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Andy Wittry | | September 7, 2021

These are the best father-son, junior-senior duos in college basketball

The most popular names in college basketball in 2020 sound a lot like the 1990s

There were a more than a hundred "Juniors" in college basketball during the 2020 season — as in players who have the same name as their fathers — plus there were 19 who are a second ("II"), 36 who are the third ("III"), seven who are the fourth ("IV") and one who's the sixth (!). That was VCU's Arnold Henderson VI.

I looked at the names of every men's basketball player in the sport and found that the most popular names in 2020 sound very much like the 1990s. Now we're picking out the best father-son, junior-senior duos in college basketball.

Here's how this works. Only current college basketball players are eligible and they must be a junior or a II, III, IV or VI, and their father must've played college basketball, too. We used team rosters from Sports Reference, which means there could be players who are juniors, but they may not have their name listed that way based on the rosters we consulted.

I evaluated both fathers and sons at the college level — not their prep or pro careers— which means that these father-and-son duos are hypothetically both in college for the purposes of this story.

In this hypothetical world, the father-son duos will play in half-court games to 11 points by 1s and 2s, just like you would at a local playground. 

Here are the top junior-senior, father-son duos in college basketball based on current players and their basketball-playing fathers.

Kerry Blackshear Jr., Florida - Kerry Blackshear Sr., Stetson

  • Kerry Blackshear Jr. (6-10, 250 lbs.): 14.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.6 apg; 45.3% FG, 32.1% 3P (2019-20)
  • Kerry Blackshear Sr. (6-6, 218 lbs.): 20.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg (1994-95)

Balckshear Sr. is Stetson's second-leading scorer all-time with 1,826 points — a career average of 17.6 points per game — plus he's fourth in 3-pointers made (170), fifth all-time in steals (152) and 14th in rebounds (643).

He played for the Hatters from 1992 to 1996 and he led the team in scoring as a sophomore and junior, including a career-high 20.4 points per game as a junior. He was the team's best rebounder as a junior (6.8 rpg) and senior (7.1 rpg).

Blackshear was the conference player of the year and a first team all-conference selection in 1995, a second team selection the year before that and the freshman of the year in 1993. Stetson played in the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) when Blackshear was in school.

Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers - Ron Harper Sr., Miami (OH)

  • Ron Harper Jr. (6-6, 230 lbs.): 12.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.1 apg; 44.6% FG, 30.9% 3P (2019-20)
  • Ron Harper Sr. (6-6, 185 lbs.): 24.4 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 4.3 apg, 3.3 spg, 2.3 bpg (1985-86)

There's a case to be made that Ron Harper Sr., at his peak, would be the single-best player in this hypothetical tournament. At 6-6, he's arguably the perfect size to play in a 2-vs.-2 game of basketball — big enough to guard forwards and some centers but small enough to also play on the perimeter — and potentially force all kinds of mismatches.

As a senior at Miami (OH), he averaged a double-double, and not just a casual 12-point, 10-rebound double-double. We're talking almost 24 points and 12 rebounds per night, on average. Then consider what he did as a creator and defender, averaging more than three steals and two blocks per game.

There's a reason he earned consensus Second Team All-American honors. He was also the MAC Player of the Year as a junior and senior, a three-time First Team All-MAC selection. Harper left Oxford as the program's all-time leader in scoring (2,377 points) and rebounding (1,119).

Now his son, Ron Harper Jr., helped Rutgers climb into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1979. The younger Harper is the same height but much bigger at the college level (listed at 230 pounds). He has started every game for the Scarlet Knights this season, while leading them in scoring and is their second-best rebounder.

Outside shooting wouldn't be this father-son duo's strength but you have to like their size, interior scoring presence, rebounding and defensive abilities.

Jameer Nelson Jr., George Washington - Jameer Nelson Sr., St. Joseph's

  • Jameer Nelson Jr.: 10.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.7 spg; 40.6% FG, 27.5% 3P (2019-20)
  • Jameer Nelson Sr.: 20.6 ppg, 5.3 apg, 4.7 rpg, 2.8 spg; 47.5% FG, 39.0% 3P (2003-04)

The Nelson father-son duo would make one heckuva backcourt if we take both players at their peak in college.

As a senior at St. Joseph's, Jameer Nelson Sr. was the National Player of the Year, winning the Wooden Award and Naismith Award, plus he was a consensus First Team All-American, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and the Bob Cousy Award winner (given to the nation's best point guard). He was a defensive stalwart, earning Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team honors as a junior and senior.

To remind you just how good Nelson was at St. Joe's, he helped the Hawks earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and finish the seasons 30-2, including an undefeated, 27-0 regular season.

The other NCAA tournament seeds they've had in school history are No. 4, No. 6, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8, No. 9, No. 9, No. 10 and No. 11.

Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt - Scottie Pippen, Central Arkansas

  • Scotty Pippen Jr.: 11.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 2.9 rpg; 36.9% FG, 31.5% 3P (2019-20)
  • Scottie Pippen: 23.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 3.1 spg; 59.2% FG, 57.5% 3P (1986-87)

Did you know that Scottie Pippen's first name is actually spelled Scotty? That's how it's spelled on his birth certificate but everyone spelled it Scottie. Who knew! Did you know he was announced as "Scott Pippen" when he was drafted, too?

When the older Pippen attended college, he played at Central Arkansas, which was then an NAIA school and where he was a two-time consensus NAIA All-American.

His namesake, Scotty Pippen Jr., is Vanderbilt's third-leading scorer as a freshman this season and his stats have the chance to climb after the Commodores' leading scorer, Aaron Nesmith, suffered a serious foot injury.

Landers Nolley II, Virginia Tech - Landers Nolley Sr., LSU

  • Landers Nolley II (6-7, 230 lbs.): 17.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.7 apg; 40.7% FG, 36.8% 3P (2019-20)
  • Landers Nolley (6-6, 197 lbs.): 10.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.1 apg; 42.1% 3P (1994-95)

Landers Nolley II is of a similar stature as his father was during his playing days, but he's even bigger — and more productive. After redshirting last season, the younger Nolley is Virginia Tech's leading scorer and second-leading rebounder.

The older Nolley shot 38.3 percent from three in his two seasons at LSU, which is tied for the eighth-best mark in program history (minimum 75 attempts).

Ron Artest III, Cal State Northridge - Metta World Peace, St. John's

  • Ron Artest III (6-7, 215 lbs.): 2.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg; 36.7% FG (2019-20)
  • Metta World Peace (6-6, 244 lbs.): 14.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.2 apg, 2.1 spg, 1.2 bpg; 46.9% FG, 37.4% 3P (1998-99)

Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, was a consensus Third-Team All-American and First Team All-Big East selection in 1999 as a sophomore at St. John's. He also won the Haggerty Award, which is given to the All-New York DI men's basketball player of the year.

In 1999, he led St. John's to a 28-9 record (14-4 Big East), a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament and the Elite Eight.

Artest was also a force on the defensive end. His 76 steals as a sophomore ranks seventh all-time in program history and he also had 44 blocks that season. He averaged 28 points and 14 rebounds in St. John's' two Big East Tournament games in 1998, leading to him making the all-tournament team.

Ron Artest III has started five times in 12 games for Cal State Northridge this season.

Sharone Wright Jr., Wake Forest - Sharone Wright Sr., Clemson

  • Sharone Wright Jr. (6-5, 180 lbs.): 3.1 ppg, 0.9 rpg; 35.7% FG, 30.0% 3P (2019-20)
  • Sharone Wright Sr. (6-11, 260 lbs.): 15.4 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 1.2 apg (1993-94)

Sharone Wright Sr. was drafted sixth overall in the 1994 NBA Draft after three seasons at Clemson, including a junior campaign in which he averaged a double-double at 15.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. He averaged a career-high 4.1 blocks per game as a sophomore and his size at 6-11, 260 pounds would make him one of the biggest players in this hypothetical tournament.

Sharone Wright Jr.'s stats were better as a freshman than they are this season. He was a 20-game starter for the Demon Deacons, averaging 7.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. His minutes have gotten cut in half this season.

Keion Brooks Jr., Kentucky - Keion Brooks Sr., Wright State

  • Keion Brooks Jr.: 5.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg; 45.2% FG, 18.8% 3P (2019-20)
  • Keion Brooks Sr. (6-1): 20.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.8 spg; 42.1% FG, 28.6% 3P (1998-99)

Keion Brooks Sr. is Wright State's fourth-leading scorer all-time at 1,766 points and he ranks in the top 10 in program history in free throws made, assists, scoring average and steals. He was a two-time First Team All-League selection, a Second Team honoree once and a Newcomer Team pick in 1996.

He was named team MVP in 1997, when he led the Raiders in scoring and rebounding.

Keion Brooks Jr. is seventh in scoring and minutes for Kentucky this season.

Cedric Henderson Jr., Campbell - Cedric Henderson Sr., Memphis

  • Cedric Henderson Jr. (6-6, 190 lbs.): 12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 apg; 61.7% FG, 52.4% 3P (2019-20)
  • Cedric Henderson Sr.: 16.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.9 spg, 1.4 apg, 1.0 bpg; 41.7% FG, 26.3% 3P (1996-97)

As a freshman, Cedric Henderson Jr. is leading Campbell in scoring at more than 12 points per game.

His father, Cedric Henderson Sr., played at Memphis for four seasons and left the Tigers with the sixth-highest point total in program history (1,697 points). He was a great player from the jump, averaging 13.7 points per game as a freshman — the 10th-best mark in school history. Henderson led the team in scoring as a senior at 16 points per game.

At his best, he was a 39 percent 3-point shooter as a junior, he's 10th all-time in career steals (175) and a Second Team Conference USA selection in 1997.

