Greatest college players of all time

Discussion in 'College Tennis Talk' started by Clemson_tennis, May 28, 2012.

  1. Clemson_tennis

    Clemson_tennis Legend

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    With Johnson's win today he must be put into the GOAT discussion. Who was the greatest college player of all time? This is about strictly their college careers, not life after college. So guys like McEnroe,Blake don't really count.

    who is in the discussion along with Johnson> I have only been closely following college tennis since around 2006. but I have done some research of the past to try and understand.

    Bob Bryan
    Somdev Devvarman
    Matias Boeker

    and...?
     
    #1
  2. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Michael Pernfors
     
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  3. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Bob Bryan...Triple Crown in 98
     
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  4. JLyon

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    Alex O'Brien
    Triple Crown Champion @ Stanford in 1992 and a Team Titles in 1989 and 1990
     
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  5. swanpm20

    swanpm20 New User

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    Could you maybe talk about some of their credentials along with the names please? I know almost nothing about the history of college tennis so have no idea what these guys accomplished in college except Johnson and Devvarman...

    Great thread.
     
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  6. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Pernfors was a juco transfer and I believe he won the 2 singles he entered back to back, not sure how the team (Georgia) fared. Correct me if I am wrong, going from memory here.
     
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  7. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Sargis Sargsian in 2 years compiled the following at ASU - Became the first NCAA Singles Champion in school history in 1995 while earning All-American honors in both of his years in Tempe. He won four collegiate Grand Slam titles, becoming the first Sun Devil to ever win a Grand Slam event, as well as the 1995 NCAA Player of the Year Award. Sargsian also earned the 1995 Pac-10 Player of the Year, was twice named to the All-Pac-10 team, and finished his collegiate career ranked #1 in the nation. The native Armenian finished his Sun Devil career with an 82-17 singles record and a 42-21 doubles mark. Sargsian eanred a bachelor's degree in business in 1995.
     
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  8. Satsuma Illini

    Satsuma Illini Semi-Pro

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    Sargis Sargian
    '95 NCAA Champion
    '94 All-American Champion
    '94 ITA Indoors Champion
    '95 ITA Indoors Champion
    1995 No. 1 Ranking

    What andfor said!
     
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  9. andfor

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    #9
  10. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    John Whitlinger.

    NCAA Champion
    4 yr State Champion
    2X Orange Bowl Winner

    Flat out John was a fantastic player.
     
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  11. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    College only. No junior or pro results.
     
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  12. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I think you have to consider guys like J. McEnroe and Jimmy Connors who came in and win the NCAA Freshman year and do so in dominating fashion. Not saying they were the best ever but deserve to be in the conversation.

    Look at some of the players in the draw.
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...5588514&dq=john+mcenroe+stanford+tennis&hl=en

    McEnroe - 24-0 single and team champion
    http://www.gostanford.com/hof/mtennis.html

    Jimmy Connors - UCLA First freshman ever to win the NCAA D1 singles title.
    http://www.uclabruins.com/genrel/ucla-100-70.html Scroll down to 1971 men's tennis team.
     
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  13. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    #13
  14. Satsuma Illini

    Satsuma Illini Semi-Pro

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    I've seen that before. Very disappointing list for me. LOL. 2003 Illinois; team, singles, and doubles champions, 32-0 record, ITA Indoors title, never lost more than 2 points a dual match until the championship round. Would go on to stretch the winning streak to 64 matches. Nowhere on the list so meh for me.
     
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  15. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Would not say it's perfect by any means. Interesting to see and debate. You are correct that 2003 Illini team deserves mention.
     
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  16. Satsuma Illini

    Satsuma Illini Semi-Pro

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    Very interesting reading though. Good to read up on the great college teams. Thanks for posting it again.
     
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  17. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    Pernfors won NCAA titles in 1984 and 1985, after he transferred from a Forida JUCO, where he had won a national JUCO title. He led Georgia to the team championship his senior year (1985).
     
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  18. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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  19. B1G Tennis

    B1G Tennis New User

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    I don't know a ton about his college career, but I do know Arthur Ashe was a three time All-American who won a team and singles championship in 1965 at UCLA. Only a few months after that, he was the hero of the US' Davis Cup win, beating Rafael Osuna (a candidate for this honor in his own right) in the first match of the final. Ashe's Davis Cup teammate from that year was another candidate for this honor, Dennis Ralston. He won three team titles at USC, won doubles twice, and won the Individual Title twice.

    I think the 1960s was the last time that truly world class players stayed in college for four years, so I think that the guys who excelled in those years were probably the best.

