Over the course of this offseason we will use Thursday to look back at various events, games, players, anything you want. Think of it as #tbt for Today’sU.com. Some of these will be first-hand accounts or just a rambling about the good ‘ole past. Follow me @uklefty22 for all #tbt posts as well as other ones throughout the week.
Since the calendar hit 2000 and we all survived Y2K, we’ve seen the most talented generation of college basketball. Part of it has to do with the rule change by the NBA to keep players in college basketball for at least one year.
The list of Naismith Award winners from the 2000-01 season through now is rather impressive. It includes Shane Battier, Jason Williams, T.J. Ford, Jameer Nelson, Andrew Bogut, J.J. Redick, Kevin Durant, Tyler Hansbrough, Blake Griffin, Evan Turner, Jimmer Fredette, Anthony Davis, Trey Burke, Doug McDermott and Frank Kaminsky. Not too shabby.
But, are they the truly the best players of this era? Rather, who would make up the All-College Team from that 2000-01 season through 2014-15?
This takes into consideration only the time they played college basketball. Don’t try to think about how they transitioned into the NBA or how long they played in college. Sometimes the one-and-done is simply better than the four year player.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know your All-College Team in the comment section or on Twitter @uklefty22. (h/t to our Kyle Kensing for the idea)
PG: Jason Williams (Duke)
Jay Williams won nearly every possible award during his three year career at Duke. As a freshman he averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 assists to go along with over four rebounds and was instantly named ACC Rookie of the Year, National Freshman of the Year and was First Team Freshman All-American.
His sophomore year, Williams truly broke out as a star. He scored 841 points, breaking Dick Groat’s 49-year old Duke record for points in a season. He became the first Blue Devil to lead the ACC in scoring since Danny Ferry, putting up an average of 21.6 points per game. He also finished second in the ACC in assists, averaging 6.1 per game. Williams led Duke to the national title in 2001 and eventually had his number 22 retired when he left the Blue Devils after scoring 2,079 points.
SG: J.J. Redick (Duke)
An all-Duke backcourt makes up the All-College team of the 2000’s thanks to J.J. Redick, who also was the most hateable player of the era. Redick was one of the purest shooters to ever play college basketball, breaking Curtis Staples’s NCAA record of 413 three-pointers made. He also left Duke as the all-time leading scorer in the ACC with 2,769 points.
Redick was the National Player of the Year in 2006 when he swept the major awards over Adam Morrison. He wasn’t a great defender in college, but his offense more than made up for the deficiency. He was a two time ACC Player of the Year and two time First-Team All-American.
SF: Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse)
This is one of those cases of the one-and-done player being too good despite playing just that one season. Anthony averaged a double-double at Syracuse as a freshman putting up 22.2 points and 10 rebounds, which was good enough for top-4 in the Big East in both categories.
Besides leading Syracuse to its first national title in 2003 he led the Orangemen in scoring, rebounding, minutes played, field goals made, free throws made and free throws attempted. He set an NCAA Tournament record when he scored 33 points against Texas in the Final Four, the most for a freshmen ever. He was the consensus NCAA Freshman of the Year, but earned the praise from his coach Jim Boeheim who called him “The absolute best player in college basketball.”
PF: Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina)
There may not have been a more decorated college player during this era than Tyler Hansbrough. He came into Chapel Hill as part of the best recruiting class in the country and did not disappoint, averaging a shade under 19 points per game as a freshman. He became the first player in ACC history to be a unanimous All-ACC player as a freshman. He also set an ACC record by scoring 40 points, the most ever for a freshman in conference history.
He would go on to continue to dominate during his collegiate career, with his junior year being arguably his most impressive. He averaged 22.6 points, which is the highest yearly average at UNC since Charlie Scott in 1969-70. He had 27 20-point games and 19 double-doubles, both leading the conference. He won National Player of the Year averaging a double-double that season.
C: Emeka Okafor (UCONN)
One of the more overlooked great players, Emeka Okafor was a truly dominant big guy, who helped lead UCONN to its second national title in 2004. During that season he led the country in blocked shots, winning National Defensive Player of the Year, along with Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament and Big East Player of the Year.
He played over 30 minutes per game each of the three seasons he was at UCONN, while grabbing at least nine rebounds a game each year. He averaged a double-double for both his sophomore and junior years, grabbing over 11 rebounds and scoring nearly 16 points per game each season.