November 15, 2011

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?

Greatest name in Big East history (and pretty damn good player): God Shammgod

Comment by San Diego Panther 69 11.16.11 @ 1:18 am

Best Pitt player ever (slightly before Big East): Don Hennon

Comment by San Diego Panther 69 11.16.11 @ 1:19 am

And of course if w’re talking All-PITT team, even pre-BigEast. One would have to include two of PITT’s best players EVER on the 1rst team.

Billy Knight at Forward (star of Pitt’s other Elite 8 team(1974, lost to National Champion NC State) and best PITT pro player EVER)

Don Hennon at Guard (held most Pitt scoring records until very recently)

Comment by EMel 11.16.11 @ 1:19 am

Yeah Don Hennon was slightly pre-BigEast and slightly pre-Eastern 8. In fact he was like… way back in the late 1950’s. And he was my mother’s Doctor and when she told him, her son (me) knew about him, he was amazed.

Hey, what can I say, I also know about Pitt’s undefeated, un-scored upon team of 1910 and the Pitt ‘fighting dentists’, who were also undefeated. Not to mention, Pitt’s Dream Backfield of the 1930’s who played in several Rose Bowl games.

Comment by EMel 11.16.11 @ 1:27 am

I don’t usually kick in with BB stuff but you have to have Chris Mullin in there as well as Sleepy Floyd.

Forget scoring, which they both did, but those two guys took over games and ran their teams on the court to perfection.

Mullin reminded me a lot of Larry Bird in that he was always where the ball was – on both offense and defense. When a rebound came out it was like he could just sense where it would go beforehand… even if it bounced out at some weird angle.

Comment by Reed 11.16.11 @ 7:25 am

change your rules, include iverson! You must!!!

Comment by mike 11.16.11 @ 7:55 am

San Diego Panther 69,k I suggest that you look on the current St John’s roster for the best name in the BE …. and no, it is not a misprint

Comment by wbb 11.16.11 @ 8:27 am

Iverson was not a great college player … yes, he did show a lot of natural ability but his style was much more pertinent to the pro game with 24 second clock and one-on-one play

Comment by wbb 11.16.11 @ 8:35 am

Bowling Green Panther, I defer to you on your picks on the All Pitt Team. However I respectfully disagree with Shawn Miller over Brandon Knight. I think Brandon Knight is the best point gaurd ever to play the point at Pitt. In retrospect, I agree with your placement of Sam Young at the 3 spot. Now that I have had more time to think about the all Pitt Team, I agree with your assessment on the power forward, and 3 guard/small forward positions. Good job.

Comment by Justinian 11.16.11 @ 9:02 am

Emel, we’re putting together the “All Pitt Team”, not just the “Big East All Pitt Team”. Because any discussion of an all Pitt team without Billy Knight, who predated Pitt’s joining the Big East, would be an injustice. Therefore, it’s ok for us to put Billy Knight and Sam Clancy on the team.

Comment by Justinian 11.16.11 @ 9:10 am

Is this chick D-T-F?

Comment by Yup 11.16.11 @ 9:49 am

Totally confused. The Pitt Web site is saying the game tonight is on ESPNU, but the ESPN Web site says it’s the Ohio v BG football game. Which is correct?

Comment by Carmen 11.16.11 @ 9:51 am

never saw Don Hennon play (even though I grew up pretty close to his hometown) but I have read and have been told that if the 3-point line was in effect when he played, he would have all of the scoring records, and have been told that he was a great ballhandler .. but not sure about his defense.

I do know that he was 1st team all-american in late 50s along side the likes of Jerry West and Oscar Robertson.

I consider Billy Knight to be the best ever from my observation which goes back to mid 60s

Comment by wbb 11.16.11 @ 9:56 am

game is on ESPNU

Comment by wbb 11.16.11 @ 9:57 am

Ohio-BG is on ESPN. Pitt, ESPNU

Comment by velvil 11.16.11 @ 9:58 am

@wbb, Gods’gift, Sir’Dominic or Moe???? LOL!!

Comment by Dan 11.16.11 @ 9:59 am

Oh Ok, All-Time PITT Teams

1rst Team
Center – Charles Smith
Forward – Billy Knight
Forward – Jerome Lane
Guard – Don Hennon
Guard – Charley Hyatt

2nd Team
Center – DeJuan Blair
Forward – Sam Young
Forward – Clyde Vaughn
Guard – LeVance Fields
Guard – Brandin Knight

3rd Team
Center – Aaron Gray
Forward – Sam Clancy
Forward – Brian Shorter
Guard – Sean Miller
Guard – Carl Krauser

4rth Team
Center – Bobby Martin
Forward – Larry Harris
Forward – Ricardo Greer
Guard – Jason Matthews
Guard – Vonteego Cummings

Comment by EMel 11.16.11 @ 11:11 am

Dan take your pick …. I was originally referring to God’sgift Achiuwa but if you think Sir’Dominic Pointer is better, fine.

