I was born in 1981 and 1982. My first college basketball memory dates back to the 1988 National Championship Game between Kansas and Oklahoma. The first full season I remember is the 1988-89 season, which ended with Michigan defeating Seton Hall in the National Championship Game. I have listed the Top 40 programs based on the individual talent of what I consider their best player at each position from 1988-89 season to the present. To make things interesting, I have added a 6th man. Without further ado, here is my Top 40 and 5 also-rans.
· Arguably 4 of the best college players of the last 20yrs at the 1-4 spots. (The center and the 6th man aren’t too shabby either.)
· Jason Williams, in my opinion was the most dominant player in college basketball since 1988.
· If you have any doubts as to the caliber of player Duke has been producing over the past 2 decades, take a look at the players who didn’t make the cut: Bobby Hurley, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Trajan Langdon, Shelden Williams, Chris Duhon, and Cherokee Parks (just wanted to make sure you were paying attention).
· My all-time favorite Blue Devil: Nate James.
· What does Coach K have against developing his bench these days (because you know the guys he won’t play this year are going to be All-Americans next year)?
· Why are all the Blue Devils such douche bags?
· Honestly, does anyone understand how a team with Jacque Vaughn, Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz, and Scot Pollard did not win a title? The only possible answer is that the ’96 Kentucky Wildcats really were just that good.
· It should also be noted that the Adonis Jordan/Rex Walters backcourt of the early 90s was incredibly cool. On a similar note, why did Drew Gooden go from being one of the more likable and stylish players on the college circuit to being a giant bald idiot who sports knee-high black socks and jersey number 90 in the pros?
3) North Carolina
· I’m not a Vince Carter fan, but I feel strange not putting him on this team. He really has been a far better pro, but it still feels like he should be on this team.
· Is it just me, or did Ed Cota suit up for the Tar Heels from 1989-2001? It seemed like he entered during the J.R. Reid/King Rice era and graduated during the Jason Capel years.
· Also, Eric Montross is a giant dork. I hate that he’s on this team, and watching him play always made me feel awkward.
· I’m pretty sure Sheed had that plug of hair missing back in college, too.
· Sheed’s tattoo is the best tattoo ever.
· Very hard not to put George Lynch on this team. He was one heck of a college player.
· Tyler Hansbrough is the second coming of Karl Malone.
· With the exception of the ’90 Runnin’ Rebs, the ’96 Cats were the most dominant team of the past 20 years—super deep, incredible chemistry, and look at all of the future pros on that roster.
· UK fans are without a doubt the most irrational fans on the planet. That being said, I’m sure many will criticize my decision not to put either Jeff Shepard or Chuck Hayes on this team. In fact, I think there are many grown men in the Bluegrass State who still have man-crushes on Deron Feldhaus.
· Hey, Scott Padgett, don’t “what’s up?” me, bitch.
· I pretty much came to the conclusion that Khalid El-Amin and Ben Gordon were of equal value to their respective teams. However, Khalid was a natural point, and he’s fat. (note: The use of “being fat” as a tiebreaker cuts both ways. C'est la vie.)
· This is one hell of a team; is it not?
· I really didn’t even consider putting Rudy Gay on this team. He’s very talented, but he disappears from large parts of games. I think he lacks a killer instinct.
· For one year, Caron Butler was the man. Just unstoppable.
· I like Jim Calhoun about as much as I like drinking urine. I like Josh Boone even less. (I had a friend who drank pee back in grade school. During truth-or-dare, he would pee into the toilet, scoop out a little with a paper cup, and drink it. Surprisingly, he was homeless for a period of time.)
· I don’t know how I feel about Robert Traylor being the 6th man. Jamal Crawford? Mo Taylor? Maceo Baston? Loy Vaught?
· Jalen Rose is my favorite player of all time. I’m going to go on record and say that he is the coolest person (and perhaps the most influential person) of both the 20th and 21st centuries. Hip hop music and people of all skin colors owe a great debt to number 5.
· I rank Mitch Albom’s “Fab Five” as the 6th best book of all-time. Just below Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and just above Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.”
· Here is an example of the fat tiebreaker cutting against an overweight individual. Jerry McNamara gets the edge over Sherman Douglas. With the Big East Tournament fresh on my mind, I don’t know if this was a wise decision…probably not.
· Billy Owens gets the edge over Hakim Warrick at the 6th man slot. I think this is because Billy Owens, like Todd Day and Antoine Walker, was insanely versatile. If he was a baseball player, I believe they would call him a 5-tool player.
· John Wallace is one of the most underrated college basketball players of the last 20 years.
· Lawrence Moten was one of the best players on the offensive side of the ball that I’ve ever seen.
