19. TJ Ford (2003)
Inspired by watching his home town Houston Rockets win back-to-back NBA Championships when he was a kid, Terrance Jerod “TJ” Ford grew up wanting to be a basketball player himself some day. After a superb high school basketball career, Ford went on to play at the University of Texas.
During his freshman season with the Longhorns, he became the first player in NCAA history to lead the nation as assists as a freshman, averaging 8.27 per game. After winning the Big 12 Freshman of the Year distinction, he won the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year award the following year, eventually becoming just the fourth athlete in the history of the University of Texas to have his jersey retired (and the first basketball player to ever receive that distinction).