As part of Volvo’s (@VolvoCars_US) “Biggest Fan of the BIG EAST” contest, I have been tasked with creating the All-Time Conference Dream Team. It took a long time to narrow down the list and I still wish I could have included many others that are entirely deserving, but in the end there can only be 12. Without further ado, here is my “Dream Team.” (I don’t have to give a shoutout to Vince Young do I? Really hope he hasn’t copyrighted the term.)
Center: Patrick Ewing, Georgetown
The Hall of Famer is a shoe-in here. He is one of the most highly recruited players in the history of college basketball, even in 1980. Big Pat was one of the first freshman ever to star on his college team and is also one of the first players to wear a short-sleeved t-shirt under his jersey, a common trend of current players now. While these aren’t necessarily “important” stats, Ewing did bring the BIG EAST Conference its first-ever National title in 1984 and nearly made it two championships during his senior season before falling to Villanova in the title game.
Power Forward: Derrick Coleman, Syracuse
From his accomplishments at ‘Cuse, he became the No. 1 overall pick by the New Jersey Nets in the 1990 NBA draft. Even though he never became the player that Charles Barkley and Karl Malone were, that should not take away from what he did for the Orange. His No. 44 jersey is now retired at Syracuse and he was an NCAA All-American First Team selection and BIG EAST Player of the Year in 1990.
This has nothing to do with my St. John’s bias. He has recently been inducted to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, large in part because of what he accomplished for the Johnnies. He is the conference’s only three-time Player of the Year and was a member of the 1984 United States National Team, as well as a member of the 1992 “Dream Team,” along with Patrick Ewing. A Brooklyn native, Mulllin averaged 16.6 PPG as a rookie with STJ before being named league POY and an All-American in three-straight seasons.
Shooting Guard: Ray Allen
Allen will go down at the best or second best (dap to Reggie) 3-point shooter in basketball history, but at UConn he was thought to be potentially the next Jordan. The man some know as “Jesus Shuttleswoth,” showed why at Connecticut. He earned All-America honors and was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the year in 1995. In his senior season he was a first-team All-American and was also the BIG EAST Player of the Year. (I realize that this is probably my Celtics bias standing out as I probably should have put Carmelo at SF and Mullin at SG).
Point Guard: Allen Iverson
Another NBA No. 1 overall pick, Iverson is a man who put together one of the greatest freshman seasons in BIG EAST history (yes I recognize Carmelo as 1A), as he scored a conference record 357 points in his rookie campaign. Possibly JTII’s best recruit (although Ewing probably deserves the title), AI earned league Rookie of the Year honors and two Defensive Player of the Year nods. He ended his college career as the Hoya’s all-time leader in scoring average with 23. PPG.
6. Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse – A man that will probably be in most’s starting five, he won a National Championship in his only season at Syracuse and was considered to be in the running as the NBA’s No. 1 overall pick, before LeBron-mania took over. He definitely should have went No. 2, but we all know how much Joe Dumars loves men with the name Darko… did that come out wrong?
7. Kemba Walker, UConn – He single-handedly led UConn on one of the greatest runs in college basketball history last year, running through the BIG EAST Championship (apologies to Gary McGhee) and then on to the NCAA title.
8. Mark Jackson, St. John’s – He holds the BIG EAST record with 150 assists in a season in his 1985-86 campaign and could have easily been the starting point guard on this team, but Iverson shear skill level put him over for me. If in-game announcing skills were factored in, he would be bumped up a few spots.
9. Alozno Mourning, Georgetown – Mourning still holds the BIG EAST record with 26 free throws attempted in game (made 18) and shows just how dominant he was down low for the Hoyas. “Zo” led the nation in blocks in his rookie year and was an All-American before being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft.
10. Richard Hamilton, UConn – Even though he is more well-known for his face-mask these days, “Rip” was Connecticut’s silky smooth scorer with cut-off tee under his jersey in UConn’s run to the 1999 NCAA title where he was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
11. Dwayne Washington, Syracuse – “Pearl” makes it three players in-a-row with fantastic nicknames. The playground phenom was the No. 1 overall ranked high school player before going to ‘Cuse. The master of the shake-and-bake would be on seven of ESPN’s Top 10 plays if he were playing right now.
12. Walter Berry, St. John’s – Berry stayed home to play for St. John’s and won the John Wooden Award and BIG EAST Player of the Year honors, plus USBWA College Player of the Year accolades in 1986, averaging 23 points and 11.1 rebounds.
Head Coach – Lou Carnesecca, St. John’s
Assistant Coaches – John Thompson, Georgetown; Jim Boeheim, Syracuse; Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
Just Missed the Cut
Dikembe Mutombo, Georgetown
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Emeka Okafor, UConn
Ed Pinckney, Villanova
Rudy Gay, UConn
Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia
Metta World Peace, St. John’s
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
Kerry Kittles, Villanova
Gerry McNamara, Syracuse
Marcus Hatten, St. John’s
Mike Sweetney, Georgetown
Terry Dehere, Seton Hall
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