ESPN.com is currently running a list of the 25 greatest college basketball players of all time and it looks like each day they unveil another. Well right now their list is down to #9 which is Larry Bird and some may agree or disagree with that as well as the ridiculous fact that Michael Jordan is #13, but that is an argument for another day.
When I look at this list, I really have nothing to think and that is simply because either I was not around when most of these players played or I was too damn young to watch and actually comprehend their greatness. At a ripe age of 26 (February 17th birthday, same as Michael Jordan! Whoo!) I’ve seen my fair share of greatness and I don’t feel the need to look back to the black and white non-three point shooting days to come up with a solid list.
This list may look absurd when it’s over with, but these are the players that stand out in my mind without having to dig for hours on end looking through ancient internet stat machines. Here is my list of the top 10 greatest from my era!
10. J.J. Redick, Duke: I can’t believe I just put a Dukie on this friggin’ list! Plus, it’s the Duke player I probably hate more than any other Dukie ever; I guess that is why J.J. makes this list. He will probably go down as one of the greatest shooters in the history of college basketball and also the most despised, trash talked, and taunted. The kid had a killer instinct that few college players have ever had and his game meshed perfectly with Coach K. I’m sure once he gets waived by 5 teams in the next 2 years we’ll be seeing him next to Steve ‘stop slapping the floor you annoying moron’ Wojciechowski as the newest Dukie assistant. At least he couldn’t win the big one!
9. Corliss Williamson, Arkansas: Corliss was such a pimp in college! I was in the 8th grade when Arkansas returned to the NCAA Championship to face the evil O’Bannon’s of UCLA and I had so much anger towards the Bruins that I actually went out and conned my grandma into buying me a $70 Corliss jersey to rep the day of the game. Of course they lost and I looked like a fool; actually is was a pretty ill jersey. Loved Corliss!
8. Miles Simon & Mike Bibby, Arizona: The Simon/Bibby combo has to go down as one of the most exciting ever! These two brought the Arizona Wildcats to the unthinkable back in 1997 and gave me so many bragging rights as a little freshman! I rocked my AZ game shorts for about 2 weeks after they handed Kentucky an overtime loss for the National Chip. It’s too bad Simon was never the NBA star I sure wanted him to be, but at least I had Bibby to love. Of course Bibby played for the Queens of Sacramento and could never quite replicate what he did in college (Should have signed Simon!).
7. Marcus Camby, UMASS: How dominant was Camby and his boys up at the University of Massachusetts? Camby practically turned John Calipari into a hall of fame coach and put UMass on the map as a college powerhouse. Camby led one of the last teams to threaten Bob Knight with an undefeated season only to lose just before entering the tourney. He was amazing to watch and still is today even soley as a defensive presence. At least he made it in the NBA.
6. Juan Dixon, Maryland: Juan had the touching story, the tiny stature and a gigantic heart. Watching Juan and Steve Blake battle Jay Williams and Carlos Boozer for those short few years will stick in my mind as some of the greatest contests ever. Juan single handedly made the North Carolina vs. Duke rivalry seem amateur while carrying the Maryland hoops program to the national stage. Thank you again for not letting Duke win a title.
5. Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton, UConn: Game winner. Game winner. Game winner. The skinniest player college basketball had ever seen was able to carry an entire team on his back and run them straight through to a national title by defeating those damn Duke Blue Devils. Thank you Rip.
4. Kevin Durant, Texas: As the only freshman to ever win National Player of the Year in college basketball, Kevin Durant blew our minds in 2007. At 6’10” with a 25′ wingspan, we’ve never seen anything quite like him and probably won’t for years to come. If only he had a supporting cast last year we may have seen the second coming of Carmelo Anthony. Now he just needs to pack on some damn pounds and start dominating at the next level; he will in time.
3. Mateen Cleaves, Michigan State: A picture is all you need for this one.
2. Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse: The guy came for one year, dominated the hell out of everyone and left with an NCAA Championship. During a time when athletes could jump from high school to the NBA, Melo decided to take his one year in college and came away as one of the greats. It was surprising to see a freshman play with such ease and completely command the court the way he did. He had a solid supporting cast, but it really came down to his unforgettable play and love-able smile. Oh Melo, we love you!
1. Chris Webber, Michigan: The Fab Five! The black socks! The gifts! The timeout! You may not have won that NCAA Championship with your back-to-back trips, but you at least left us with the most ridiculous decision in the history of the game. You called a timeout without having any left! You were the best player on the planet and had a chance to take over the game and instead you panicked. I guess it’s OK Chris, you still had a hell of a career but we’ll never forget you, or that play. And what the hell were you thinking giving Duke a championship?