Other notable father-son duos:

John Edgar Jr., UC Irvine - John Edgar Sr., Arizona

  • John Edgar Jr. (6-5, 217 lbs.): 6.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.4 apg; 40.2% FG, 15.6% 3P (2019-20)
  • John Edgar Sr. (6-6): 11. ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.4 spg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 bpg; 50.9% FG (1985-86)

In 1986, John Edgar Sr. was an Arizona team captain alongside Steve Kerr and he led the Wildcats in rebounding.

John Edgar Jr. has been an on-and-off starter in four seasons at UC Irvine.

Charles O'Bannon Jr., USC - Charles O'Bannon Sr., UCLA

  • Charles O'Bannon Jr. (6-6, 210 lbs.): 1.1 ppg, 0.8 rpg in 5.6 mpg in 18 career games at USC (2017-20)
  • Charles O'Bannon Sr. (6-5, 209 lbs.): 17.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.1 spg; 55.1% FG, 34.7% 3P (1996-97)

The younger O'Bannon entered the transfer portal after suffering a season-ending hand injury last fall.

His father was a national champion at UCLA in 1995, then he was a First Team All-Pac-12 selection in the next two seasons. Charles O'Bannon Sr. averaged 13.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game for the national champion Bruins, then his stats peaked at 17.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game as a senior.

Wendell Moore Jr., Duke - Wendell Moore Sr., Christopher Newport (DIII)

  • Wendell Moore Jr. (6-6, 213 lbs.): 7.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.1 spg; 44.6% FG, 42.9% 3P (2019-20)
  • Wendell Moore Sr. (6-7, 185 lbs.): 12.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg; 63.6% FG (1977-81)

Wendell Moore Jr. is currently sidelined with a broken right hand, but when healthy, he was the Blue Devils' fifth-leading scorer and an occasional starter.

His father was an all-conference tournament selection in 1979 and Wendell Moore Sr. was a 1,000-point scorer at Christopher Newport. He averaged 13.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and shot 65.9 percent from the field in 1981.

Jemarl Baker Jr., Arizona - Jemarl Baker Sr., Cal State Northridge

  • Jemarl Baker Jr. (6-4, 192 lbs.): 6.4 ppg, 2.5 apg, 1.8 rpg; 39.6% FG, 40.7% 3P (2019-20)
  • Jemarl Baker Sr.: 9.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg; 43.8% FG (1989-90)

Both Bakers, father and son, played out West. Jemarl Baker Jr. transferred from Kentucky to Arizona, where he has been a key reserve and a strong 3-point shooter for the Wildcats.

Jermaine Jackson Jr., LIU - Jermaine Jackson, Detroit Mercy

  • Jermaine Jackson Jr.: 9.8 ppg, 2.9 apg, 1.5 rpg, 1.3 spg; 38.2% FG, 34.0% 3P (2019-20)
  • Jermaine Jackson Sr.: 13.9 ppg; 43.0% FG (1998-99)

Jermaine Jackson Sr. was named the MCC Player of the Year, a first team all-conference selection and an all-defensive team choice in 1999, one season after being second team all-conference. He ranks fifth in assists in Detroit Mercy history (509), sixth in free throws made (385) and 22nd all-time in career points with 1,341.

He was named to the all-tournament team three times in four seasons.

Nineteen years after Jermaine Jackson Sr. earned player-of-the-year honors at Detroit, his son earned all-newcomer team recognition at Detroit. He later transferred to LIU.

Here's some other father-son duos worth recognizing, including sons who are walk-ons or fathers who didn't play at the DI level.

  • Antoine Smith Jr., Incarnate Word — Antoine Smith Sr., Dayton/Northern Kentucky
  • Donyell Marshall Jr., Central Connecticut State — Donyell Marshall Sr., UConn
  • Matt Coleman III, Texas — Matt Coleman Jr., Newport News Apprentice School
  • Curtis Aiken Jr., Pittsburgh — Curtis Aiken Sr., Pittsburgh
  • Roy Dixon III, Northwestern — Roy Dixon Jr., Northwestern
  • Joe Jones III, Georgia State — Joe Jones Jr., Fairmont
  • Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA  Jaime Jaquez Sr., Concordia University Irvine
  • Chris Herren Jr., Boston College — Chris Herren Sr., Boston College
  • A.J. Oliver II, Old Dominion —Anthony Oliver, Virginia
  • Trey Murphy III, Rice — Trey Murphy Jr., East Carolina
  • Tim Perry Jr., Drexel — Tim Perry Sr., Temple
  • Vin Baker Jr., Boston College — Vin Baker Sr., Hartford
  • Brian Coffey II, Middle Tennessee — Brian Coffey, Tennessee State
  • Derek Webster Jr., The Citadel — Derek Webster, Florida A&M
  • Tyrone Nesby IV, Wagner — Tyrone Nesby III, UNLV
  • Larry Robinson III, New Orleans — Larry Robinson Jr., Centenary
  • Rob Peterson III, High Point — Buzz Peterson, North Carolina

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