The University of Missouri Tigers men's basketball team is a mainstay of the elite Big 12 Conference. The Tigers' successes include 24 NCAA Tournaments, including four appearances in the Elite Eight, and 24 NBA players. Among the most successful NBA players from the University of Missouri are former All-America players Anthony Peeler, Steve Stipanovich, and Jon Sundvold.
The Kings' starting point guard for the first half of the 1980s, Larry Drew is the all-time best NBA player from the University of Missouri. In his senior year of 1980, Drew led the Tigers to their second ever Sweet Sixteen. He was a first round pick by the Pistons before joining the Kings in his second season. His career year came in 1982-83 when he averaged 20.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. For his ten-year career as a whole, Drew scored 8,110 points and dealt out 3,702 assists.
An All-America big man for the Tigers of the 1980s, Steve Stipanovich was one of the best NBA players from the University of Missouri. Stipanovich was a part of a pair of Sweet Sixteen teams with the Tigers in 1980 and 1982 as he scored 1,836 points in NCAA competition. Stipanovich had a short-lived, but very effective career as the starting center for the Indiana Pacers. Before injuries derailed his career, he played five seasons and averaged 13.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.
Shooting guard Anthony Peeler played 13 seasons as one of the top NBA players from the University of Missouri. Peeler was another member of a Sweet Sixteen Tigers team, helping the team reach the level in his 1989 freshman year. By his senior season, he was the team's leading scorer and an All-America guard. Peeler played for five NBA teams with his best individual season coming with the 1996-97 Grizzlies when he averaged 14.5 points, 3.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He drained 940 three point baskets in his career and led the NBA in three-point percentage by shooting at a .482 clip in 2003-04.
A great pure shooter and a backup point guard for nine years, Jon Sundvold was one of the best NBA players from the University of Missouri. A member of the 1980 and 1982 Sweet Sixteen Tigers, Sundvold was a first round pick by the Sonics in the 1983 NBA Draft. He spent time with the Sonics, Spurs, and Heat franchises, averaging double-figures in scoring twice. His career year came in 1986-87 when he averaged 11.2 points and 4.1 assists per game in San Antonio. Before Peeler accomplished the feat, Sundvold was the first former Missouri player to lead the NBA in three-point percentage as he shot .522 from long distance in 1988-89.
Four years into his career, Linas Kleiza has been one of the best recent NBA players from the University of Missouri. Kleiza has been on a competitive Nuggets team for his entire career, participating in four NBA Playoffs with the team. In his last two seasons with the team from 2007 to 2009, he averaged ten points and four rebounds per game. After a one-year hiatus in which he starred playing overseas, Kleiza has returned to the NBA as a member of the 2010-11 Toronto Raptors.