The NBA's labor dispute has replaced preseason exhibitions and training camps with summer Pro-Am leagues and street-ball-style exhibition games. One of those took place last night at the Palestra where Villanova alumnus and Philadelphia native, Kyle Lowry scored 34 points to lead Team Philly (comprised of former-college and current professional stars from the area) over Team Melo, a star-studded team that was supposedly representing Baltimore (with a little help from LeBron James and others).
Some colleges have fielded alumni all-stars for exhibitions as well, most notably Kentucky, whose men's basketball coach, John Calipari rounded up some alumni professionals to provide a couple of tune-up matches for the Dominican Republic national team he was coaching over the summer. The draw of those exhibitions was massive and the UK Pros lost both. BYU also got into the game with a Jimmer All-Stars team and Kansas recently hosted a "Legends of the Phog" game as well.
Kentucky's professional alumni are now looking to barnstorm around the state a little more. Instead of playing the Dominican national team, however, they hope to compile a team of Space-Jam-like villains from Kentucky past. Players that UK fans loved to hate during their college years. Those would reportedly include: "Kemba Walker, Rudy Gay, Tyler Hansbrough, Nolan Smith, Eric Gordon, Terrence Williams, Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried and Shelvin Mack."
RushTheCourt.com liked the idea so much that they compiled "Villains" teams that could face the alumni teams of other schools. They listed five players from other teams and a coach that would energize those fanbases and invoke their ire. Unlike Kentucky's pros, however, they weren't holding themselves to an individual's actual physical ability to play -- for Syracuse, they listed Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning, for example. He also included a "self-loathing sub," an alumnus of the school who was so hated by the team's own fans that he would play against their pro's.
Who would be on Villanova's "Villains Team" roster, though? Patrick Ewing certainly has that effect for fans who remember 1985. You could easily pull Joakim Noah out as well, as the villain who inspired the hatred of Villanovans when his Florida team knocked the 'Cats out of the NCAA tournament in the 2006 Elite Eight. Perhaps Tyler Hansbrough could make the list after the 2009 Final Four? What about local stars who rebuffed Villanova's offer to attend school elsewhere like Gerald Henderson or the Morris twins (and will Savon Goodman be a villain when all is said and done)?
Here is my proposed Villanova Villains starting-five (and self-loathing sub):
- PG: Eric Devendorf (Syracuse)
- SG: Ray Allen (UConn)
- SF: Jared Dudley (Boston College)
- PF: Joakim Noah (Florida)
- C: Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)
- Coach: Jim Calhoun (UConn)
I am sure that my (relative) youth clouds my understanding of the true-levels of disdain that Cats Fans have had for opposing players from previous eras. What opposing players from Villanova's past did you most vilify? Who would you want to see take on a Villanova all-star team?