Cooler Than You: Some Of The Best Of College Basketball

Posted by jstevrtc on November 6th, 2009

seasonpreviewJust about anyone can name the best teams in college basketball, and, as far as individual players, if you’re reading this site you can most likely reel off three or four of your own personal All-America teams.  But what about those individuals who specifically excel at a few of the more exciting aspects of the game?  There are certain plays that make everyone come out of their seats:  a massive and powerful dunk that liberates some poor defender of his pride;  a ridiculously long three-pointer, especially at crunch time; and a blocked shot where the ball goes into orbit.  And of course everyone loves basketball players with cool names.  So here they are:  RTC’s rankings of the best dunkers, best long-range bombers, best shot-blockers, and coolest names in the game today.

The Most Excellent Dunkers

Unlike the NBA All-Star Weekend, we’ll begin with the dunk artists.  Each player is listed with a link leading you to an example or two of his work.  Sorry, UConn fans.  We respect you and your team, but we had to put Summers over Robinson because…well, you know why.

  1. Paul George, Fresno State  (vs St. Mary’s 2008, practice video 2009, Open Gym 2009)
  2. Chris Wright, Dayton  (vs Ohio State 2008, vs Marquette 2008)
  3. Durrell Summers, Michigan State (vs UConn over S. Robinson 2009, vs Minnesota 2009)
  4. Stanley Robinson, Connecticut (vs Michigan State 2009, vs Villanova 2008)
  5. Isaiah Thomas, Washington  (Madness 09)
  6. Scotty Hopson, Tennessee (vs Arkansas 2009)
  7. Keion Bell, Pepperdine  (Madness 09, Madness 09 over 5 guys)

Honorable Mention (or, guys who will probably be on this list by year’s end): Will Coleman, Memphis; John Wall, Kentucky; Delvon Roe, Michigan State; Wes Johnson, Syracuse.

The All-Jeff Fryer Team

This list of the best long-range bombers is named after the legendary (in our minds) Loyola Marymount guard who still holds the record for most three-pointers made in an NCAA Tournament game, an incredible 11 against Michigan in 1990’s second round.  If you can catch that game on ESPN Classic, it is something to behold.  You have to be a little nuts to be a bomber; you have to forget your last miss like it never happened and be willing to keep firing even when they just won’t fall (our editors are familiar with this feeling).  Here’s our ranking of 25 of this season’s best:

  1. T.J. Campbell, Portland
  2. Rihards Kuksiks, Arizona State
  3. Jared Stohl, Portland
  4. Andrew Goudelock, College Of Charleston
  5. Mike Roll, UCLA
  6. Jerome Randle, California
  7. Brandon Hazzard, Troy
  8. Ryan Staudacher, Montana
  9. Corey Allmond, Sam Houston State
  10. Ryan Wittman, Cornell
  11. Josh Young, Drake
  12. Corey Stokes, Villanova
  13. Jonathan Tavernari, BYU
  14. Gordon Hayward, Butler
  15. Troy Cotton, Wisconsin-Green Bay
  16. Tweety Carter, Baylor
  17. Rotnei Clarke, Arkansas
  18. Corey Lowe, Boston University
  19. Ricky Harris, Massachusetts
  20. Mac Hopson, Idaho
  21. Andy Rautins, Syracuse
  22. Nic Wise, Arizona
  23. Willie Warren, Oklahoma
  24. Jimmy Langhurst, Robert Morris
  25. Kelvin Lewis, Houston

The Best Human Erasers

Along with getting dunked on, having your shot swatted is one of the worst humiliations in the game (again, the editors are familiar with this feeling).  Here’s our list of the eight best in the game.  We’ll take nominations for a future name to put on this list.

  1. Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State.  Some perspective:   Hasheem Thabeet was half a block/game behind him in 2nd place last year…but 6″ taller.
  2. Cruz Daniels, High Point.  Became High Point’s all-time blocks leader…after a mere two seasons!
  3. Larry Sanders, VCU.  Blocking shots becomes second nature when you have a wingspan of 91 inches.
  4. Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure.  He’s a chemistry major, which could lead to some excellent trash-talk.  Would love to hear some possibilities.
  5. Cole Aldrich, Kansas.  Of players returning this season, Aldrich is 5th among the national leaders in blocks/game.
  6. Marqus Blakely, Vermont.  The only returning player in America to win his conference POY the last 2 seasons.
  7. Thomas Coleman, North Carolina A&T.  From 59th to 14th nationally from his freshman season to his sophomore year, and he only played 25 minutes/game.
  8. John Williams, UNC-Asheville.  Can beat you in many ways:  Williams also lettered in crew, golf, and soccer in high school.

The All-Antoine Joubert Team

While he was at Michigan, Antoine Joubert had the coolest-sounding name in college basketball.  Proudly bearing that name, here is our list of the twenty best names in college hoops this year.  We did not number these, since they are all unique in their own way and there was too much dissension among the voters.

