The Purdue basketball program has made just two trips to the Final Four and played for one national championship but still does not have an NCAA title to boast about. That said, the Boilermakers program has produced some of the greatest players the college game has ever seen.
Here is our list of the top 25 players in the history of Purdue basketball. Listed in chronological order. Statistics and records are current upon the start of the 2022-23 season.
1 of 25
Charles “Stretch” Murphy, Forward (1927-’30)
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
One of Purdue’s first stars in the early days under legendary coach Ward Lambert. Murphy posted a Big Ten-record 143 points and averaged 11.9 in 1929. He then averaged 11.4 points as a senior in 1930 while helping the Boilermakers to an undefeated Big Ten season. Murphy was named an All-American three times while at Purdue, including a consensus choice for his junior and senior campaigns. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
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John Wooden, Guard (1929-’32)
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Before Wooden established himself as a legendary coach known as the “Wizard of Westwood,” with those 10 national championships at UCLA, he was a quality college player for at Purdue. Born in tiny Hall, Indiana, Wooden played high school ball at Martinsville, where he was a three-time all-State selection. At Purdue, the guard was a star in the pre-NCAA days. He earned All-Big Ten, All-Midwestern, and first-team All-American honors as a Boilermaker. He was the school’s first consensus national player of the year and joined “Stretch” Murphy as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. A statue of Wooden, the player, is located on the Purdue campus.
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Terry Dischinger, Forward (1960-’62)
A Parade All-American in 1958 as a high schooler, Dischinger continued his basketball dominance on the college level at Purdue. He averaged 28.3 points in three seasons (third-best in school history) for the Boilermakers, including 30.3 in his final 1961-62 campaign. For his Purdue career. Dischinger ranks third with 2,074 points. He also sits second in the annals of Purdue basketball with 958 rebounds, and his 13.7 career rebounding average is the best among all Boilermakers. Dischinger, a two-time consensus first-team All-American, went on to win a basketball gold medal for the United States at the 1960 Olympics.
4 of 25
Dave Schellhase, Guard (1964-’66)
Evansville Courier & Press
Shortly after the aforementioned Terry Dischinger left Purdue, Schellhase stepped into a starring role at Purdue. In his three seasons with the Boilermakers, Schellhase averaged 28.8 points for his career — second-best in school history. He averaged 32.5 as a senior (third-best at Purdue). Schellhase’s 57 points against Michigan in February 1966 is the second-highest scoring game by any Boilermaker. A first- and second-team All-American, Schellhase was the first Purdue player to register 2,000 career points and finished with 2,074, which ranks fourth.
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Herm Gilliam, Guard-Forward (1967-’69)
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We begin a stretch of stars that helped the Boilermakers reach the Final Four and national championship game for the first time during the 1968-69 season. Gilliam was a co-captain as both a junior and senior and twice named team MVP while at Purdue. He totaled 1,118 points for an average of 16.0 per game during his collegiate career. Perhaps most notable from a statistical standpoint, Gilliam ranks eighth in school history with an impressive 9.1 average rebounds per game while pulling down 636 all-time boards.
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Billy Keller, Guard (1967-’69)
A key cog to the Boilermakers’ success in 1968-69. Known as “Mr. Hustle,” Keller totaled 1,056 points and averaged 14.0 for his career at Purdue. As a senior, Keller was honored with the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, then given to the country’s best player under six feet tall. Keller’s 85.9 career free-throw percentage ranks third. A member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Keller went on to enjoy a lengthy career with the Indiana Pacers.
7 of 25
Rick Mount, Guard (1968-’70)
The pride of Lebanon, Ind., Mount was essentially a star before he first stepped foot on the court as a Boilermaker. Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 1966, Mount holds the distinction of being the first high school player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Known as “The Rocket,” Mount helped the Boilermakers reach the Final Four and national title game in 1969 and scored a school-record 61 points against Iowa as a senior. A two-time first-team All-American, Mount is Purdue’s career leader for points (2,323), scoring average (32.3), and made field goals (910).
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Bruce Parkinson, Guard (1973-’77)
Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
Purdue’s all-time leading assist man, Parkinson dished out 690 and averaged a school-record 6.2 assists during the parts of five seasons he played for the Boilermakers. Sometimes forgotten amid the more notable greats at Purdue, Parkinson started all 112 games (the school record for consecutive starts). He played for the Boilermakers, averaging 10.9 points and ranking among their all-time leaders with 3,845 minutes played. A member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Parkinson helped Purdue to the 1974 NIT championship.
9 of 25
Walter Jordan, Forward (1975-’78)
Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
Ninth in school history with 1,813 career points, Jordan also ranks among Purdue’s best with a 16.6 average per contest. A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Jordan, who played his high school ball in Fort Wayne, also ranks among the school’s top 10 with 882 career rebounds and averaged 8.1 boards during his time with the Boilermakers. A two-time team MVP, Jordan also sits about Purdue’s all-time leaders in made field goals (746) and consecutive games started (102).