· Why do I get the feeling that this Devendorf kid would eat crack if he thought it would give him more street cred? On a related note, if Devendorf shaved his chin strap, would his hair fly off?
· My favorite Orange (Oranges?, Orangemen?) of all-time: Josh Pace and Lazarus Sims.
8) Wake Forest
· Surprised by how good this team is?
· It was hard not to use Darius Songaila as the 6th man.
· I love Josh Howard. Does the dirty work but can take a game over when he needs to.
· I think Demon Deacons is a great nickname.
· Why has Eric Williams slowly turned into Chewbacca over the course of his career at Wake?
· When I was younger I was obsessed with UNLV. I wanted to be Moses Scurry. Scurry didn’t even start for them, but that’s who I wanted to be. Similarly, when I was a child, if you gave me the choice to become any NFL player, I would have chosen Broderick Thomas. His hair was very cool.
· What happened to Anderson Hunt? Greg Anthony had a pretty good career in the NBA, and Hunt was just as good. An undersized, 2 but you’d think he’d at least make a ripple in the league.
· I thought it was funny that Stacy Augmon had a shoe created for him by Adidas.
· The ’90 UNLV team was the best team I’ve ever seen.
· When I was in 7th grade, I wrote a letter to Jerry Tarkanian (when he was at Fresno State). I told him not to let the NCAA get him down and that I wanted to play for him someday. The Shark wrote back. He never recruited me, but he wrote back.
· It’s hard for me to put Marco Killingsworth on the IU roster. He only played one year for the Hoosiers, but it was a heck of a year. I kind of feel obligated to put Matt Nover or Brian Evans on the team just because of the whole square-jawed, flattop-wearing white guy thing that seems to epitomize IU basketball. (Do you wear a haircut?)
· Todd Lindeman was the Bill Laimbeer of the Big 10 for 4 glorious years.
· The Lyndon Johnson/Jay Edwards backcourt was one of the most underrated backcourts ever. I grew up on those bitches.
· Greg Graham was to Calbert Cheaney what Scottie Pippen was to Michael Jordan.
· The Hoosiers have the best uniforms in college basketball today (and the best warm-ups ever).
· D.J. White is the second coming of Danny Manning.
· My all-time favorite Hoosier: Robert Vaden. I like his badunka-dunk.
· Mike Davis will be named UAB’s new coach.
11) Michigan State
· I think I really messed up on this team. Mo Pete at the 4?
· Looking at Paul Davis is a sweet, soft Southern thrill…no, actually, it just makes me want to kill myself.
· Like the Chuck Hayes omission, I feel bad for not putting Charlie Bell on the Spartan roster.
· Why is Victor Page on any roster?
· A few notes on this year’s Hoyas: watching athletes run the Princeton offense makes me happy; Jeff Green is as old school as they come; Roy Hibbert could be special.
· Allen Iverson is to Othella Harrington what Bobby Brown is to Whitney Houston.
· Georgetown’s uniforms during the Allen Iverson era were the best uniforms ever.
G—Chris Jackson (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf)
· This is one big ass team. On a related note, this is the last frontcourt that I would ever want to receive a Cleveland Steamer from.
· Should Randy Livingston replace Ronald Dupree? Me don’t know.
· Tyrus Thomas is frighteningly talented. Unfortunately, he’s also frighteningly similar to Stromile Swift.
· Jaime Lloreda…
· Take a look at the guards that didn’t make the cut: Damon Stoudamire, Michael Dickerson, Andre Iguodala, Khalid Reeves, Hassan Adams, and Jason Gardner.
· I thought this team would be stronger.
· It seems strange to not have Luke Walton on this roster.
· Remember when Bison Dele was Brian Williams. Remember when M. Bison was on Street Fighter. Me, too.
· I own a Clifford Rozier jersey.
· LaBradford Smith should probably be on this team.
· Wheat…the Fastbreak of Champions.
· Dameon Dantzler is the coolest name ever…and apparently, the dumbest.
· I always thought it would be cool to hang out with Larry O’Bannon. I always thought it would not be cool to hang out with Beau Zach Smith.
· Mediocre player U: this entire roster minus B-Diddy and Ed O’Bannon, Jason Kapono (who I hate), Cameron Dollar, Trevor Wilson, J.R. Henderson, Earl Watson, Jelani McCoy, Jordan Farmar, Charles O’Bannon, George Zidek, Trevor Ariza, T.J. Cummings, Jerome Moiso.
· I had a man-crush on Toby Bailey. It lasted until well after he disappeared from the public eye.
