Reader Poll -- Villanova's Greatest Forward / Center

Mike's Note: Ed is back with the Wisdom of the Crowd! This time we will be selecting Villanova's All-Time All Star Team. Ed, Brian and I have come up with a list of the 35 top Villanova players of all time. From that list, the readers will pick the best of the best, by position. Readers will pick their top two players for each position; in a subsequent poll the readers will determine the starting five from the ten finalists. Remember that, unlike our other polls, you should SELECT TWO NAMES from the list, representing your top two.

This is the second in our series of reader polls to determine Villanova's all-time basketball all-star team. There is still time to vote in the first of the series – Villanova’s Greatest Coach. In this second poll, we cover the "big dogs," the forward / centers. To come up with the nominees, we considered players whose Villanova jerseys have been retired, were among the all-time Villanova statistical leaders, earned All-America recognition, had success in the NCAA tournament, or were selected in the NBA draft. Active Villanova players are not eligible. [Editor’s Note: The NCAA has made significant rule changes over the years that make statistical comparisons of players across generations difficult. Of note, freshman became eligible to play on varsity teams in the 1972-73 season. Further, the NCAA adopted a 45-second shot clock in 1985, reduced to 35 seconds in 1993, increasing scoring. The NCAA adopted the three-point line at 19'19" in 1986, further increasing game scores; the line was pushed back to 20'9" in 2008.]

Vote for the forward / center from the following six nominees, listed chronologically, who you believe is most deserving of the honor of being called “Villanova’s greatest.” Next week’s poll will pick the top forward from among seven nominees -- Keith Herron, Alex Bradley, Ed Pinckney, Harold Pressley, Tim Thomas, Curtis Sumpter and Dante Cunningham.

Jim Washington… 6'7" forward / center … played from 1962-65 … scored 1,146 points (#45 all-time) over 85 games (13.5 ppg;) and grabbed 1,194 rebounds (#2 all-time) over only three varsity seasons … selected by the St. Louis Hawks with the 8th pick of the 1965 NBA Draft … later joined the Chicago Bulls, where he became a fan favorite as the first Bull to average more than ten rebounds per game … also played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, and the Buffalo Braves … retired with 6,637 career rebounds … averaged 10.6 ppg and 8.6 rpg over an 11-year NBA career ... inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1975.

Howard Porter… 6’8” forward / center … played from 1968-1971 … scored 2,026 points (#6 all time) over 89 games (22.8 ppg; #2 all-time) … is Villanova’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,317 (14.8 rpg) in only three varsity seasons … three-time All-America selection … led Villanova to the 1971 NCAA Championship Game, in which Villanova lost to UCLA 68-62 … was named the 1971 NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after scoring 25 points against the Bruins in the Championship game … was later ruled ineligible for that honor for signing a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Condors of the ABA during his senior season … never played for the Condors ... 32nd overall pick in the 1971 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls (much later in the draft than than Porter's talent warranted given the Condor's contractual rights to his services) … played seven seasons in the NBA for the Bulls, Knicks, Pistons, and Nets … finest professional season was in 1976-77, when he averaged 13.2 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Pistons. Over seven NBA seasons, averaged 9.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg in 18.7 mpg ... inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1981 ... a contemporary analog to the Greek tragedy, Porter's shame and guilt over betraying Villanova and his teammates weighed heavily upon him for the next two decades ... emotionally burdened, he moved from divorce to bankruptcy to cocaine addiction to prison time after his NBA career ended ... however, like the prodigal son, he returned to Villanova's embrace in the early 1990s with encouragement from his former teammates … Villanova retired his #54 jersey in 1997 ... ironically, after finally finding peace in his life, he was found beaten in a north Minneapolis alley in May 2007, and died several days later at the age of 58.

John Pinone… 6’8” forward / center … played from 1979 to 1983 … scored 2,024 points (#8 all-time) over 126 games (16.1 ppg; #12 all time), 837 rebounds (#9 all-time), 233 assists (#30 all-time) and 117 steals (#22 all-time) …was named a third-team All-American as a senior … earned first-team All-Big East honors three times …was a first-team All-Philadelphia Big 5 selection four times … was the only freshman in Villanova history to lead the team in scoring … played for the US national team in the 1982 FIBA World Championship, winning the silver medal … was the 58th pick in the 1983 NBA draft … played seven games in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks in 1983-84 … signed with CB Estudiantes in the Spanish Liga ACB in 1984-85, playing there until 1992-93 ... team won the Spanish Cup in 1991-92 … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1989 ... Villanova retired his #45 jersey in 1995.

Jason L. Lawson… 6'11” forward /center … played from 1993-97 … scored 1,565 points (#21 all-time) over 131 games (11.9 ppg) and had 375 blocks (#1 all-time) and 908 rebounds (#7 all-time) … started in 131 consecutive games over his four-year career … named Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after recording 105 blocked shots, setting a Villanova single-season record … blocked shot total was third all-time in Big East history at the time of graduation … named Second Team All-Big East his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons … the 47thplayer chosen in the 1997 NBA draft … played one season with the Orlando Magic, seeing action in 17 games, averaging 1.5 ppg and 1.6 rpg in 4.7 mpg ... inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 2004.

Malik Allen… 6’10” forward /center …. played from 1996-2000 … scored 1,136 points (#46 all-time) in 125 games (9.0 ppg), had 191 blocks (#4 all-time) and 708 rebounds (#19 all-time) … name was never called in the 2000 NBA Draft ... began his professional career in the ABA … in 2001 signed with the Miami Heat, where he played for four seasons … later played with Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Milwaukee, New Jersey and Denver … appeared in 21 NBA Playoff games, starting all six playoff games for Chicago during the 2006 playoffs … over his nine-year NBA career averaged 5.0 ppg and 2.9 rpg in 15.4 mpg.

Michael Bradley… 6'10" forward / center … played one season (2000-01) for the Wildcats after playing two years at Kentucky … at Villanova averaged 20.8 ppg on 69.2% shooting, grabbed 9.8 rpg, and had 1.8 bpg … honored as a Consensus Second Team All American in 2001 …with one year of eligibility remaining at Villanova entered the 2001 NBA draft … selected as the 17th by the Toronto Raptors, and went on to play for the Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers … averaged 2.8 ppg and 3.4 rpg over five seasons … went on to play three more seasons in Europe.

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