As I have mentioned, I’m taking part in the Volvo’s Biggest Fan in the Big East challenge. Things are starting to get underway, including the intro video to very briefly hear from some of the participants.
The voting isn’t active yet, but there are other challenges.
The first challenge is to come up with an “All-Time Big East Dream Team.”
There really are no rules to it, other than picking a total of 12 players and justifying the picks.
So, I don’t have to have my final picks and reasons yet. Right now it is about figuring out who should be on the team.
I’m going to set my own rules, to make it easier and harder. Any member of the team has to have played at least 3 years. No one-and-dones. That is more about talented players who are known because they are NBA stars. I want the guys who I really hated (or loved) in the Big East. So, yeah, I just eliminated DeJuan Blair from being on the team. I also eliminated Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson and others who were/are fantastic basketball players but not guys I really think of when it comes to the Big East.
The only other rule, is that I’m looking for a real squad. Not 10 guards and a couple centers or forwards. The breakdown of the 12-man squad should have: 2 Centers, 4 forwards and 6 guards. There can be some obvious liberties with wing forwards or players who were tweeners of guard/forward, but I’m trying to think of what would make a great team.
So, roughing it out:
Patrick Ewing, Georgetown
Emeka Okafor, UConn
I really think of these two as the best centers from the Big East. Ewing is a no-brainer. An argument could be made for Alonzo Mourning with 3 straight defensive player of the year awards and player of the year one year in the Big East. At the same time, he overlapped with Dikembe Mutombo. Okafor stands out for me. Annoyingly classy, intelligent and killed Pitt.
The only other one that could be argued, is Donyell Marshall from UConn. Yes, he was a forward in the NBA, but at UConn he played and starred as a Center.
Bill Curley, Boston College. It may be just for this old SI cover. But Curley was a hell of a player in the 90s.
Charles Smith, Pitt
Jerome Lane, Pitt. A beast. And really, if you want to talk about the player who provided one of the signature moments — not just in the Big East but in college basketball — and was the focal point of the signature call. Then he has to make the list.
Derrick Coleman, Syracuse. Forget the underachieving, binge eating, hotdog necked NBA player that wasted his potential. Coleman was a tremendous college player. Four years at Syracuse and he averaged a double-double for his career (and only as a freshman did he not do so for the season).
Michael Smith, Providence. One of the great rebounders in the Big East. He led Providence to their only Big East Tournament Championship (and their only appearance in the championship game).
Richard Hamilton, UConn
Brandin Knight, Pitt
Troy Bell, Boston College
Chris Mullin, St. John’s. Like Ewing and Coleman, a given for any All-Big East team.
Khalid El-Amin, UConn. God he was easy to hate. So, so easy to hate. And such a great college point guard. He ruined what should have been a very good day. I was at that game. Bad times. Bad times.
Ray Allen, UConn
Sherman Douglas, Syracuse
Obviously that is more than 12, but I’m still trying to figure it out and make the case for them all. Statistically, Notre Dame’s Troy Murphy should make the list but does anyone ever think about him when it comes to greatest players in Big East history? He was Big East Player of the Year twice, but I find him totally unmemorable.
Kerry Kittles? Lawrence Moten? Anyone else not realize that Aaron Gray was 1st team All-Big East twice? Terrifying to think that Luke Harangody was one of only a handful of 3-time All-Big East 1st teamers.
Can we make the case for Sam Young? Should I include 2-year players to include guys like Allen Iverson, Dejuan Blair and Caron Butler?