· The ’95 Bruins had possibly the best team chemistry I’ve ever witnessed. The Bruins teams since then (almost without exception) have had possibly the worst.
· I like Aaron Afflalo’s game. Good body. Good defender. Handsome man.
· I picked UCLA to win the tourney this year.
· The 6th man could have been Steve Blake, Johnny Rhodes, or Chris Wilcox (who I thought would be the next Shawn Kemp). However, I left T-Mo on because he was the Tim Thomas of college basketball—always one season away from that break-out year.
· I hardly remember the Steve Francis era at Maryland.
· Just as Coach K looks more and more like the Blue Devil each year, Gary Williams looks more like the Terrapin. Or maybe the Blue Devil looks more like Coach K, and the Terrapin looks more like Gary Williams.
· Ryan Minor should be placed on a separate team consisting of him, Jeff Shepard, Sam Jacobson, Bob Sura, and Mike Miller. White two-guards that play like black two-guards.
· As you can see, the 1988 National Championship game had a profound effect on me.
19) Georgia Tech
· I so wanted to put Brian Oliver (the final member of Triple Threat along with Dennis Scott and Kenny Anderson) on this team.
· Malcom Mackey: the forgotten Yellowjacket.
· Eddie Elisma…
· Early departures killed this team’s ranking.
· In case you’re wondering what happened to Matt Geiger, I saw him the other day, and I’m pretty sure he stabbed me. As he drove off on his hog, he yelled something about turning me into his woman. (note: It would be a lie if I said that this story was not untrue.)
G—Nick Van Exel
· I am deathly afraid of Eric Hicks.
· Damon Flint was the coolest player in the past 20 years this side of Jalen Rose. X-Files had a character that apparently was Cancer. (He was the living embodiment of the disease.) Until they revealed that he was Cancer, I think they referred to him as the Smoking Man. Anyway, Damon Flint was Nike, the living embodiment of the apparel line. Every game he wore new shoes. It was like Nike gave him all of their latest stuff a full 2 months before anyone else got it.
· The reason why I wanted Art Long at center: he punched a horse in the face. (I’ve punched a dog in the face, and even a cat, but never a horse—somehow that just seems to cross the line).
· Sergio McClain gets the nod over Brian Cook at the 4. Why? Because when I was a junior in high school, my team played Cook’s team in a summer tournament. The center on my team, a 6’5 white guy that could barely touch the rim named Scotty Bannwart kicked his ass. Also, McClain is to the Illini what Chuck Hayes is to Kentucky and what Charlie Bell is to Michigan State. Don’t bring any of that Marcus Liberty crap, either.
· Bruce Weber seems sweet.
· Very hard not put Corey Beck and Clint McDaniel on this team.
· 2nd coolest name ever (after Dameon Dantzler): Sunday Adebayo.
· Listening to Nolan Richardson talk is like becoming stupid.
· Like Demon Deacons, Razorbacks is a great nickname.
· No, I didn’t forget about Joe Johnson.
· Tide players got better after leaving Tuscaloosa. Witness Horry, Spree, and Dice. Which begs the question: what was Wimp Sanderson doing, because it doesn’t seem like he was coaching?
· I like Jamareo Davidson’s game. Needs to work on his post moves but already has a good face-up game and mid-range jumper.
24) Ohio State
· At what point during Jimmy Jackson’s NBA career did he decide to stop scoring 20 points per game and start scoring 9 points per contest. It was like he went from being really good to really average overnight.
· I think Lawrence Funderburke probably came the closest of all Hoosiers to beating the living hell out of Bobby Knight (before Funderburke transferred to the Buckeyes). It’s too bad that didn’t happen.
· Terrence Dials has weird legs.
· Mike Miller is the Paul Wall of hoops. And by “Paul Wall of hoops,” I mean Mike Miller is an idiot.
· It’s not that I forgot White Chocolate; it’s that I think Justin Hamilton was a great college point guard. He didn’t have great numbers, but he could manage a game.
· Joakim Noah reminds me of the NBA version of Rasheed Wallace. Al Horford reminds me of the college version of Chris Webber.
· mmm…meat hook.
· This school churns out boring players as if its mascot is a tree.
· Why are neither of the Collins twins on this roster? Because they’re incredibly boring (even by Stanford standards).
· Chris Hernandez considered going pro early. Does anyone else think that is funny?
· Adam Keefe may have been the most athletic man in the history of the world. The all-Pac-10 basketball and volleyball player compares favorably to both Jim Thorpe and Achilles.
· I have mixed feelings about Gonzaga. This is a strong starting 5, but, beyond that, not much doing.
