Busting Brackets

With the Nova Knicks complete, what other college teammates should create an NBA super-team?

The Knicks traded for Mikal Bridges who will join Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo in New York.
Creighton v Villanova
Creighton v Villanova / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

On Tuesday night, the New York Knicks traded four unprotected first-round picks, Bojan Bogdanovic, and multiple other protected picks and pick swaps to the Brooklyn Nets for Mikal Bridges. After injuries cut New York’s playoff run short in the second round, general manager Leon Rose overwhelmed Brooklyn with a cornucopia of picks to add the missing piece of the “Nova Knicks.” 

Jalen Brunson has emerged as a superstar in New York and last season he flourished alongside his former Villanova teammates Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo. While Hart only won a national title in 2016 and DiVincenzo in 2018, Brunson and Bridges were key members of both championship teams. 

Villanova isn’t the only school with multiple former teammates in the NBA, so what other college reunion could create a real NBA Finals contender? Here are a few options: 

The Rules: 

  1. It has to be an actual reunion. Hart and DiVincenzo never played together but Brunson and Bridges played with both, so every player included had to play together in school with at least one other player. Basically: Tyrese Maxey and Anthony Davis don’t count. 
  2. The college team had to at least make the Sweet 16 to qualify. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic have already reunited in Chicago, but their USC team in 2009 lost to Michigan State in the Round of 32. 

The Calipari Kings

The most obvious reunion is a similar situation to what New York had before Tuesday. The Kings managed to bring Malik Monk to Sacramento to play with De’Aaron Fox, but they’re still missing Bam Adebayo. 

When that trio played together in Lexington, they won the SEC regular season and SEC tournament title before making a run to the Elite Eight. It was one of Calipari’s last excellent seasons at Kentucky. 

The Fox, Monk, Adebayo “Calipari Kings” would likely be a playoff team in the Western Conference, but the problem is, there isn’t a true connective thread between the Jamal Murray 2016 Cats and the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 2018 team that could really turn this group into a super-team. Unless you cheat with Wenyen Gabriel to tie in SGA and P.J. Washington, the Calipari Kings aren’t winning an NBA title. 

The Washington WiZags

No, Corey Kispert isn’t the best former Gonzaga Bulldog in the NBA, but if any team went all-in on Mark Few’s former players, the WiZags would be the best nickname. 

For many years, Gonzaga was a college basketball powerhouse but Few built up his program without elite recruits and therefore failed to establish an NBA pipeline. However, landing Jalen Suggs, the No. 6 player in the 2020 ESPN Top 100, changed that. 

After a one-and-done year and a trip to the National Championship game, Suggs was drafted fifth overall by the Orlando Magic, and his senior teammate, Corey Kispert went 15th to the Wizards. Suggs was named second-team All-Defense in 2024 while Kispert averaged 13.4 points and shot 38.3% from three. 

That pairing isn’t nearly enough to turn Washington’s franchise around, so to become the WiZags, general manager Will Dawkins would need to swing a trade for Chet Holmgren, who took the Gonzaga to the Sweet 16 in 2022 alongside Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard, the crucial connective tissue. 

With Nembhard, who had a few impressive moments for the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs, especially against the Nova Knicks, Kispert, Suggs, and Holmgren, the WiZags would be one of the most competitive young teams in the East. Maybe Rui Hachimura would even be willing to come back to D.C. to join Kispert, his former teammate and make a run at a ring in the pros. 

The Boston Blue Devils

The Boston Celtics just won the NBA title, so there’s not much reason to blow the roster up, but after Jayson Tatum signs his offseason super-max extension eventually the roster could become financially untenable. Forced to choose between Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Brad Stevens doesn’t just pick Tatum, he goes all in on his Duke history. 

Jayson Tatum only spent one season at Duke and that year, after winning the ACC Tournament, the Blue Devils were bounced in Round 2 of the NCAA tourney by South Carolina. Yet, this group still qualifies because of Grayson Allen. 

Allen was just a freshman in 2015 when the Blue Devils beat Wisconsin for the National title. Throughout his four-year career at Duke, he played with Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard, Jayson Tatum, Marvin Bagley, Gary Trent, and Wendell Carter. 

Now, most of those highly-coveted high school recruits were one-and-done in college, but players like Okafor, Winslow, and Bagley were NBA draft busts. So, the Boston Blue Devils reunion would prioritize Tatum, Allen, Jones, Ingram, Kennard, and Carter. That’s a quality starting five that isn’t quite as good as the current construction of the Celtics but also might be better than the Nova Knicks.