Among them, they scored more than 10,000 points and grabbed more than 4,000 rebounds. Each was a first-team All-American. Each one's number was retired by his respective university.
They are the All-Century College Basketball Team for the state of Utah.
BYU's Danny Ainge, Utah State's Wayne Estes, and Utah's Keith Van Horn, Andre Miller and Billy McGill are the fabulous five, according to Deseret News readers.
More than 1,000 readers weighed in with their opinions on the state's top players of the past 100 years, or ever since basketball has been played. Two athletes played in the 1960s (McGill and Estes), one in the late '70s and early '80s (Ainge) and two in the '90s (Van Horn and Miller).
Ainge, who went on to a sterling career in the NBA after winning national player of the year honors in 1981, was the top vote-getter and was also named most exciting player by the readers. Also, Ainge's most famous game, his length-of-the-court dash against Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament, was chosen as the No. 1 most memorable game by the readers.
Van Horn, a two-time All-American who was runner-up to Tim Duncan for national player of the year honors, was the second top vote-getter. A couple of Van Horn's most famous games his buzzer-beating victories in the 1997 WAC tourney made the top 10 list of most-memorable games.
Estes, whose brilliant career was cut short by a freak accident that took his life late during his senior season, was a solid first-team pick, and he was also chosen as "best shooter" in the poll of readers. His final game, when he scored 48 points against Denver, just missed making the top 10 most-memorable games.
Miller, whose jersey was retired Thursday night at the U.'s Huntsman Center, was a runaway pick for the guard spot alongside Ainge. Like Van Horn, Miller was a consensus All-American who was runner-up for national player of the year honors. The Utah win over Arizona in the 1998 NCAA tournament when he got his triple-double was the No. 2 most-memorable game.
McGill edged BYU's Kresimir Cosic as the starting center. McGill led the nation in scoring in 1962 when he averaged 38.6 points and propelled Utah to a 23-3 record. He led the Utes to the Final Four in 1961, but, unfortunately, the Utes were barred from the NCAA tournament that season because of a minor infraction.
Cosic, the flamboyant center on Yugoslavia's silver medal 1968 Olympic team, heads the second team. Cosic, who often resembled a guard with his fancy passes and exciting style, averaged 19.1 points and 11.6 rebounds during his career, and was named all-WAC three years in a row.
He's joined on the second team by Utah's Arnie Ferrin, the MVP of the 1944 NCAA tournament won by the Utes, Devin Durrant, who had the top single-season scoring year in BYU history (27.9 points per game in 1984), Utah guard Mike Newlin, a three-time all-WAC performer in the late 1960s, and BYU's Dick Nemelka, who led the Cougars to the 1966 NIT title.
Utah's Danny Vranes and Tom Chambers, who led the Utes to the Sweet 16 in 1981, both made the third team, along with Jeff Jonas, a standout Ute guard in the 1970s. Joining those three are BYU's Fred Roberts, a two-time all-WAC forward, and BYU guard Joe Richey, the only player from the 1950s to make the top three teams.
The list of players who didn't make the first three teams is almost as impressive as those who did. How about Utah State's Cornell Green, Marv Roberts and Greg Grant; Utah's Jerry Chambers, Vern Gardner and Josh Grant; BYU's Mel Hutchins and Michael Smith; or Weber State's Willie Sojourner and Bruce Collins?
Readers were also asked to pick the top players in certain categories. Cosic was runnerup to Ainge as most exciting player, while Van Horn was second to Estes for best shooter. Weber State's Sojourner beat out McGill for top rebounder, while Jonas edged Miller for best playmaker.
Chambers was named most underrated player, while his teammate, Vranes, was edged by BYU's Smith for most overrated player. Some fans didn't like us putting in an overrated category, and regardless of how they interpreted it, Smith and Vranes were pretty darn good players.
McGill's 60-point performance against BYU in 1962 took top honors for best-single-game performance, beating out Estes' final game, Ainge's Notre Dame dash and Miller's triple-double.
In the most-memorable games category, more than 100 were named, including a couple of dozen Utah-BYU matchups.