10 of 25
Joe Barry Carroll, Forward (1977-’80)
The aforementioned Rick Mount might have Purdue’s first true superstar, but Carroll could be the school’s first great big man. Carroll is the only Boilermaker to record at least 1,000 rebounds (1,148) He averaged 9.3 for his career and is also their all-time leader with 349 blocks. Oh yeah, Carroll could score the basketball, as well. He sits second on the school’s career list with 2,175 points and averaged 17.7 for his career. Carroll was a two-time All-Big Ten first-teamer and a consensus All-American on the 1979-80 campaign when he helped lead the Boilermakers to their most recent Final Four appearance.
11 of 25
Brian Walker, Guard (1979-’81)
Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
The point guard on the 1980 Final Four squad, Walker made the Boilermakers hum, even though he didn’t draw much attention to himself while in West Lafayette. Walker, who began his college career at North Carolina State, never averaged more than 5.5 points but ranks second all-time at Purdue with 572 assists and third in steals (187). A member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Walker also helped the Boilermakers to two NIT Final Four appearances, was a co-captain, and was honored with the John Wooden Purdue MVP Award in 1981.
12 of 25
Russell Cross, Center (1981-’83)
Lafayette Journal & Courier
The 6-foot-11 Cross averaged 16.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.1 assists for his three seasons at Purdue before skipping his senior year for the NBA Draft. A first-team All-Big Ten selection for the 1982-83 campaign, Cross certainly left a mark in the record books of Boilermakers basketball. Cross, who posted a freshman-record 540 points in 1980-81, ranks among the school’s top-25 scorers with 1,529 points and top 10 with 175 blocks.
13 of 25
Troy Lewis, Guard (1985-’88)
The late 1980s were a good time for Purdue basketball, winning back-to-back Big Ten regular-season championships in 1987 and ’88. Lewis was a big reason for that, garnering first-team All-Big Ten honors each season. He ranks fifth in school history with 2,038 points and is among the program’s leaders in scoring average (16.4). Lewis also ranks among Purdue’s top 10 for career-made field goals (783) and minutes played (3,859). He shot 49.9 percent during his four seasons as a Boilermaker. He knocked down 100-of-216 3-point attempts as a senior in 1987-88, when he also averaged 5.0 assists while earning honorable mention All-American from The Associated Press.
14 of 25
Everette Stephens, Guard (1985-’88)
Another vital member of those back-to-back Big Ten championship teams from ’87 and ’88. After coming off the bench his first two seasons at Purdue, Stephens started 62 of the 63 games he played over the next two campaigns. An all-around contributor and undisputed leader for the Boilermakers, Stephens averaged at least 12 points in each of his last two seasons, plus 6.3 assists as a junior and 5.5 assists with 3.0 rebounds during his 1987-88 senior campaign. A career 49.9-percent shooter from the field and 44.7 from 3-point range, Stephens totaled 1,044 points, is tied for third all-time with 481 assists, and sits seventh for steals (161).
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Steve Scheffler, Forward (1987-’90)
Scheffler is the first Boilermaker to officially be named Big Ten Player of the Year — by the conference. That came during the 1989-90 season when the 6-foot-9 Scheffler averaged career highs of 16.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. Scheffler’s 68.5 field-goal percentage was an NCAA record at the time his Purdue career had finished. That percentage is still the best in Purdue history. He totaled 1,155 points (10.5 ppg) and 538 rebounds (4.9) during his four-year run with the Boilermakers.
16 of 25
Glenn Robinson, Forward (1992-’94)
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Affectionately known as “Big Dog.” A favorite son of Gary, Ind., Robinson made the most of his two seasons at Purdue. As a sophomore in 1993-94, the 6-foot-8 Robinson averaged a national-best 30.3 points (school-record 1,030 points) and 10.1 rebounds to be named both The Associated Press, Naismith and Big Ten Player and Athlete of the Year. He joins John Wooden as the only consensus player of the year honorees at Purdue. Overall for the Boilermakers, Robinson averaged 27.5 points (fourth-best in school history) and 9.7 boards (sixth-best).
17 of 25
Brad Miller, Forward (1995-’98)
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A fan favorite for his hard-nosed play, Miller was the first Boilermaker to record at least 1,500 points, 800 rebounds, and 250 assists for a career. His 1,530 career points are (12.0 ppg) among the top 25 at Purdue, while his 862 rebounds are tied for sixth all-time, and his 257 assists resulted in a 2.0 average. As a senior in 1997-98, Miller, who shot 57.2 percent, averaged career highs of 17.2 points and 8.9 rebounds while helping the Boilermakers reach the Sweet 16. Miller’s 163 blocks and 145 steals also rank among Purdue’s all-time top 10.
