James Taylor - Writer, Policy Analyst, Radio Host, Public Speaker

  1. My All-Time Big East Basketball Team

    February 11, 2013 by James

    That “Just Chilling” section on my webpage is there for a reason! And here is my initial post:

    During Saturday evening’s classic 5-overtime college basketball game between Louisville and Notre Dame (which kept me up until 1:00 am), iconic broadcaster Dick Vitale offered his picks for an All-Time Big East team. If I recall correctly, he picked:

    Point Guard: Allen Iverson (Georgetown)
    Shooting Guard: Chris Mullin (St. John’s)
    Small Forward: Ray Allen (Connecticut)
    Power Forward: Derrick Coleman (Syracuse)
    Center: Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)

    Bench: Pearl Washington (Syracuse)
    Bench: Sherman Douglas (Syracuse)

    I hate to disagree with Dick Vitale about anything, but here are my picks:

    Point Guard: Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
    Shooting Guard: Chris Mullin (St. John’s)
    Small Forward: Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse)
    Power Forward: Derrick Coleman (Syracuse)
    Center: Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)

    Bench: Allen Iverson (Georgetown)
    Bench: Richard Hamilton (Connecticut)
    Bench: Ray Allen (Connecticut)

    Here are my thoughts regarding my picks:

    Allen Iverson may have been a phenomenal scorer and defender, but he never led Georgetown to a Final Four, let alone a national championship. Iverson, moreover, had some pretty decent supporting talent on those mid-1990s Georgetown teams. Kemba Walker, however, put together one of the best seasons in college basketball history. His supporting cast consisted of freshmen and sophomores of only marginal talent. Every time he took the court during UConn’s national championship season, the entire opposing team concentrated on shutting him down. Yet Kemba prevailed in historic fashion. Kemba may have only been a superstar for one year, but it was a superstar year of historic proportions. I would rank Kemba as the greatest player in UConn history, in a close call over Richard Hamilton, Ray Allen, and Donyell Marshall.

    I would make a similar argument for Carmelo Anthony over Ray Allen. Ray was an outstanding natural scorer, but he never carried some very talented UConn teams to a Final Four. Carmelo, however, put Syracuse on his back and brought the Orangemen a long-overdue National Championship. Again, Anthony’s Big East star burned ever-so-briefly (due to his early departure for the NBA), but what a star it was!

    Leading your team to a Final Four and/or National Championship is not a prerequisite for All-Time Big East honors, but in my book it is a powerful tie-breaker.

    I LOVE Big East basketball. Why, oh why, are you going away?!!!