National Basketball Association
Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo and other notable college-NBA teammates
National Basketball Association

Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo and other notable college-NBA teammates

Updated May. 30, 2024 4:02 p.m. ET

It was nearly 14 years ago when LeBron James famously announced his decision to join the Miami Heat and "take his talents" to South Beach. James teamed up with fellow NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form what was eventually coined "The Big Three."

While there have been plenty of "Big Threes" to team up in the NBA since that time, and even prior to that (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in Boston, anyone?), that Heat trio will always be thought of when that term is used in a basketball reference.

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While there might not be a trio in today's NBA that has quite the list of accolades that James, Bosh and Wade had at the time they joined forces, there is a threesome out in New York that is making some big noise in this year's NBA playoffs. The Knicks' trio of Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo helped lead New York to a memorable first-round series victory over Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, and now hold a 1-0 series lead over the Indiana Pacers heading into Game 2 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.


While Brunson is the straw that stirs the drink for the Knicks, he has received plenty of assistance from Hart and DiVincenzo, who have each stuffed the stat sheet throughout the Knicks' first seven games of this year's postseason. In fact, together, the trio have combined for more than 62% of the team's offseason scoring production this postseason. Brunson leads the Knicks in both scoring (36.6 points) and assists (8.6), while Hart leads the team in rebounding (12.4), and DiVincenzo in 3-pointers made (19).

But there is something unique about the Knicks' "Big Three" that is quite uncommon in today's NBA world: Brunson, Hart and DiVincenzo all played together in college, at Villanova. In fact, Brunson and DiVincenzo were in the same 2015 recruiting class and were roommates at Villanova during their freshman year. The two teamed up with Hart and helped lead the Wildcats to a national championship in 2016 — the school's second-ever national title and first since 1985.

In 2017, Hart moved on to become a first-round pick by the Utah Jazz (30th overall), while Brunson and DiVincenzo chose to return to school. The duo led the Wildcats to a dominant 36-4 record and another national championship in 2018.

While the thought of three college teammates joining forces in the NBA seems quite improbable, it has actually happened before.

Here is a look at some other notable NBA trios who played together in college:

Boston Celtics: Walter McCarty, Ron Mercer, Antoine Walker (1997-99) - played together at Kentucky

McCarty, Mercer and Walker all played a big role on Kentucky's 1996 national championship squad. In fact, that '96 team featured an eye-popping nine future NBA players and were nicknamed "The Untouchables." Walker was selected by the Celtics with the No. 6 overall pick in the 1996 draft, while Mercer was the No. 6 overall selection by the Celtics the following year. McCarty was selected 19th overall in the 1996 draft, and then was traded to Boston the following year.

Tony Delk, McCarty, Walker (2001-03) - played together at Kentucky

Delk also starred on that 1996 Kentucky national championship team, leading the Wildcats in scoring at 17.8 points per game. After being selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 16th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Delk spent time with the Warriors, Kings and Suns before being traded to the Celtics in 2002, where he teamed up with his former Kentucky teammates, McCarty and Walker.

Memphis Grizzlies: Grayson Allen, Justice Winslow, Tyus Jones (2020) - played together at Duke

Much like the previously mentioned Kentucky trios, this trio from Duke also reached great heights during their time as college teammates. Allen, Winslow and Jones helped lead the Blue Devils on a memorable 2015 NCAA Tournament run, which concluded with the program's fifth — and most recent — national championship. Following that season, Winslow and Jones both declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman season. Winslow was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Miami Heat, where he spent five seasons before eventually being traded to the Grizzlies in 2020. Jones heard his name called shortly after Winslow as he was selected with the 24th overall pick in the draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who then traded his draft rights to his hometown team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jones spent four seasons in Minnesota before being signed by the Grizzlies in 2019. Meanwhile, Allen spent four years at Duke before being selected by the Utah Jazz with the No. 21 pick in 2018. He was traded to Memphis the following year, which led to this trio all teaming up in Memphis.

Other notable college teammates who played together in the NBA:

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