Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dominant College Basketball Players--Early Exits and Beasts

OK, time for another installment of Dominant College Basketball Players. As I mentioned in the last post, this series of entries will culminate in a post examining the 5 most dominant college basketball players since the 1989-90 season.

Category 3: Early Exits

It’s not that these guys were mere flashes in the pan. Rather, their careers were cut short by early entries into the NBA Draft. Because of these early departures and the time it takes for all young players to get acclimated to the college game, their actual periods of dominance were too short for serious consideration for inclusion in the Top 5.

Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse): In just one year, Melo made the jump from Oak Hill high school phenom to the main reason Syracuse finally gave Jim Boeheim a national championship. A big-bodied 3 that could physically dominate other wings and a skilled scorer, Anthony really hit his stride in the tournament. People forget that he was not that incredibly impressive throughout the course of the entire season. One more thing about Melo: he’s a big damn idiot. I’m glad he got suspended for 15 games for sucker punching Mardy Collins and then running away from the physically imposing force that is Jared Jeffries.

Anfernee Hardaway (Memphis): The phrase “upside” may have been created to describe Anfernee Hardaway. An athletic, long point guard, Penny physically dominated his opponents. More than just a floor general, he scored at will in the now defunct Great Midwest Conference (career 20ppg scorer).

Jason Kidd (California): Kidd’s Golden Bears knocked Duke out of the tournament the year after Duke beat Michigan’s Fab Five in the championship game. Kidd was more than a game manager. He was a threat to score and a shut-down defender. He physically dominated other point guards. A real quarterback on the floor. I have no doubt he would have been in the Top 5 had he stayed all 4 years.

Chris Paul (Wake Forest): I was never overly impressed with Paul, but you can’t deny the fact that he is a winner. If anyone questioned Paul’s talent (I know I did), one need look no further than the Demon Deacons’ season last year. With many heralded players returning, including Eric Williams and Justin Gray, Wake didn’t make the tournament and looked like a different team without Paul at the helm. One of the smarter point guards in recent memory. Made everyone around him better.

Jerry Stackhouse (North Carolina): Stackhouse’s sophomore season at Chapel Hill was something to behold. Obviously a physical specimen, Stack could have simply relied on his superior athleticism to get to the hoop. However, Stack had a very mature offensive game and developed an array of moves that would serve him well during his long professional career. While he never seemed to care much for playing defense, he was as skilled a one-on-one offensive performer as I’ve witnessed during my viewing lifetime.

Chris Webber (Michigan): A man among boys in his college days, C-Webb, like Stackhouse, never fell into the trap of relying on his natural abilities to take over games. Still an excellent passer, Webber used to be an excellent finisher on the break and a very explosive player. For all of his athleticism, it was apparent that he would have a long career in the NBA due to his intelligence, passing ability, rebounding instincts, and soft hands.

Category 4: Beasts

These overpowering tweeners were plenty big to play the 4 in college but weren’t long enough, quick enough, or skilled enough to run with the Chris Webbers and Kevin Garnetts of the Association. (Obviously, Elton Brand is an exception here, as he has more than proven capable of being a top tier player in the NBA.) These tweeners entered their freshman years with bulging biceps, thick necks, and broad shoulders (think Paula Abdul early in her career). They were men among boys, and the development of their offensive games may have suffered because of it. Able to rely on their superior strength, they never had to develop go-to offensive moves or jump shots. Unfortunately, in the NBA, the bull rush to the hoop maneuver often results in a charging foul or a rejected shot that lands in the 4th row of the stands.

Elton Brand (Duke): Due to Brand’s leaping prowess and his ability to legitimately play the 5 at Duke, it’s almost a stretch to categorize him in this group. However, few college athletes physically dominated their peers the way Brand did during his stay in Durham. Not coincidentally, Brand's stay at Duke coincided with the only period of my life when I actually rooted for the Blue Devils.

Marcus Fizer (Iowa State): People forget what a force Fizer was during his college career. An almost unstoppable scorer on the blocks or with his face to the basket inside the elbow, he was a career 18.9 ppg scorer for the Cyclones. Fizer admittedly benefited from being fed by Jamaal Tinsley, one of the best college assist men in recent memory.

Danny Fortson (Cincinnati): The transformation of Fortson from college scorer to NBA hack has been pretty much seamless. It’s as if he realized that he would never be a scorer in the NBA, so he just decided to accept his fate as a rebounder and designated personal fouler. As a college player, however, Fortson was dominant on the offensive end. Rather than relying on the bull rush to the hoop (utilized by Fizer), Fortson manhandled weaker players on the blocks. The body language of his opponents suggested that guarding Fortson was akin to being run over by a large vehicle repeatedly for 40 minutes.
Did I leave anyone out?


Blogger Thelonius Monk said...

You left out Shawn Bradley on the Beast list.

In all seriousness, where do you think Big Baby fits in here. He is a bullish player, but suprsingly has an array of offensive moves. He has soft hands and is able to slip through double teams, rather than charging through them.

February 28, 2007 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Natty Bumpo said...

So far, I've decided not to include current players. However, I am thinking about adding that as a separate category in a later post. And I agree with you, Big Baby seems to have more variety to his game then Fortson or Fizer.

February 28, 2007 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Runs With Two Horses said...

