This year I am taking part in Volvo’s”Biggest Fan of the BIG EAST” contest, where a representative for each of the 16 schools compete in all sorts of social media and blog challenges throughout the season. Obviously, I am the Providence College contestant hopefully not destined to finish in the same spot as the actual Friars over the past two seasons.
Volvo has posted an initial video taken during BIG EAST Media Day. If you blink, you may miss me towards the end. Do I really sound like that? Anyways, head on over to the contest page and give me a vote. It would be much appreciated.
The first challenge has been posted, and I have to come up with my All-Time BIG EAST Dream Team. The question was pretty open ended, as the only real rule is that the player actually had to play in the BIG EAST (So no Marvin Barnes unfortunately, which is a shame because threatening people with tire irons is the kind of quality I’m looking for in building a superteam). However, I would like to put forth some of my own rules for creating the team.
1. Limit UCONN players as much as possible: It would be downright criminal to avoid one certain player from Storrs, but you know what? I’d like to leave the rest of these clowns off my team. Several National Champions be damned. I’m trying to run a clean program here, you know?
2. NO Jerome Lane: When I was a kid, I always thought it was pretty cool that some dude broke the backboard glass on a dunk. I probably even laughed at the poor loser team Lane did it against. That was before I became an obsessed Providence Friar fan. Now, every time I see that stupid clip (and it’s played ALOT) I just can’t enjoy Bill Raftery’s “SEND IN JEROME”. That’s not what I want PC to be known for, and I don’t want this guy on my team to remind me of it.
3. NO Charles Smith: Great player on Pitt, but his face reminds me of an endless loop of getting blocked in a critical spot against the Chicago Bulls in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals. Yep, I am a bitter Knicks fan.
4: Don’t be too much of a homer: Everyone knows how much I love Ryan Gomes, and I’ll try not to let the fact that no BIG EAST player has ever scored more points in a BIG EAST game than Marshon Brooks factor in too much.
What I will try to do is come up with a perfect mixture of my earliest sports memories of watching BIG EAST basketball as a kid, my time as a PC student going to a boatload of games, and all the great basketball I have been watching and reading about since graduating. Everyone knows about all the stats and bios of these players, so I’ll try to add personal twists to why I would want them on my team.
Check out who made the team after The Jump.
Lou Carnesecca – St. John’s
Mainly for the sweaters. He was an awesome coach too.
Jim Boeheim – Syracuse
John Thompson II – Georgetown
Keno Davis – Providence
THE STARTING FIVE
C – Patrick Ewing – Georgetown
When I was a kid as a big St. John’s fan in the mid-eighties, I absolutely despised Patrick Ewing. I hated everything about the Georgetown Hoyas, and Ewing exemplified everything they were about. When the Hoya Suxa beat the Johnnies in the 1985 Final Four, I probably cried. I didn’t learn to love and appreciate big 33 until David Stern orchestrated his drafting to the New York Knicks. Ewing was simply dominant in college, and appeared in three Final Fours to go with a National Championship. Should I be concerned with the Ewing Theory, in that my All-TIme BIG EAST Dream Team might actually be better off without him? No, because I am going to surround him with players that are better John Starks. Game 6, F$%$#&#*. Did I mention I was a bitter Knicks fan?
F – Chris Mullin – St. John’s
While I often imitated his teammate Mark Jackson’s free throw motion, I could only dream of being the shooter that Chris Mullin was for the Red Men (Not Red Storm!). When he played for the Warriors after college, I remember my parents taking me to a Nets-Warriors game at the Meadowlands. I waited along the visiting team’s tunnel before the game hoping to catch Mullin coming in. OMG THERE HE IS. I asked him for his autograph, but he told me he would definitely do it after the game. What, was he concentrating on warming up for an NBA game or something? Did he not see my St. John’s sweatshirt on? Anyways, after the game I waited again but he must have forgotten his promise. CURSE YOU CHRIS MULLIN. Despite his snubbing of 7-year old me, I am still putting him in my starting lineup. Maybe in the 2nd practice (I don’t want to sound too pushy) I’ll ask him for his autograph once again.
F – Carmelo Anthony – Syracuse
Melo is another player I didn’t particular care for during his time in the BIG EAST, 99.1% (with < 1% error) because he played for Syracuse. However, the guy did single-handely win a National Championship as a freshman and is one of the top NBA players today. His biggest feat? Getting me to watch and care for the Knicks again after a decade of apathy.
