August 13 is International Left Handers Day, a time to celebrate people inclined to use their left hands to throw a ball, catch a pass or swing a bat. It’s oft-repeated knowledge that lefties tend to be more abundant in sports because they’re statistically rarer (only about 10 percent of the population is left-handed), and thus are harder to plan for. 

But sometimes it’s hard to spot a southpaw in the middle of a high-flying game, so we did the dirty work for you and found some of the greatest lefties who’ve left their respective marks on the NCAA world in various sports:

Left-handed legends:

We’ll start this off by looking at some names plenty of people know — but not everyone is aware they dominated by using their left hands.

Rich Clarkson | NCAA Photos
Bill Russell, F, San Francisco

Russell led USF on a staggering streak of dominance during his college years, averaging 20.7 points per game, winning two Player of the Year awards and leading the Dons to two national titles.

Presse Sports | USA Today Sports Images
Mark Spitz, swimmer, Indiana

Spitz once called choosing to attend Indiana “the biggest decision of [his] life.” He won eight NCAA titles before going on to set seven world records and winning seven gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Steven Branscombe | USA TODAY Sports Images
Brendan McKay, P/1B, Louisville

McKay, a two-way player drafted fourth overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in this past June's MLB draft, batted .341 with 18 home runs and 57 RBI in 2017, while going 11-3 with a 2.56 ERA and 146 strikeouts on the mound.

Left-handed pitcher Monica Abbott was one of the greatest softball players in NCAA history.
Stephen Pingry | NCAA Photos
Left-handed pitcher Monica Abbott was one of the greatest softball players in NCAA history.
Monica Abbott, P, Tennessee

Abbott recorded at least 500 strikeouts in each of her four years with the Volunteers, won 189 games and tallied an ERA of 0.79 in 206 starts. She was possibly the most dominant softball pitcher in NCAA history.

BYU Athletics
Steve Young, QB, BYU

Young grew dramatically each year at BYU, finishing his collegiate career with 56 passing touchdowns, 18 rushing touchdowns, including a senior year with a 168.5 passer rating and a dramatic TD reception in a Holiday Bowl win over Missouri.

***

Modern-day lefties:

Now it’s time to bring things up to speed and spot a few lefties doing work lately, either during last season or heading into the 2017-18 year:

Shane Bevel | NCAA Photos
Paige Parker, P, Oklahoma

Parker, the Most Outstanding Player in the 2016 WCWS, has 92 wins in 133 appearances through her junior year, along with a 1.58 career ERA, 70 complete games, and 755 strikeouts in 679.2 innings. 

Matthew Emmons | USA TODAY Sports Images
A’ja Wilson, F, South Carolina

Wilson, an All-American and 2017 SEC Player of the Year, already leads South Carolina in career blocks with a full season left. She averaged 17.9, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game last year for the national champion Gamecocks.

Aaron Doster | USA TODAY Sports Images
Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova

Brunson is a rising star in the Big East, and he’s positioned to become Villanova’s go-to guy. Brunson averaged 14.7 points and dished out 4.1 assists per game last year, and he’s only getting better.

Ohio State Athletics
Kelsey Mitchell, G, Ohio State

The 2016-17 Big 10 Player of the Year averaged 22.6 points per game in 2017, surpassed the career 2,000-point mark midway through the year, and became the Big Ten’s all-time leader in career threes — with a season to go.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.