Best 5 NBA Players from South Carolina 2024: You Must Know

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Regarding NBA players, South Carolina has produced some remarkable talents over the years. As a basketball enthusiast, you might be interested in learning about these gifted athletes who hail from Palmetto State. From legendary figures to recent stars, the list of NBA players from South Carolina is imposing.

Prominent NBA Players from South Carolina

Alex English

Alex English, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, enjoyed a stellar NBA career, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. English was a prolific scorer, leading the league in points during the 1982-1983 season and becoming the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points in eight consecutive seasons. He was an eight-time NBA All-Star inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.

Ja Morant

Ja Morant hails from Sumter, South Carolina, and has quickly established himself as one of the NBA’s up-and-coming stars. Morant, a point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, was selected as the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. In just his second season, he led the Grizzlies to the playoffs and has shown tremendous potential for future greatness.

I love negative energy. It motivates me. It really doesn’t bother me because my dad was my first hater, so if I can take it from him, I can take it from anybody.

Ja Morant

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett, born in Greenville, South Carolina, is one of the most iconic NBA players of all time. Garnett played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, and Brooklyn Nets throughout his impressive career. KG, as he was known, was a 15-time NBA All-Star and earned NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors in 2004. He also won an NBA Championship in 2008 with the Boston Celtics and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.

Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton, another South Carolina native, has contributed to the Milwaukee Bucks’ success. The versatile forward, born in Charleston, has been a key player for the Bucks and has been selected twice as an NBA All-Star. In 2021, he played a crucial role in helping the Bucks capture their first NBA Championship in 50 years.

Larry Nance

Last but not least, Larry Nance, who hails from Anderson, South Carolina, was a force to be reckoned with during his NBA career. Nance played for the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers and was known for his high-flying dunks and tenacious defense. He was a three-time NBA All-Star and was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 1989. Nance’s legacy continues with his son, Larry Nance Jr., who has also made a name for himself in the NBA.

The NBA Draft Journey

As a basketball fan, you’ll appreciate the journey of NBA players from South Carolina. These talented athletes have been through the competitive process of the NBA Draft, securing their spots in various teams. In this section, we’ll briefly discuss their draft experiences and achievements.

The NBA Draft is an annual event where teams select new talent, and South Carolina has produced some notable players. They have showcased their skills in college basketball and turned heads during the draft process. With hard work and dedication, these athletes have created exciting moments for their families, friends, and fans.

Early Draft Successes

South Carolina has a rich history of NBA talent, with several players drafted earlier. For example, Willie Anderson, born in Greenville, South Carolina, was picked 10th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 1988. Similarly, Jim Barnett from Greenville was the 8th overall pick by the Boston Celtics in 1966. These early successes paved the way for future South Carolina players to shine.

Recent Standouts

In more recent times, South Carolina has continued to produce top NBA talent. Gregory “GG” Jackson II, a leading scorer from the University of South Carolina, declared for the NBA Draft after only one season in college. Known for his size and athleticism, Jackson has been one of the most exciting players to watch in recent drafts.

Career Highlights

Many NBA players from South Carolina have left their mark on the basketball world. Their careers are filled with impressive achievements, proving themselves as top talents in the league. In this section, we’ll showcase some of the career highlights from notable South Carolina-born NBA players.

Alex English, born in Columbia, South Carolina, is an undisputed legend in basketball. A Hall of Famer and an eight-time NBA All-Star, he spent most of his stellar career with the Denver Nuggets. Known for his scoring prowess, English became the first player ever to score more than 2,000 points in eight consecutive seasons and retired as the seventh-highest all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

Renaldo Balkman, another standout player from South Carolina, made a name for himself during his time with the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets. Although not a Hall of Famer, his defensive skills and energy on the court made him a valuable contributor to his teams.

Meanwhile, BJ McKie, a former star of the University of South Carolina’s basketball team, went on to have a professional career that included playing for various international leagues. He earned numerous accolades and represented Team USA during his time as a pro.

You can’t talk about South Carolina-born NBA players without mentioning Mike Dunleavy, Sr. Although initially known for his college career at South Carolina, Dunleavy had a successful NBA career as a player, coach, and executive. As a player, he spent time with various teams, including the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets, consistently proving himself as a valuable contributor on the court.

Statistics and Accomplishments

nba players from south carolina

One such player is Jermaine O’Neal, who went straight to the NBA after graduating from Columbia’s Eau Claire High School. During his senior year, he averaged 22.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5.2 blocks per game. Throughout his NBA career, O’Neal was a 6-time All-Star player and a prominent figure in team stats.

South Carolina has also produced other talented players that made it to the NBA, bringing their skillsets and contributing to their team’s success. For instance, their collective performance in areas such as shooting, scoring, and rebounding has earned them recognition in the league.

To better understand the accomplishments of NBA players from South Carolina, here’s a glimpse at their collective stats:

  • Points per game: These athletes have consistently demonstrated their scoring abilities in crucial moments, leading to remarkable points per game averages.
  • Rebounds per game: South Carolina-born NBA players have shown proficiency in rebounding, securing important possessions for their respective teams.
  • Shooting percentage: These players have displayed exemplary shooting skills, converting field goal attempts at a high percentage rate.

High School to Professional Transition

South Carolina has a rich history of producing talented basketball players who made their mark in the NBA. As you dive into the world of NBA players from South Carolina, you’ll find that many of them successfully transitioned from high school to professional basketball, making a name for themselves on various NBA teams.

From their high school days in South Carolina, these players attracted the attention of college recruiters and NBA scouts. They sometimes even bypassed college and entered the NBA Draft directly from high school. An intriguing example of this process is Jermaine O’Neal, who followed the footsteps of fellow South Carolina native and McDonald’s All-American Kevin Garnett, even getting drafted 17th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.