Note that these both are real first names .. and not nicknames.

Comment by wbb 11.16.11 @ 11:13 am

Ha ha, ya, figured that was the one wbb!!! Good stuff!!

Comment by Dan 11.16.11 @ 11:35 am

If you saw Sam Clancy play you would not put him on 3rd team.
He is first team as is melvin bennett.
I was there the night he out played and dominated
sam bowie who was 7 foot 1 and sam was 6 foot 5.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.16.11 @ 12:25 pm

Wow! Some great names and great memories of Pitt basketball here. Surprised that no one mentioned Julius Page, at least for honorable mention if not the All-Dunk team.

Comment by TampaT 11.16.11 @ 12:41 pm


Yea I had a tough time deciding on Sam Young or Sam Clancy for 2nd team. It could have been the other way just as easy. I decided Young’s team was a lot better and he was drafted by the NBA(like Clancy), but he made the team(Clancy did not) and was actually starting for an NBA team that made the playoffs last year. I also thought of putting Clancy at Center since he did play some Center for Pitt since he was such a great rebounder.

Couldn’t put Melvin Bennett on any of the first 4 teams, as he only played one year at Pitt(and left for the ABA, 1rst round draft pick) and while he was very good, he still ONLY averaged around 11 points a game as a true freshmen.
Just who would you delete at Center? All the ones I listed score over a 1000 points at PITT, with Smith being PITT’s alltime leading scorer with over 2000 points. Only Smith & Clyde Vaughn scored over 2000 points at PITT.

Comment by EMel 11.16.11 @ 12:03 pm

Oh and actually I played against the great Sam Clancy & the 1976 PA. AAA (before Quad A)State Champion, Fifth Ave. High School, who went UNDEFEATED that year. One of PA’s greatest High School teams. So believe me, that was a real tough choice.

link to

Comment by EMel 11.16.11 @ 12:14 pm

Tonight’s game isn’t not going to be easy.
Especially with the way we played against Rider the other nite.

Casper Ware was the BigWest Player of the year last year. And he is a player, coming from Watts, LA.
Big test for Woodall tonite.

Long Beach State also starts 3 other senior starters and they all can play.

So Panthers beware, be focused and be better.

And I be… Emel. haha

Comment by EMel 11.16.11 @ 12:22 pm

EMel only 11 points but he was first or second in the nation in rebounds at 6 foot 7 and was good enough to be a first round chose and i am thinking what they did for pitt not in the pros.

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.16.11 @ 12:38 pm

agree that tonight’s game may be much closer than what many might expect. Long Beach St has much more experience, coming of a 22-11 record, than Pitt.

More importantly, they seem to have a very talented, quick backcourt … doesn’t seem like a favorable match-up. Not sure how good defensively LBS guards are but maybe this will be a good time for our guards to start feeding the low post if they cannot get open shots.

Comment by wbb 11.16.11 @ 12:50 pm

How hot is Ben Howland’s seat in LA? Middle Tennessee State? Ugh…

Comment by ECH 11.16.11 @ 12:50 pm

Frank – are you thinking of Pitt’s upset over Duke and Mike Gminski (1978)? I don’t recall Clancy going up against Bowie in college. I was just starting to attend Pitt hoops when Clancy was in school, and I remember the Duke upset (Pitt lost the next year at Fitzgerald), but I don’t remember them playing Kentucky in either Clancy’s junior or senior years.

Clancy was not the most skilled player, but he was an absolute beast on the boards and could simply take over games with his physicality.

Comment by Pantherman13 11.16.11 @ 12:57 pm

I thought Clancy was before Bowie as well.

@ Justinian, I just follwed your framework and still completely forgot Clyde Vaughn which is unexcusable. Don’t really disagree with Knight over Miller. I don’t think you can go wrong either way.

A lot of great memories and players. Although I loved Lane and agree that he had maybe the single most signature highlight in BE history, I thought Shorter consistently put up much, much better offensive numbers.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 11.16.11 @ 1:15 pm

Chas, you should consider including Dwayne ‘Pearl’ Washington of Syracuse on your Guards list.