    The only other name I can throw out is Pancho Segura. I know very little about him, although I own some autographed memorabilia of his. What I do know is that he was the last guy to three-peat in singles (he did it during WW2), and that he was considered arguably the best player on Earth in the Early 1950s.

    Of the guys I have seen play college, though, Johnson is the clear #1. With his winning streak and the four straight team titles, I think he has to be considered #1. Had he won doubles this year, i'm not sure one could have made a case against him.
     
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  20. TennisKid1

    TennisKid1 Semi-Pro

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    Isner should be up there
     
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  21. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Pancho Segura.
    His biography is a pretty interesting read.
     
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  22. Don't Let It Bounce

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    Somdev Devvarman was in three straight NCAA finals, winning the second and third. One of those years he beat Isner in the finals. (I realize, of course, that doesn't eliminate Isner from consideration.) He went 44-1 one year, too.

    I'm not knowledgeable enough of college tennis to say those achievements are the bottom line, but they are the most impressive I know of.
     
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  23. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I think, as in any GOAT argument, you'll never get a consensus #1. What I would like to see, is who we believe are the top 5 or 10 college players ever. You'll probably get less arguments if you name a group, in no particular order.

    I'd go with...

    Steve Johnson
    Somdev Devarrman
    Matias Boeker
    Bob Bryan
    Alex O'Brien
    Mikael Pernfors
    Denis Ralston
    Stan Smith
    Hamilton Richardson
    Francisco Seguro

    ...As a list of 10 names that have to be in the discussion. I'm just pulling 1 per generation for the most part of players that had a run of dominance.
     
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  24. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    john mcenroe

    he made it to semis of Wimbledon either when he was in college or before he went
     
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  25. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    It was before college, but he only played 1 year of college tennis. I have a hard time putting him in the top 10 of all time college players when he only played 1 season.
     
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  26. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    McEnroe will all depend on what we mean by "greatest" college tennis player. Do we mean "greatest" as in "best", i.e., the best tennis player (based on all their results, college and non-college and overall skill level) to ever step foot on a college tennis court, or the "greatest" based based solely on what he acheived in college - titles (singles, doubles and team), dominant seasons, overall record, etc. The thread seems to be trending towards the latter.
     
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  27. BHSC

    BHSC New User

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    I would put Devvarman and Johnson together along with Pernfors.

    Devvarman beat Isner twice within a few days down in Athens in the 2007 NCAAs. He first beat him in straight sets in the NCAA team Semifinals. Remember, that 2007 Georgia team was considered one of the greatest of all time. Then, he beat him again in their classic 3 set Singles Final.

    Pretty impressive to beat your top rival in a hostile environment on his home courts. Especially when you do it twice within a week.

    Also keep in mind that Devvarman beat Kevin Anderson in the semifinals in the Athens NCAAs (after beating him earlier in the season).

    Anderson is currently a top 30 pro.

    Johnson really didn't have a rival to speak of who could push him.

    Devvarman's only loss that year was in the Tulsa wind. I don't believe Johnson ever won the All-American event.

    While Devvarman's teams didn't accomplish what Johnson's did, it wasn't because of Devvarman. I believe he won every singles match in the NCAAs at least his junior and senior years.

    3 straight NCAA singles Finals is a tough stat to accomplish

     
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  28. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Johnson only dropped 2 sets all year? I get that he didn't have a rival who could push him. But, is that his fault? Wasn't he just that much better than everyone?

    I agree that Devarman was remarkable and I don't want to say that Johnson was better or anything. No one will ever know.

    This rivalry issue just bugs me a little. Like when Fed was destroying the field, folks would say he played in a weak era. How does anyone know that? Would it have been better to drop a few matches to someone just to build up a rivalry? Nonsense. Beat em all.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
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  29. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

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    .........................
     
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  30. BHSC

    BHSC New User

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    What both Johnson/Devvarman accomplished in college is amazing. I don't want to say that one is better than the other.

    The main rivals that Devvarman was beating in college (Kevin Anderson and Isner) have both ended up reaching the top 30 level as pros.

    Johnson should be a successful pro, maybe even top 30 himself. Guys who have recently dominated at the college level seem to have done well in the pros.

    As you mention, Johnson was head and shoulders above his competition. I'm just saying that I'm not sure any of the rivals Johnson played are destined for the top 50 or even the top 100. (Maybe Klahn if he can stay healthy). That's certainly not Johnson's fault. That 2007 season (Jesse Levine goes in there too) simply happened to be pretty special as far as the talent in college.
     
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  31. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    Paul Goldstein, I think he was the first player to be on four NCAA championship teams, he played #1 singles for Stanford in '98 and I think he was undefeated. He made the finals of the singles tournament that year but lost to Bob Bryan.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
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  32. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    But, Steve Johnson did that AND won two singles titles.
     
