Fright Club: The O26 All Hallows’ Eve Team

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on October 31st, 2014

With Halloween upon us, it’s only natural that we examine the spookiest, scariest, creepiest, crawliest, most fear-inducing hoopsters in the O26 world. WARNING – you may experience nightmares, especially if none of these guys play for your school.

Siena's Jimmy Patsos coaches our All Hallows' Eve team. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union)

Siena’s Jimmy Patsos coaches our All Hallows’ Eve team. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union)

‘The Robbin’ Goblin’

Briante Weber – PG – Virginia Commonwealth. Weber is arguably the most terrifying player in college basketball. Over his first three years in Richmond, the 6’2’’ guard has consistently and relentlessly harassed opposing ball-handlers to the point that Phil Martelli hailed him as the best defender in the country last March. Not only does Weber own the VCU and Atlantic 10 records for career steals, but he’s also posted the highest steal rate in the country for three consecutive seasons. In 2013-14, he logged more than five thefts 11 different times, including seven apiece against Stony Brook and George Washington – impressive outings to be sure, but neither of which even touch his 2012 season opener. In one of the most incredible defensive performances in recent memory, Weber tallied a whopping 10 steals in just 18 minutes on the court, a rate so absurd that even Gary Payton would have to tip his cap (er, glove). To this day, the mere thought of Weber must send shivers down Andy Enfield’s spine.

‘The Serial Thriller’

Desi Washington – SG – Saint Peter’s. The Peacocks’ second-leading scorer does his most sinister work late in games, a fact that repeat-victim Fairfield knows all too well – Washington beat the Stags with buzzer-beaters (or near buzzer-beaters) three different times last season. That’s uncanny, improbable and – if you’re Sydney Johnson, or really any other MAAC coach – downright horrifying entering 2014-15. Incredibly, the now-senior shooting guard also picked off Seton Hall in similar fashion, scoring 34 points and drilling a deep three in the closing seconds to pull off the road upset. To call Washington ‘clutch’ would be an understatement; ‘categorically lethal’ is probably more appropriate.


Tyler Haws – G/F – Brigham Young. Opponents try to stop Haws from scoring, but it’s almost always a fruitless endeavor. He’s too quick, too skilled, too elusive – too often seeming more like an offensive apparition than a real, tangible 6’5’’ wing. The senior is proficient from almost anywhere on the floor, last season connecting on 40 percent of his threes, 88 percent of his free throws, and boasting an impressive 57.7 percent true shooting percentage. Those numbers are made even more impressive when you consider he took a whopping 31 percent of his team’s shots while on the floor (which was almost always). Haws’ 23.4 points per game were good for sixth in the nation last year, and he dropped 30-plus points on seven different occasions. With his quick release and basketball savvy, Haws should continue to thrive in BYU’s uptempo attack this season – a fact that’s sure to keep WCC coaches up at night.


Mo Alie-Cox – F – Virginia Commonwealth. Wait, another Ram? We wanted to leave Alie-Cox off this list, we really did. But the 6’6’’, 260-pound forward is a stoutly-built, hyper-athletic specimen with a Predator-like mane who traps and blocks and steals on the regular. It’s hard to imagine there being anything more viscerally frightening on a basketball court. And it’s not just his looks that scare – Alie-Cox was extremely effective in limited minutes in 2013-14 and figures to play a more substantial role this season in lieu of now-graduated Juvonte Reddic. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether Shaka Smart’s system attracts intimidating players or creates them, but either way, A-10 opponents better beware.

‘The Block Ness Monster’

UC Irvine's Mamadou Ndiaye terrorizes opponents down low. (Dean Rutz – Seattle Times)

UC Irvine’s Mamadou Ndiaye terrorizes opponents down low. (Dean Rutz – Seattle Times)

Mamadou Ndiaye – C – UC Irvine. There is a towering, dreadful creature who stalks gymnasiums across the Big West, striking fear in the hearts of opposing players and coaches. He is the tallest player in college basketball, and his name is Mamadou Ndiaye. At 7’6’’, the Senegalese-born center is a shot-blocking machine, owning the fourth-best block percentage in the nation last season and stuffing a conference-record 11 shots against Long Beach State. His physical enormity limited his minutes to some extent (only logging 30-plus minutes twice), but when he was on the floor, Ndiaye truly, discernibly altered shots. Would-be runners turned into high-arching floaters, and attempted layups into lower-percentage kickouts. He, along with Will Davis II, John Ryan and Mike Best, comprise one of college basketball’s most physically imposing frontcourts – a big reason why UC Irvine’s defense will be very good again in 2014-15. Perhaps the scariest reality for league opponents is that Ndiaye is only a sophomore, meaning three more seasons of terror in the paint.

‘Scream 5’

Jimmy Patsos – Head Coach – Siena. Patsos is a former bartender and by all accounts a cool, quirky guy off the court. But on it? The 48-year old head coach can seem downright possessed. He points, he screams, he jumps, he fist-pumps – his antics are one part drill sergeant, one part professional wrestler. Patsos also wins – he took Loyola to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and has assembled a good Siena team this season – but it’s the demonstrative episodes that make him so scary… and, like a good horror flick, endlessly entertaining.

Tommy Lemoine (250 Posts)

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