The Orlando Magic hope No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero becomes an intricate piece in helping the franchise finally hoist the NBA’s ultimate prize in a June down the road.
Throughout Magic history, however, the team has had several players who had the chance to celebrate college basketball’s ultimate achievement on the first Monday in April. Looking back, here are 12 Magic players who won a Division I national championship in college.
Stacey Augmon, F (1989-90 UNLV)
Years with Magic: 2004-06
Overview: Stacy Augmon enjoyed a productive 15-year NBA career and closed that career with the Orlando Magic. Augmon was still solid on the defensive end for Orlando, but averaged less than three points and shot just 39% from the field in two seasons with the Magic. Notables on Augmon’s title 1989-90 title team at UNLV included Larry Johnson and Greg Anthony, the father of current Magic guard Cole Anthony.
Chris Duhon, G (2000-01 Duke)
Years with Magic: 2010-12
Overview: A freshman on Duke’s 2000-01 national championship team, Chris Duhon would serve as a four-year contributor for the Blue Devils before spending nine seasons in the NBA. Two of those seasons were with the Orlando Magic as Duhon averaged 3.2 points and 2.4 assists while shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc as the backup point guard behind Jameer Nelson.
Patrick Ewing, C (1983-84 Georgetown)
Years with Magic: 2001-02
Overview: A college basketball and NBA legend, Patrick Ewing spent the final season of his Hall of Fame career with the Orlando Magic. At the age of 39, Ewing averaged six points and four rebounds in 64 games for Orlando. A four-year star at Georgetown, Ewing helped the Hoyas reach the national championship game three times. The only win, however, came during the 1983-84 season as Georgetown topped Houston.
Ben Gordon, G (2003-04 Connecticut)
Years with Magic: 2014-15
Overview: The leading scorer for Connecticut’s 2003-04 national title team, Ben Gordon spent the final season of his 11-year NBA career in Orlando. The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year for the 2004-05 season as a rookie for the Chicago Bulls. Gordon didn’t make a single start in his lone season with the Magic but averaged 6.2 points in 56 games.
Sean Higgins, F (1988-89 Michigan)
Years with Magic: 1992
Overview: A member of Michigan’s only national championship team, Sean Higgins spent less than a season with the Orlando Magic. In 32 games, 12 starts, as a member of the Magic, Higgins averaged 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 47% from the field. Those were the best numbers of his NBA career.
Grant Hill, F (1990-91 Duke, 1991-92 Duke)
Years with Magic: 2000-07
Overview: An All-American at Duke and a superstar with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, Grant Hill was never able to stay healthy over his seven seasons in Orlando. Although Hill averaged 16.4 points and five rebounds with the Magic, he played in less than 35% of the team’s games. A member of back-to-back national championship teams at Duke, Hill did make two All-Star Games in an Orlando uniform but never played more than 67 games in any season.
Amile Jefferson, F (2014-15 Duke)
Years with Magic: 2018-20
Overview: The third former Duke player to make the list, forward Amile Jefferson spent most of his time as a professional in the G League, but did make appearances in two seasons for the Magic. Jefferson played in 30 career NBA games and shot 50% from the field. He averaged just 1.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Largely a reserve during Duke’s 2014-15 national title season, Jefferson averaged in double figures in each of his final two seasons in Durham.
Ron Mercer, G (1995-96 Kentucky)
Years with Magic: 2000
Overview: A member of Rick Pitino’s final Kentucky team and first Boston Celtics team, Ron Mercer spent less than one season with the Orlando Magic, but provided some much-needed offense for first-year head coach Doc Rivers’ “Heart and Hustle” team. Mercer averaged better than 15 points per contest in his 31 games, all starts, as a member of the Magic. As a college freshman, Mercer scored 20 points off the bench as Kentucky beat Syracuse for the 1995-96 national title.
Shabazz Napier, G (2013-14 Connecticut)
Years with Magic: 2015-16
Overview: The Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Shabazz Napier led Connecticut from a No. 7 seed to an improbable national championship. In his second season in the NBA, Napier played in 55 games for the Magic and averaged 3.7 points and 1.8 assists. Napier shot just 34% from the field for Orlando.
Jason Richardson, G (1999-00 Michigan State)
Years with Magic: 2010-12
Overview: A freshman on Michigan State’s 1999-00 national championship team that defeated Florida and future Orlando Magic Rookie of the Year, Mike Miller, Jason Richardson played for Orlando for less than two full seasons. Not the athletic force he was at the beginning of his career, Richardson helped stretch the floor, averaging nearly 13 points per game while shooting 38% from deep in 109 games, all starts, as a member of the Magic.
Miles Simon, G (1996-97 Arizona)
Years with Magic: 1998-99
Overview: A big-time scorer for Arizona’s 1996-97 team that knocked off three No. 1 seeds en route to its only national championship, Miles Simon’s NBA career lasted just five games – all with the Magic. Despite scoring 30 points in Arizona’s national championship upset over Kentucky, Simon scored just two career points with the Magic.
Marreese Speights, F/C (2006-07 Florida)
Years with Magic: 2017-18
Overview: A reserve behind the likes of Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Chris Richard on Florida’s second of consecutive title teams during the 2006-07 season, Marreese Speights concluded his 10-year NBA career with the Magic. In his lone season with the Magic, Speights averaged 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds, but shot less than 40% from the field.