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  33. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    Right, just saying Goldstein should be on the list, also think Dan Nguyen from USC should be up there, for his clutch play.
     
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  34. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    As collegiate players, Alex Olmedo and Denis Ralston achieved more than any of those other names. Ralston won the Wimbledon and US Open doubles while still in college as well as playing Davis Cup and winning back-to-back NCAA singles titles. Olmedo won the NCAA singles in 56 and 58 but would probably have won it in 57 if USC hadn't been barred. He won the US Open singles in 58 and was runner-up in the mixed that year.

    I would also say that Connors and McEnroe winning the NCAA singles title in their freshman year is a far more impressive feat than Johnson winning it in his last year or even last two years. Connors and McEnroe were so outstanding as college players there wasn't any point in them hanging around beyond the first year; they were playing top level, pro calibre tennis as freshmen. The same can't be said for Johnson, Devarrman or any of the other guys. They certainly accumulated fantastic records but that doesn't make them the best college players of all time.
     
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  35. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    From the OP. From this, I take it the criteria is accomplishments in college. Therefore, while Mcenroe may have been a better player in college than someone like Johnson, he loses because he didn't play enough years to accumulate achievements.
     
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  36. whoopinstick

    whoopinstick Rookie

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    K.J. Hippensteel from Sanford. He played back in the late 90's early 2000's.
    -won the NCAA doubles in 99
    -Team champion in 2000
    -NCAA singles semifinal 2000
    -ITA all american tournament 99 and 02
    -four time all american
    -ranked #1 his sophmore and senior years

    He doesn't get much credit and is often forgotten because he came in right after the bryans brothers but is worth mentioning.
     
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  37. barringer97

    barringer97 Rookie

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    Rick Leach was pretty damn good.

     
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  38. ashicks

    ashicks New User

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    Michael Pernfors

    I belive that he won back to back National Jr. College singles titles at Seminole Jr. College before transferring to University of Ga where he also won back to back NCAA singles titles.
     
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  39. 10isDad

    10isDad Hall of Fame

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    Time to broaden the discussion to D-III and Matt Seeberger of the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. From the Slugs website:
    "Matt Seeberger rewrote the record book by winning back to back NCAA singles titles in his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 2005 he did it all by leading the team to the NCAA Team Championship and then won the NCAA singles title and the doubles championship with partner Matt Brunner to cap a triple crown at home. In 2006 Matt won the Fall ITA Small College National Singles Championship and his second NCAA National Doubles Championship with partner Shane Templeman. In 2007 Seeberger turned the record book upside down by claiming his second triple crown. After winning the team title he won his third singles NCAA Singles Championship and then won his third NCAA National Doubles Championship with partner Max Ortiz. "
     
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  40. db379

    db379 Hall of Fame

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    You guys may be interested in this thread regarding transition from college to pro level...
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=447027

    The stats give an indication of what top college players may expect if they decide to go pro.
     
    #40
  41. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    This guy has been discussed here in detail. Look up John Morris, Williams college. Prior to Seebarger was the most successful D3 player. Similar accomplishments to Seebarger.
     
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  42. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    ye, the title suggests the former but the thread is clearly trending in the opposite direction.

    I wonder if this has anything to do with that well known american tendency to look inward? (ie, The 'World Series' featuring teams from one country etc etc)

    Obviously, McEnroe is the 'Greatest College Tennis Player of All Time' (GCTOAT), but should it be limited to people that actually graduate? Or just guys who knew they were never going to make it on the Tour so stayed in College to be the big kid in the small sandbox for a while?
     
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  43. Kirijax

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    Very colorful character. Former Hurricane and one of only two three-time NCAA winners I think.
     
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  44. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    so much for the GCTOAT, scraped through in AO qualies against a 16 year old Aussie kid from the suburbs..

    tells you all you need to know about college tennis right there...

    toughed it out, though, good effort.

    Shows that he's planets off the tour, though
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
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  45. 10isplayer

    10isplayer Semi-Pro

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    what does his title at a challenger tell you though? or what about his 3rd round appearance at the US open?
     
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  46. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    that he's 23 and ranked nowhere?
     
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  47. 10isplayer

    10isplayer Semi-Pro

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    Ranked 175 and he hasn't even spent a full year on the tour. I love how you didn't acknowledge that he has had success on the tour however.
     
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  48. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    That the kid he just played at the A.O. should also go to college. All tennis players should should be reqired by law to go to college.
     
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  49. Timbo's hopeless slice

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    that's not success, it isn't even ATP level!
     
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  50. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Yes, conservatives love the government telling them what to do and to remain dependent for a fixed period of time.
     
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