Heard it From Hoard: Column 76
After watching Pitt's Sam Young kill the Bearcats for the 17,341st time, I remarked to Chuck late in Saturday's broadcast that if there was a draft that only included BIG EAST players, my top two picks would be UConn's Hasheem Thabeet and then Young.
That got me thinking. If you could build a team made up exclusively of current BIG EAST players, who would you include?
I'm not asking you to gauge their potential or NBA futures. I want you to go by their skill level right now.
The team should include post players, forwards, and guards, and to make it tough, you're limited to a total of 10 players.
Here's my draft in order:
1. Hasheem Thabeet - Connecticut
2. Sam Young - Pitt
3. Jerel McNeal - Marquette
4. Luke Harangody - Notre Dame
5. Levance Fields - Pitt
6. DeJuan Blair - Pitt
7. Jonny Flynn - Syracuse
8. Scottie Reynolds - Villanova
9. A.J. Price - Connecticut
10. Geoff McDermott - Providence
I'm sure a ton of you will think I'm nuts for including McDermott, but on a team of all-stars I want a "glue guy" and he does a little bit of everything.
The fact that Pitt has three of my top six has me thinking that the wrong BIG EAST team is rated number one in the country.
In case you're interested, Jeff Adrien, Terrence Williams, Wes Matthews, Da'Sean Butler, and Deonta Vaughn (perhaps a little bias there) were the toughest guys for me to leave off the list.
And that still leaves guys like Earl Clark, Lazar Hayward, Dominic James, Greg Monroe, and Jeremy Hazell.
Pretty good league huh? E-mail me your Top 10 and I'll compile the results for my next column.
Mick Cronin is always looking for creative ways to inspire his team, and for the second time this year he went to the boxing archives. Before the Villanova game it was Cassius Clay upsetting Sonny Liston in 1964, and at Saturday's team meeting in Pittsburgh, it was the Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson fight in 1990. After watching Douglas dominate the early rounds, Mick reminded the team that he was a 42-to-1 underdog. Then after seeing Douglas knock Tyson out in the 10th round, Mick informed his players that they were listed as 17-point underdogs against 4th-ranked Pitt that afternoon.
Unfortunately, the Panthers - unlike Tyson - were not overweight and overconfident.
And yes, the 'Cats are 0-2 after watching old fights for inspiration, but it was certainly worth a try. After all, Villanova and Pitt are undefeated at home this season.
Since UC doesn't play again until hosting Louisville on Saturday, the team will take a couple of days to rest and regroup. In fact, a team bowling outing is planned for Monday.
One of the nicest compliments a radio play-by-play announcer can receive is when fans say they turn down the sound on TV and listen to the radio call instead (it's especially flattering considering the delay). However, I won't take it personally if you stayed with the TV announcers for the Pitt game, because I'm sure you enjoyed the work of my close friend Sean McDonough.
Sean graduated from Syracuse one year before I did and taught me more about broadcasting than any of my professors. I think the ESPN Big Monday team of Sean, Bill Raftery, and Jay Bilas are the most enjoyable crew to listen to in any sport. In fact, I'm such a big fan of Sean's work that I even copied his hairstyle.
In my last column (#75) I wrote about honoring Bob Huggins when he returns to Fifth Third Arena on February 26th, and now we know the specifics. There will be a video tribute before the game, and every fan that enters the arena will receive a sign that includes Bob's picture, a list of his accomplishments at Cincinnati, and the words, "THANKS HUGGS."
I suspect it's the first of many honors Coach Huggins will receive at Cincinnati in the years to come.
I'd love to hear from you. The address is email@example.com.
Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad, standing still just long enough to pose for a picture with his dad.