When it comes to college basketball, South Carolina has provided many players to in-state and out-of-state schools, such as College of Charleston, Furman, South Carolina State University, Wofford, Boise State, and more. Standout players like Alex English, who graduated as the all-time leading scorer at the University of South Carolina, paved the way for future generations.

Current Active Players from South Carolina

One standout player from South Carolina is Chris Silva. Born in Libreville, Gabon, Silva moved to South Carolina as a teenager and played college basketball for the University of South Carolina. Silva went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, but signed with the Miami Heat as a two-way player. As a rookie, he played in 44 games for the Heat, making significant contributions as a rebounder and shot blocker.

Another exciting talent from South Carolina is Devontae Shuler. Shuler, originally from Irmo, South Carolina, went on to play college basketball at the University of Mississippi. After going undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft, he signed a two-way contract with the New York Knicks, providing the team with solid defense and playmaking abilities.

Though there may not be many NBA players hailing from South Carolina at the moment, the state’s rich basketball tradition ensures that we’ll continue to see more talented players emerge in the future. Keep an eye on your favorite teams and watch for more rising stars from South Carolina making their mark in the NBA.

Players Contribution to Teams

One noteworthy player is Jim Fox, who played for seven different teams throughout his 10-year NBA career. Averaging 9.3 points and 7.4 rebounds, Fox was originally selected with the 70th overall pick in the 1965 draft following a two-year stint with the Gamecocks. During his senior season in Columbia, he had an impressive performance, averaging 17.8 points and 13.6 rebounds per game.

Aside from Fox, several other former South Carolina players have made their mark in the NBA. These athletes have not only displayed their skillset on the court but have also helped elevate the performance of their respective teams. With some players still active in the league, their impact on the NBA remains a relevant part of South Carolina’s contribution to professional basketball.

As you continue to follow the careers of these talented athletes, it’s essential to remember the hard work and determination they put into each game. From scoring crucial points to defending against opponents, these NBA players from South Carolina consistently showcase their abilities and make both their teams and fans proud. So, next time you watch an NBA game featuring any of these players, take a moment to appreciate their journey from South Carolina to the world of professional basketball.

Crossover to International Basketball

South Carolina has been home to many talented basketball players who’ve had successful careers in the NBA. These athletes have inspired the younger generations and helped nurture the state’s thriving basketball culture. Their skills and dedication have earned them opportunities to play in international leagues and for international teams, further expanding their basketball horizons.

In recent years, the NBA has seen a surge of international players and teams making waves in the league. This global expansion has led to exciting clashes between talented athletes from all corners of the globe, with NBA players from South Carolina among those rising to the challenge facing international opponents.

Many South Carolinian athletes have participated in multinational tournaments and events, such as the FIBA World Cup and the Olympic Games. These experiences have helped them grow as players, while representing their home state and country on the global stage.

South Carolina’s NBA Legacy

The Palmetto State is home to several NBA players who’ve had successful careers, both past and present. For instance, Kevin Garnett, born in Greenville, is a 15-time NBA All-Star who played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, and Brooklyn Nets. Garnett was instrumental in helping the Celtics hoist the championship trophy back in 2008.

Another notable name from South Carolina is Jermaine O’Neal, a six-time NBA All-Star. O’Neal played for various teams, including the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat, during his impressive 18-year career. Both Garnett and O’Neal are just two examples of outstanding NBA players who called South Carolina home.

You’ll find even more South Carolina natives making their mark in the NBA. A prime example is Phenix Suns’ shooting guard, Devin Booker, who’s quickly become one of the league’s brightest stars. Hailing from Grandville, Booker has already made multiple NBA All-Star appearances at a young age.

There are also others, like Jarrell Brantley of the Utah Jazz, who are still finding their footing in the league. As these players forge their paths, the NBA can anticipate even more talent to emerge from South Carolina in the coming years.

Future Prospects

If you’re an NBA fan and have a keen interest in identifying the next wave of talented players, especially those hailing from South Carolina, you’re in for a treat. This section will discuss up-and-coming NBA players from South Carolina, who are making a name for themselves and are likely to be part of the forthcoming drafts.

One notable prospect is GG Jackson from South Carolina men’s basketball team. This 17-year-old star was already projected as a first-round draft pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Jackson’s skill set and rapid development make him a player to watch as he adjusts to college play.

Another rising prospect from South Carolina is Brandon Crawford of Irmo/Upward Stars. The 6’9″ tall player is finally having his breakout campaign, and after a few late offers, he has decided to join Link Year Prep next season. His recruitment is expected to take off, making him another must-watch player.

South Carolina has a history of producing top-tier NBA Draft picks, as can be seen in this list compiled by Stacker. This tradition of excellence continues with the current crop of young talents, like Jackson and Crawford, who are on the path to fulfilling their dreams of going pro.

My Personal Opinion

In my opinion, the presence of NBA players from South Carolina underscores the state’s profound impact on the basketball world. It’s fascinating to witness how a region known for its rich history is also a cradle of exceptional athletic talent that has left an indelible mark on the NBA.

Seeing players like Kevin Garnett emerge from South Carolina is a testament to the state’s basketball heritage. Garnett’s incredible skills, versatility, and passion for the game were unparalleled. He represented his team and carried the pride of his roots, showcasing the grit and determination that South Carolina is known for.


Which US state has the most NBA players?

More California-born players are in the NBA than any other state by a wide margin. 52 players currently on NBA rosters were born there.

What city has most NBA players? analyzed hometown data for all 30 NBA teams to see which cities and regions produce more players than others. Chicago – home to the likes of Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Jabari Parker – came out on top with 129 players, followed by L.A. and Philadelphia in a tie for second.

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Fabian Kühar
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