The Top Ten:

  • Steffphon Pettigrew — Western Kentucky.  From his MySpace page… the word he feels best describes him?  “Handsome.”
  • An’Juan Wilderness — Charlotte.  Was an A-10 All-Rookie selection in 2008 and he’s known for his skills in the classroom as well.
  • Jay-R Stowbridge — Jacksonville State.  As a freshman at Nebraska, he had the 3rd best 3FG% in school history.
  • Orion Outerbridge — Rhode Island.  Fantastic.  Might be best basketball name here.  He should wear #00 instead of #12.
  • Just-in’love Smith— Siena.  Did four years in the military, including a year in Iraq.  He deserves to be called whatever he wants, including Sir.
  • Wquinton Smith — Wisconsin.  The ‘W’ is silent.  Get it right.  He owns Wisconsin’s all-time records for guards on the bench press and back squats.
  • J’Covan Brown — Texas.  UT supporters are glad this big-time prospect got his qualifying done.  He’ll compete for minutes immediately.
  • LaceDarius Dunn — Baylor.  When you name your child LaceDarius, it’s pretty much guaranteed he’ll be a baller.  Definitely worked here.
  • Sai’Quon Stone — Southern Mississippi.  Three-position player coming off medical redshirt junior year due to broken foot.  Hope to hear his name some more.
  • Jordan Dumars — South Florida.  Yeah, it’s Joe’s son, a 6’6 and 230-pound shooting guard.  Interesting choice of first name, don’t you think?

The Rest:

  • Jaytornah Wisseh — LIU
  • Bak Bak — California
  • Milade Lola-Charles — Hampton
  • Cor-J Cox — Mississippi Valley State
  • Cashmere Wright — Cincinnati
  • Anthony “Humpty” Hitchens — Akron
  • Jimmer Fredette — BYU
  • J’mison Morgan — UCLA
  • LeKendrick Longmire — Oregon
  • Cosmo Morabbi — The Citadel

Leave your submissions for the four teams in the comments below!

jstevrtc (547 Posts)

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5 responses to “Cooler Than You: Some Of The Best Of College Basketball”

  1. Jack says:

    Missouri State has a guy named Nafis Ricks.

  2. William says:

    How about Nimrod Tishman from Florida? Love that name.

  3. Mike says:

    Jeremy Hazell from SHU isn’t a long range bomber? He scored over 25 last year 9 times, including 32 against Memphis, as the only real scoring threat on an average SHU team. He had 105 3’s, or 10 more than Rautins (who played 2 more games than Hazell). He connected on at least 4 3-pointers in 50% of his games (16). Many times he was forced to shoot from 25+ feet, because of the defenses presented to stop him. 290 of his 550 shots last year were from beyond the arc.

    He is the ultimate bomber.

  4. jstevrtc says:


    Thanks for the comment. Good stuff on your part. I’ll admit, Hazell was most definitely in the player pool for the All-Fryer team. One correction on your stat: Hazell had 105 3s and Rautins had 102, and JH had 12 more attempts (290 to 278). Either way, this is negligible, since both players shoot a similar percentage. Hazell 36.2 last year and 34.9 career; Rautins 36.7 and 35.9. As you can see, Rautins barely made the list, himself (indeed, there are a lot of “specialists” on there).

    There was one real reason that I left JH just off this list, and I think it’s an aspect of his game that people mention often enough about him, and that has to do with shot selection. You note yourself that many of his attempts are from 25+, but I’d contend that those defenses presented to stop him are not just to keep him from shooting 3s. Hazell takes his share of “bad” threes, a fact made worse when considering that SHU did indeed have two other double-figure scoring options on that team. I know there’s a little skew there, because Hazell is asked to do so much, and certainly more than the stats show. But a lot of his attempts (esp. the REALLY long ones) came at times when a better shot would have been easily available. If you want to continue the comparison to Rautins, AR has proven that he can also shoot from “extra distance” but he shoots more of this threes within the flow of the Syracuse offense and therefore takes fewer “bad” threes than JH. Finally, the ability to shoot (and hit) from extra distance is common to all of the players on this list, and many more that were left off.

    I agree with you, though, that Hazell is a special player; he deserves the pre-season accolades he’s received so far, i.e. the 2nd- and 3rd-team all-Big East selections we’ve seen. I know I don’t have to tell you that he’s got a lot more going on in his game than being a bomber. If the Fryer list were a top 30 list instead of 25, he’d probably be on it. But I had to draw the line somewhere, and in the end the shot-selection thing was something I had to count against him.

    Love the comment, though, and thanks for checking out our lists. Hope you’ll be back.

    John Stevens

  5. Jeff says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for thinking of me with your All-Fryer team, I’m honored.
    Jeff Fryer

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