My All-Time Big East list:

1rst Team

Center – Patrick Ewing
Forward – Derrick Coleman
Forward – Chris Mullin
Guard – Ray Allen
Guard – Pearl Washington

2nd Team
Center – Alonzo Mourning
Forward – Carmelo Anthony
Forward – Walter Berry
Guard – Mark Jackson
Guard – Troy Bell

3rd team
Center – Charles Smith
Forward – Reggie Williams
Forward – Jerome Lane
Guard – Sherman Douglas
Guard – John Bagley

Comment by EMel 11.16.11 @ 1:40 pm

Chas, agree on your criteria but think you are missing the most important criteria – who are the guys that were the winners, leading teams to BE titles or national championships. Kemba Walker, Melo who I hate, Derrick Coleman who was on the cuse team that lost is 1987…

And for you guys mentioning Vonteego Cummings – really? He underacheived here after coming in with hype.

Comment by pittfan92 11.16.11 @ 1:42 pm

Your right BGPanther.

Brian Shorter was 1rst team All-BigEast his sophomore & junior years and he was a much better offensive player than Lane. Lane was the better rebounder by stats, but in the gym when Shorter was a ineligible freshmen, Shorter could score over and thru both Smith & Lane(just like he did over Mourning & Mutombo, when they were both in the game). If he had been eligible that year, no telling how good PITT could have been, for that was the team that lost to Vandy in the NCAA’s.
(we also lost super sub Rod Brookin in the 2nd half of that year due to academics)

Another ‘what if ‘ moment in Pitt annals.

Comment by EMel 11.16.11 @ 1:49 pm

@ BGP… I agree Shorter > Lane.

I was there from ’85-’89 and was in the house when Lane brought down the backboard. Jerome was a beast on the boards, but his mid-range game was virtually non-existent and he couldn’t hit a foul shot to save his life. He never should have left early for the NBA but he never got along with Evans.

Shorter was a much greater offensive threat (although Jerome was a much better ball handler). Heck the Big East even renamed an award so they could give it to him. They changed the Freshman of the Year award to the Newcomer of the Year award because he missed his freshman year due to Prop 48. If Shorter didn’t get sick/injured his senior year he’s likely a top 10 draft pick averaging 20 and 10 in the BE.

All that said, I could really go either way. Since Lane played 3 years and Shorter really only played 2 effective years, Lane lead the nation in rebounding twice and of course Jerome had the signature moment.

Comment by Pitt89 11.16.11 @ 1:53 pm

Bowie was a freshmen at kentucky 1979 80
sam was also 79 to 80 i think it may have been a all star game. but it was long ago

Comment by FRANKCAN 11.16.11 @ 2:04 pm

@EMel… I lamented that Pitt team earlier in the thread. Shorter was Prop 48 and Brookin also academically ineligible. Plus many people forget that Chris Gatling was also at Pitt (’86-87 I think) but never played and transferred to ODU.

Speaking of Brookin… he provided probably my 2nd favorite Pitt hoops moment between ’85-’89 when he hit the dagger 3 from the corner late in the game in Jan ’89 to seal the win over Oklahoma and Billy Tubbs. Probably the 2nd loudest I ever heard the Fieldhouse next to Jerome’s dunk.

Comment by Pitt89 11.16.11 @ 2:18 pm

Turns out NBE Basketball already did this excercise…

link to

Although Charles Smith at #16 is a travesty. And they have Shorter slightly above Lane.

Comment by Pitt89 11.16.11 @ 3:57 pm

EMel, Pitt89, Justinian, et al:

Can’t agree any stronger with you guys. That 86-87 team (think that was the year) is still the biggest Pitt BB let down for me although others have come close. Despite missing Brookin for most of the season due to grades we were a #2 seed. We beat eventaul national champ Kansas once. We were missing Shorter due to Prop 48 – what kind of a difference do you think that would have been to have had another low post offensive option besides Smith. That is still the best Pitt team in my mind.

Should have been:
Miller, Mathews, Gore, Lane & Smith
Porter, Cavanaugh, Brookin, Shorter & Martin off the bench.

Remember that game against OU well. What did Shorter have? 37 & 12 maybe – monster game. Although I thought our comeback and upset of Georgetown that year (or next?)was just as huge.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 11.16.11 @ 7:51 pm

As far as the all BE team, I really like Emel’s list. Both in terms of names and placement. Iverson, Seikaly, Hamilton, Gordon & Dana Barros might sneak on my list somewhere. MIGHT.

I think Smith is the one Pitt player who has to make it.

Althought I’ve stated my reasons for Shorter over Lane, I agree with Chas that Lane’s signature dunk will resonate stronger than Shorter’s numbers with the rest of the non-Pitt BE crowd.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 11.16.11 @ 7:59 pm

[…] everyone for all the feedback from the first draft of my All-Big East dream team. It’s been fun trying to put this together. And a real pain trying to finish with a complete […]

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