G – Ray Allen – UConn
I guess I’ll need another shooter in the starting lineup, and this guy was pretty decent at that. Sorry UConn, you have used up all of your player slots! All UConn hatred aside, Ray Allen is one of the best all-time shooters, and his game winning shot / crazy mid-air leg twitchy thing in the 1996 BIG EAST Tournament Championship Game against Iverson and Georgetown is one of the great moments in the conference’s rich history.
G – Allen Iverson – Georgetown
Sorry God Shammgod, even though you taught Kobe Bryant his crossover and probably had the best handle in the BIG EAST ever, I’m going to have to pick Allen Iverson here as the floor general. Mainly because I’ll need to inject some comedy into the post-game press conferences.
F – Walter Berry – St. John’s
On top of being a great player, Walter Berry produced one of my earliest sports memories. In the 1986 BIG EAST Tournament title game, Berry blocked a layup by Syracuse’s “Pearl” Washington in the waning seconds to give the Johnnies their 2nd BE title. I can’t tell you how many times my dad, brother, and I watched the end of that game on our worn out VHS tape. Unfortunately, that tape was still in my Mom’s basement during one of the many floods she has had over the past several years. So, if anyone from the BIG EAST is actually reading this, I would love to get a whole copy of that game to re-watch!
G – John Linehan – Providence
Even though I promised myself I wouldn’t be a homer, this is going to sound like a homer pick. I could have picked Gomes, but as much as I love the guy, there are other players with similar skills. But John Linehan? One of the best defensive guards in the history of the conference. Don’t believe me? Here is what UConn coach Jim Calhoun said about Linehan during his senior season.
“I’m going to come to John Linehan’s graduation. I’ll give him a limo. He’s the biggest pain in the rear I’ve ever played against. We played against Alonzo Mourning and other people, but he’s just terrific. You wouldn’t think a guy 5’9″ could change a game, but he does. He’s really almost a one-man trap.”
Still not convinced? How about this guy named Kobe Bryant, who said this when asked who was the best defender he has ever faced.
“You may laugh, but it’s a guy named John Linehan”
So yeah, I’m bringing this guy off the bench to neutralize ANY guard on the opposing team.
G – Sherman Douglas – Syracuse
Fun fact about me. One time I went to a Nets game when I was in high school with three friends. For some inexplicable reason, we all wore a big letter in red marker on a white t-shirt to spell out SHERM. During the game, he pointed at us. It was awesome.
F – Derrick Coleman – Syracuse
DC wears BK’s. Despite being a great all-around player in the BIG EAST, his lame shoe endorsements back in the day are how I remember him.
F – Ed Pinckney – Villanova
It may take a few days to not continually eff up the spelling of his name, but if I’m going to be taking my team and playing other Dream Team’s of sorts, Ed Pinckney is an absolute must for the squad. While he bounced around the NBA for a long time and didn’t quite capture his college success, Pinckney played a vital role in the “Perfect Upset” against a highly favored Georgetown squad in the 1985 NCAA Championship. That’s Derek Jeter tangibles stuff.
G – Troy Bell – Boston College
I feel a little dirty picking a player from one of the original traitors as well as being a big Providence rival. However, I feel like I have defense covered on the team and could use a pure scorer off the bench. Bell played against Providence while I was a student there, so I saw first hand what he was able to do offensively. The guy drove me nuts, because he helped a Boston College team that wasn’t supposed to be very good and turned them into constant pains in the ass. Oh, and his lead recruiter for BC? Then assistant coach Ed Cooley. That plus the fact that he was dominant in multiple seasons gives him the edge over Marshon Brooks.
C – Alonzo Mourning – Georgetown
I hated him in college, and I really really hated him in the NBA. I mean, who hangs on a coach’s leg half his size during a brawl? Despite the fire-spitting hatred, I could use him to give Ewing a breather. Or just hire a coach on the premise that he never allows him to foot on the court. Would be crazy not to include him on the team, I guess.
These guys missed the cut, but should keep their weekends open (I would imagine these fake dream team games would happen on the weekends) in case one of my other guys suffers fake injuries.
Pearl Washington, Richard Hamilton, Kerry Kittles, Emeka Okafor, Michael Smith
So there you have it. My All-Time BIG EAST Dream Team. What do you think?