Chris Paul? I know he looks great in the NBA, but I just never thought of him as that great at Wake. Maybe his teammate Eric Williams should be on the Beast Honorable Mention list though. I think Omar Cook was much more dominant in his one season at St. John's than Paul was in his two at Wake (but I don't think Cook deserves to be on the list with all the other guys you have listed).

My father used to lash me with a leather belt for staying up past my bedtime, but it was worth it when Jason Kidd and Cal were ESPN's nightcap game.

A guy that fits into both of the categories on this installment is Antonio McDyess. Two short years at Bama, capped off by a completely dominating first weekend in the NCAA tournament (Was it 39 points and 18 rebounds against Penn? Something like that). McDyess's goofy broken nose face mask and lunch pail demeanor made him a Runs favorite for many years.

Lou Roe was undersized, but was beastly in every other regard, so I think you could put him up there.

And of course, the most beastly of them all, Dametri Hill. Da Meat Hook could score 18 points, grab 11 boards, and eat an entire large pizza during a TV timeout. Watching him chase the likes of Walter McCarty up and down the court for 30 minutes left me with many mirthful memories.

February 28, 2007 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Codename Curveball said...

I was surprised to not see Dwayne Wade mentioned in Early Exits. Besides the other accolades, I cannot help but rub this in...he almost single-handedly defeated top ranked Kentucky with a triple double to lead the Golden Eagles into the final four in '03.

February 28, 2007 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Runs With Two Horses said...

Wade did have a pretty outstanding campaign his final year. Even though he only played two seasons, he was redshirted his first year, so that may be why Natty left him off...he wasn't an early enough exit. It's funny that Curveball brings that up, because I completely forgot about the cataclysmic demoralization UK (and myself) suffered at the hands of D-Wade. I also can't recall bludgeoning several homeless people to death later that evening.

I forgot you don't like Marbury, Natty, but I think he's the guy you need to sub in there in place of Chris Paul. One season, and everyone knew the entire year that it was the only collegiate season we would see out of Marbury.

Lester Earl merits mentioning as well.

February 28, 2007 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Natty Bumpo said...

Both D-Wade and McDyess are going to be included in a category reserved for players that blew up in the Big Dance.

February 28, 2007 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Runs With Two Horses said...

They really did blow up in the Big Dance, and I just blew up in my pants. You like them rhymes, Leonard?

March 1, 2007 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Leonard Peltier said...

Of course I like the rhymes.
Is Corliss not a Beast?
A scorer and a terror
Just to say the least

March 1, 2007 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger the butler said...

Although he was never as great in the NBA as he was in college, you MUST include Christian Laettner in there somewhere.

Four Final Fours, Two Rings. That shot against Kentucky.

NCAA Tournament Records:
Most Career Points scored
Most Career Games played

March 1, 2007 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Natty Bumpo said...

Don't you fret, the butler. The Laettner will be included very soon. He was far too dominant to be included in any of the categories revealed thus far, though.

March 1, 2007 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Natty Bumpo said...

That's one stupid rhyme, my man. However, your instinct is a good one. Corliss is a beast. But I have something special in mind for that glorious Razorback.

March 1, 2007 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Jumping Bull said...

Fizer used to cut like razor-wire,
Blazed nets like wild-fire,
Took oops from Jamaal
like he was 10 feet tall,
But now stuck in the D-leauge mire.

March 1, 2007 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Leonard Peltier said...

Let me intervene
Speaking of the mire
JB's stinky ass
Smells like burning tires
It takes over my house
Like alien invaders
It even stinks worse than
Art Shell's Raiders
So for these stinky odors
We just have you to thank
My friend, your ass is like
a German septic tank.

March 1, 2007 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger the butler said...

Nice, nice...sorry to be such a damn gun-jumper.

By the way I love the post- I've been looking around (for like, 15 whole minutes!) for good college b-ball stats from past years to try to figure out who was "left out" and can't find much.

For scoring how 'bout your UNLV boy J.R. "call me Isaiah for no reason" Rider, and Shawn Respert from Mich. St.

For Early birds, Kenny Anderson maybe. But the five you have up there are hard to argue with.

March 1, 2007 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Natty Bumpo said...

My thoughts:
I probably wasn't familiar enough with Rider's body of work to give him adequate consideration. I actually do remember Kenny Anderson's days at GaTech, but I left him out because I always thought Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott were more important to the Yellowjackets' success. Finally, I'm pretty sure Runs with Two Horses is going to fall in love with you based on your Shawn Respert comment.

March 1, 2007 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Leonard Peltier said...

Random observation: If you scroll down from the top of this page really quickly, it's easy to mistake 'Melo for the lovely Lady Vol Candace Parker. Natty says she's a little tall, but we both agree that she has a good face.
To clarify, Natty does like tall girls, just not ones that are tall enough to dunk. Short girls make him think of fruit bats, and as we all know, fruit bats make him throw up in his mouth.

March 1, 2007 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Jumping Bull said...

Like a German tank I’ll make an explosion,
Laying fat beats you can’t lick ‘cause they’re frozen
It’s getting hot in here, so get Leonard a fan,
Just call me Chucky P, I’m the Rifleman,
I’ll let you get a good look before I drop the rock,
Making it rain with threes like Adam Jones on the block.
Some call me pretentious, but what they don’t know,
Is that when they turn out the lights my rhymes start to flow.
Burning tires? That’s funny, ‘cause your mom didn’t think so,
When I gave her that Hot Karl, she was lovin’ the show.

March 1, 2007 at 4:34 PM  

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