· Adam Morrison may be the first college basketball player I’ve ever seen cry during a basketball game. That being said, I would still take him with the number 1 pick in the NBA Draft. Not because I’m convinced he’s going to be a star but because of how weak this draft class is.
· I’m really tempted to break my “no players prior to 1988” rule and put John Stockton on this team.
· Kerry Kittles had the best socks-style ever—one knee-high and one anklet.
· Steve Lappas had the best teeth-style ever—one knee-high and one anklet.
· Alvin Williams was a great college point guard.
29) Oklahoma State
· How is it scientifically possible that Joey Graham was so much better than his twin?
· Brooks Thompson was featured on one of the versions of NBA Jam. I’m really not making that up. (A friend of mine owned the game. I wasn’t very good at it. To make things fair, he would let me pick my team and his team. I would use Larry Johnson and Patrick Ewing with the Knicks. I would give him Bill Curley and Brooks Thompson off of some rookie team.)
· Eddie Sutton always looks like he is wearing one of those wigs that Thomas Jeferson and Ben Franklin wore. Only his wig is drunk and its skin is falling off.
· Who’s worse Joe Shipp or Victor Page? Joe Shipp gets my vote.
· I think Chris Bosh’s career resembles and will continue to resemble Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s career. In other words, he’ll put up great stats on bad teams and will never win a thing.
· Leon Powe is a beast. He’s going to be a good pro. Not an all-star but a solid contributor.
· LaMarcus Aldridge reminds me of Channing Frye, and Channing Frye reminded me of Lisa Leslie before he became a force in the NBA. Take that for what it’s worth.
· It seems like I forgot someone.
· I’m convinced that the Brad Miller that played for the Boilermakers is not the same Brad Miller that now plays for the Kings
· When Brian Cardinal was a senior, he was 33 years old.
· Woody Austin and Cuonzo Martin were actually very solid college players.
· I kind of want to use Drew Brees as the 6th man.
· The same thing I said about Coach K and Gary Williams looking more and more like their schools’ mascots applies to John Chaney.
· Does anyone need to be reminded that John Chaney sent in a “goon” to injure a kid?
· Collins, Jones, and McKie are what you call complete basketball players.
· Rasheed Brokenborough never really panned out.
6th—Darius Washington, Jr.
· Is Dajuan Wagner dead?
· When Rodney Carney dunks, it’s like a fight scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It’s like he glides to the hoop.
35) Notre Dame
· 2 of my all-time favorite college basketball players: LaPhonso Ellis and Monty Williams.
· Why does Torrin Francis wear his shorts like he’s one of those middle school kids from the mid-90s that plays at a school that hasn’t made the transition to baggy shorts from the pre-Fab 5 butt-cutters? I’m glad he’s graduating; I’m tired of staring at his ass.
· In one of the recent versions of NBA Live, Pat Garritty is simply unstoppable. You can have AI, Kobe, T-Mac, KG, and Shaq. Give me Tony Delk, Erick Strickland, Pat Garrity, Walter McCarty, and Wang Zhizi. I will dominate you. Then, we’ll switch teams, and you’ll dominate me.
· Does anyone else think there is obvious tension between Digger Phelps and Dick Vitale?
36) Iowa State
· Surprisingly strong starting five.
· Tim Barnes could have been special.
37) Boston College
· Danya Abrams and Craig Smith: 2 of the best “tweeners” of the past 20 years
· Jared Dudley: the 2nd grimiest player I’ve ever seen.
· Troy Bell had an incredible college career.
· Chris Lofton edges out Ron Slay and Scooter McFadgon by the narrowest of margins.
· I was a huge Marcus Haislip fan. I thought he was going to be a really strong pro. I was wrong.
· Bruce Pearl may be a great coach, but he’s also an obnoxious moron.
· Has anyone seen Through the Fire on ESPN? I saw it and couldn’t help thinking that if life was fair, Jamel Thomas, Sebastian Telfair’s big brother, would have been the one to make it to the Association.
· Eric Murdock…it takes a thief…
· Jalen Rose’s father, Jimmy Walker, was a Friar.
40) St. John’s
· Felipe Lopez: don’t believe the hype.
· Just how full of crap is Mike Jarvis?
· There aren’t many players that are as well-rounded as Malik Sealy was. He could do it all.
First 5 Out:
· Utah should probably be in the Top 40. Andre Miller, Keith Van Horn, Andrew Bogut, Michael Doleac, and Britton Johnson. But who plays the 2?
· Andre Woolridge was one of the best college floor generals this side of Mateen Cleaves.
· Voshon Lenard was Jalen Rose’s high school teammate.
· Carl Crauser: the grimiest player I’ve ever seen.
5) Seton Hall
· Terry Dehere…