kentucky as arguably the greatest shot blocker in college basketball history. In his lone season with the Wildcats, Davis blocked 186 total shots as an 18-year-old and helped lead Kentucky to a national championship. During Kentucky’s run to the Final Four, Davis blocked 29 shots in six games. He went on to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and is remembered as one of the greatest players in Kentucky history.
2. Zion Williamson, Duke
2018-19 stats: 22.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 1.8 BPG
One of the most electric and hyped up college basketball players of the 21st Century, Williamson was known for his high flying dunks and powerful blocks during his only season at Duke. There was some talk about Williamson missing the end of the season after his shoe blew-out after planting in a game at home against North Carolina. Despite the knee injury, Williamson came back and guided Duke to the Elite Eight where they fell just short of reaching the Final Four.
3. Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse
2002-03 stats: 22.2 PPG, 10 RPG, 2.2 APG
Anthony’s legacy in college basketball will be remembered as the player who helped Syracuse and longtime coach Jim Boeheim win his first national championship at the school. Anthony was one of the best scores in college basketball as a freshman and had a near triple-double in the championship game against Kansas. His college career can sometimes be overlooked because of the success he had at the NBA and Olympic level, but he is still considered a college basketball all-time great.
2007-08 stats: 26.2 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 1.2 APG
Beasley changed college basketball with his unique skillset of size and power. He led the nation in rebounding and was third in scoring while shooting 54% from the floor and 40% from 3-point range. Beasley finished the season with 28 double-doubles in 33 games and scored over 30 points in nearly half of them.
5. Kevin Durant, Texas
2006-07 stats: 25.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 1.9 BPG, 1.3 APG
Before he became one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, Durant had a very successful season with the Longhorns. He won the Naismith Award and became the first freshman to win the National Association of Basketball Coaches Player of the Year award. Texas, as a No. 4 seed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament fell to USC in the Round of 32 to end his college career.
6. Jahlil Okafor, Duke
2014-15 stats: 17.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.4 BPG
Okafor’s NBA career didn’t amount to the hype he received during his time at Duke, but while he was there he looked like the next big thing. Okafor headlined Duke’s star recruiting class that season and he helped the Blue Devils win Mike Krzyzewski’s last national championship at the school. Okafor’s pure strength in college seemed as if it would translate directly to the NBA. He routinely overpowered bigger and stronger defenders and would’ve been the perfect back-to-the-basket center in the non-modern NBA.
7. Derrick Rose, Memphis
2007-08 stats: 14.9 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG
With Rose running the point, the Tigers started the season 26-0 and they made it all the way to the national championship game before falling to Kansas. Memphis led by three with seconds remaining before Mario Chalmers buried a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime where the Tigers eventually fell, ending their season at 38-2. According to the NCAA, this season was officially vacated because of rules violations including an SAT controversy with Rose.
2006-07 stats: 15.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 3.5 BPG
Oden helped lead Ohio State to its first NCAA Tournament title game appearance since 1962, but fell short to defending champion Florida. Oden is one of the best shot blockers in Big Ten history and became the first freshman to win the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award. Oden’s NBA career was plagued by injuries but his one season with the Buckeyes will be remembered because of the potential he showed.
9. Trae Young, Oklahoma
2017-18 stats: 27.4 PPG, 8.7 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.7 SPG
Young is one of the most exciting players in college basketball history despite the lack of success his Oklahoma team had. He became the first and only player in NCAA history to lead the nation in points and assists. His flashy passes and unlimited range provided college basketball fans with must-watch TV.
10. Lonzo Ball, UCLA
2016-17 stats: 14.6 PPG, 7.6 APG, 5.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG
Ball changed the landscape of college basketball and was a true social media star. After a successful high school career at Chino Hills in Southern California, Ball elected to stay close to home and attend UCLA where he lead the team to a Sweet 16 appearance. Like Young, his flashy passes and deep range captivated college basketball fans across the country.