Brian's All-Time Villanova Team
After reading the Nova Blog's All-Time team, I thought I'd throw together a response. Chris' All-Time team was heavily biased towards players who were on the mainline during his own era there.
The Nova Blog's All-Time team contained a number of memorable names. His five-man line-up is:
- G - Scottie Reynolds
- G - Randy Foye
- G - Kerry Kittles
- F - Dante Cunningham
- F - Ed Pinckney
- Coach - Rollie Massimino
To Chris' credit, he did preface his team by stating that:
Keep in mind I'm a young'n, and I don't know much beyond the 80's. In fact, while we're at it, I'm sticking to what I know. I'm not going beyond that to legends that are just that to me: legends.
With my team, I am going to reach beyond the 1980s and I'll reach into the world of legends. I'm also going to include a 6th man because I'm covering a lot of temporal territory here. So here we go:
- G - Kenny Wilson '89
- G - Kerry Kittles '96
- G/F - Paul Arizin '50
- F - Howard Porter '71
- F - Ed Pinckney '85
- G - Scottie Reynolds '10
- Coach - Jack Kraft
So, now comes the part where I justify my picks:
My Case for Kenny Wilson: Unless you were on the Main Line in the late '80s, Kenny Wilson is probably not the guy you think of when you think of Villanova guards. That said, he was one of the best true point guards in this program's history. His amazing handle on the ball, combined with great instincts allowed him to rack up more assists than any other Villanova player.
Wilson was a four-year starter for the Wildcats, leading them to an Elite Eight appearance in 1988. He scored 1,390 points during his tenure, ranking him 30th all-time, but his assist numbers show that he was even more valuable in creating opportunities for his teammates.
My Case for Kerry Kittles: Perhaps one of the easier cases to make here. While Villanova has been known for it's glut of great guards recently, Kerry Kittles stood alone in the 90's as Villanova's superman.
Kittles is the All-Time leader at Villanova in points (2,243) and steals (277), along with 13 other records. He is 13th All-time in ssists (408), and 18th in rebounds (715). He was a First Team All-American as a senior after making the second-team as a junior.
My Case for Paul Arizin (a case I shouldn't even have to make): Paul Arizin's status as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, let alone the greatest Villanovans was cemented a long time ago. Arizin is in the NBA Hall of Fame, he revolutionized the game with his line-drive jump shot.
In 82 games for Villanova (and before the 3-point line or the shot-clock), he scored 1648 points. In 1950, he lead the nation in scoring with 25.3 points per game, and was voted the Collegiate Player of the Year. In 1949 he scored 89 (I repeat: EIGHTY NINE) points in a game (once again, no shot clock, no three-point line) against the Naval Air Materials Center (ok, so it wasn't UCLA or Kentucky, it's still impressive).
"Pitchin' Paul" Arizin is without-a-doubt one of the top-five men to ever wear a Villanova basketball uniform.
My Case for Howard Porter: Howard is the All-Time Rebounds (1,317) leader at Villanova. He scored 2,036 points for the Wildcats. He did it all in an era when Jack Kraft didn't play freshmen, schedules were shorter, and (once again) there was no shot clock or 3-point line.
Porter scored over 2,000 points in 89 games, for an average of about 22.8 points per game. Kerry Kittles did his damage in 122 games. If we expand Porter's stats out over 122 games (multiplying that by 22.8 points per), he could have scored around 2,781 points. I won't do the same for rebounds, because I don't want your jaws to drop too much. Porter was the real deal.
My Case for Ed Pinckney: Ed was a hardworking member of the 1985 Champions. In an era where Patrick Ewing was considered unstoppable in college, Pinckney stopped him. He scored 1,865 points in college (that's in Nova's top 1o), was 4th in rebounds (1,107), and is 7th in steals (196 - not bad for a big man).
At the end of the 1985 NCAA Tournament, Easy Ed was awarded the Most Outstanding Player award.
My Case for Scottie Reynolds: A scoring threat for four years in college, Scottie shot his way to 2nd place on the all-time scoring list with 2,222 points. As a four-year starter, Scottie was the Wildcats' go-to scoring option for the last four years. Scoring wasn't Scottie's only trick, however, he is also 7th All-Time for Assists (472), and 4th for Steals ( 203). Kerry Kittles is the only other player to break 2000 points, 400 assists and 200 steals in his Villanova career.
If that isn't enough, Scottie is one of only four Wildcats to be named a First Team all-American by the Associated Press (the others being Arizin, Foye and Kittles). He is the ideal sixth man here because his scoring prowess and ability to play both guard spots effectively made him a versatile player.
My Case for Jack Kraft: Villanova has been lucky with coaches over the years. Even Steve Lappas posted a winning record on the Main Line. Rollie Massimino took the 'Cats to a National Title, and Jay Wright is currently taking his team on a tear of success.
Jack Kraft, however, stands alone. In 12 years on the Main Line, Kraft earned a post-season bid 11 times. Coaching in an era before the NCAA tournament went to 64 teams, the accomplishment of making even the NIT field is rather impressive. In addition to just making it to the NCAA tournament, Kraft took his team to title game in 1971 (led by Howard Porter), losing to UCLA and Coach John Wooden during their legendary streak of championships. Many people believe that the Wildcats (who got hot late in the game) could have come back to win the title in '71 had the shot clock been in existence. Instead Wooden had his team "freeze" the ball, to stop the 'Cats and end their surge.
With a record of 238-95 (.715), Kraft is the winningest coach in Villanova basketball history. He also recruited two of the best bigs in Wildcat history, Howard Porter and Jim Washington. Until Jay Wright eclipses him, he deserves this spot.
Now it's your turn: Where did I go wrong? Who did I miss? How would you fill out the bench on an all-time team?