18 of 25
Brian Cardinal, Forward (1997-2000)
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Known as “The Janitor,” Cardinal was not afraid to do the dirty work on the basketball court. He also had no problem throwing his body around. It can be argued that nobody has worked harder in the history of Purdue basketball than Cardinal, who helped the program to a berth in Elite Eight in 2000. He ranks 20th on the school’s career scoring list with 1,584 points (12.0 ppg) and 10th with 749 rebounds (5.7 rpg). Cardinal’s 259 career steals are second among all Boilermakers, while he also sits among the school’s top 10 in made free throws (464), starts (125), and minutes played (3,693). For good measure, Cardinal was whistled for a school-record 409 personal fouls.
Sandra Dukes/Icon Sportswire
Kramer averaged just 6.4 points for his four-season career at Purdue. However, there might not be a better defender in the history of the program. Four times a member of the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team, Kramer earned the league’s defensive player of the year award in 2008 and again in 2010. He’s Purdue’s all-time in steals (274) and steals per game (2.1). In addition, Kramer ranks among the school’s top 10 for starts (114) and games played (133). During his time in West Lafayette, Purdue made four NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the Sweet 16.
Khris Hale/Icon Sportswire
Following in the footsteps of aforementioned Boilers Steve Scheffler and Glenn Robinson, Johnson was honored as Big Ten Player of the Year. That came during the 2010-11 season, when Johnson averaged career highs of 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.0 assists while also earning All-American honors. The Boilermakers made four NCAA Tournament appearances and two Sweet 16 stops with help from Johnson, who ranks eighth in program history in both career scoring (1,919 points) and rebounds (854), seventh in made field goals (706), third in blocks (263) and fifth in made free throws (492).
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E’Twaun Moore, Guard (2008-’11)
Staff/Icon Sports Media
One of college basketball’s top players in the 2000s, Moore ranks third in Purdue history with 2,136 points. A two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, and twice an honorable mention All-American from The Associated Press. Moore averaged 15.3 points for his Purdue career, including 18.0 his senior season. In addition, Moore ranks fourth in school history with 780 made field goals and third in 3-point makes (243). He also averaged 4.4 rebounds and nearly 3.0 assists while starting a school-record 136 of the 140 games he played for the Boilermakers. Moore’s 4,517 minutes played are the most within the program.
Khris Hale/Icon Sportswire
If it felt like Hummel was at Purdue forever, it seemed that way. In reality, Hummel persevered through a knee injury that wiped out his initial senior season. But, he returned for a redshirt campaign in 2011-12 and posted career-high averages of 16.4 points, 7.2 boards, and 1.2 blocks. That earned Hummel his third All-Big Ten first-team nod and second honorable mention All-American recognition from The Associated Press. For his Purdue career, Hummel ranks among the top 10 in points (1,772), rebounds (862), made 3-pointers (216), free-throw percentage (84.1), steals (132), minutes played (3,830) and starts (120).
Sandra Dukes/USA TODAY Sports
Another superb Purdue big man who might not have received the overall due he deserved. Sure, the 7-footer had his critics, but Hammons was a three-time All-Big Ten Defensive team pick. He was the league’s defensive player of the year, first-team selection and honorable mention All-American choice by The Associated Press in 2015-16, when he averaged career highs of 15.0 points, on 59.2-percent shooting, 8.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Hammons totaled 1,593 points for his Purdue career, and ranks third with 930 rebounds and second in blocks (343).
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Swanigan’s tragic passing at age 25 in June 2022 likely conjured up memories of just how special a player he was for the Boilermakers. Swanigan’s time at Purdue spanned just two seasons, but he was a member of the Big Ten All-Freshman team, then the league’s player of the year in 2016-17 — his last in West Lafayette. That season, Swanigan averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and recorded 28 double-doubles. His 10.4 career rebound average is the second-best in school history. Swanigan nearly cracked the 1,000-point mark by totaling 994 in 69 career games.
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Carsen Edwards, Guard (2017-’19)
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It was easy to see Edwards’ star quality blossom during his three seasons at Purdue. As a sophomore, Edwards averaged 18.5 points, then 24.3 in 2018-19 — earning first-team All-Big Ten honors both seasons. A consensus second-team All-American in 2019, Edwards sits seventh on Purdue’s all-time scoring (1,920 points) and scoring average (17.8 ppg) lists. He’s the school career leader with 281 made 3-pointers, and averaged 22.4 points and shot 39.6 percent from beyond the arc in 10 NCAA Tournament contests for the Boilers, who reached two Sweet 16s and an Elite Eight during his run. In the 2019 Big Dance, Edwards scored 42 against Villanova in the second round and the same during that thrilling overtime loss to eventual national champion Virginia in the regional final.
Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.