November 19, 2011

The Ultimate Big East Basketball Team

Let's start with the basics here, people.  Over the past two weeks, you may have seen some Facebook and Twitter posts about my being selected to represent the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Volvo's Biggest Fan of the Big East Challenge.  During the season, I will be assigned several challenges and will go up against the rest of the 15 contestants (one blogger/social media influencer per team) who are definitely cool, but not as cool as me. I'll be taking a trip back to my Alma Mater (with a guest!) for an all-expenses paid trip to an RU basketball game and a Volvo S60 for the weekend!

I want to say first and foremost that I would really appreciate any and all support you can provide for me and Rutgers over the next few months!  It's really very simple to do this  [link windows open in new tab, so you won't lose this page]:

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Some of you guys are thinking, "Really, this chick knows basketball??"  That's not the point. Sure, I might have spent more time at the Skull House, AEPi, Sigma Chi and Sig Ep than I did at a basketball game - but alas, my social media klout has brought me here - and I plan on WINNING the Biggest Fan of the Big East!

So here we go - my first challenge: Pick your all-time Big East Dream Team and why?  As with all of my blogposts, I plan on keeping it light-hearted, funny and filter-free.  Enjoy!

Georgetown (1981-1985)
This seems like a no-brainer. At nearly 7 feet tall, this center [of gravity] is and was the biggest deal in basketball. During his time on the court, Ewing ended up with 2,184 points (off the court he probably scored big with the ladies, which is definitely worth something) and 1,316 rebounds. When I was born, he was named Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year (a title he held onto throughout his tenure at Georgetown). Over the next four years he would average 15 points and 9 rebounds per game, adding Co-Player of the Year for '84 and '85, First Team Consensus All-American for '83-'85, National AP Player of the Year in '85 and the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player in '84.  SO outstanding even, that the New York Knicks took him with their first overall pick (Go, New York, Go New York, GO!)  Perhaps of most significance for this particular challenge is that Ewing was nominated into the Basketball Hall of Fame and was the first Big East player to be inducted.  BAM - He's my number 1!

Georgetown (1994-1996)
Part of the reason I'm even choosing AI is for the inevitable chitter-chatter that will come up. Any team without drama is not a team. This forward [thinker] did more in his two years than others did in four. Named Rookie of the Year in '95, Defensive Player of the Year in '95 and '96 and First Team Consensus All-American in '96, Iverson dominated the court as a Hoyas. During his two seasons, he racked up 1,539 points and was definitely on track to shatter the four-year-record of 2,632 (by Troy Bell) and his 213 steals were also on pace to break the conference's all-time steals record. He was the Philadelphia's 76ers first overall pick and has been in the NBA for the last 12 years.  So where does the drama come in?  Let's see here: In 1997, he was sopped for speeding and was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and for possession of marijuana; in 2000, he recorded a rap album under his alter-ego 'Jewelz' that made derogatory remarks about the gays; in 2004, he peed in a trash can at at Bally's Casino in Atlantic City and was banned; in 2005, he won a hand at three-card poker at the Taj Mahal Casino (he LOVES him some Atlantic City) and was overpaid $10k in chips by accident. He got in a fight with the dealer when he wouldn't return the money; and now, apparently he is broke, loves to drink a lot and loves to gamble.  Like I said, let's keep the press talking about my dream team - Iverson is still one of the best natural athletes ever. 

He's also a super-duper rapper - thoughts?
I think that if we work together, Iverson and I can turn my Fair Lawn Garden State of Mind rap into a masterpiece - Big Z and JewelZ on the one-and-twos!

University of Connecticut (1993-1996)
At 6'6, Ray Allen scored an average 19 points per game while playing for UConn and received Player of the Year in '96.  In his three years at the university, Allen totaled 1,922 points and 601 rebounds. He and my next pick (see below) were the only two players in Big East history to total over 1,000 conference points in a three year career. The third of five children, three year career, best three-point shooter in basketball history, three different NBA teams over his 12 seasons choice number three! Fun fact: He has borderline obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is borderline awesome.  

Fun Fact Two: He starred in the Spike Lee-directed movie alongside Denzel Washington, 'He Got Game'.  Fun Fact Three: I found a clip in Russian and wanted to share that version:

University of Connecticut (1996-1999)
Because I like a man who knows how to protect his most valued possession - his face. Hamilton won player of the year in '98, Co-Player of the Year in '99 and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in that same year. He's not flashy, he does what he's good at and he has the cajones to take the big shots. His overall conference points are the most any player with a three-year career in Big East history; He left for the NBA in his junior year and just finished his ninth season at the NBA, where he has been a three time all-star.

Villanova (1992-1996)
Kittles is the anomaly of your average college-basketball-star-get-recruited-by-NBA. Sure, the 6'5 shooting guard did wonders while at Villanova and holds 15 all-time career records (including most points at 2,243 and most steals at 277) - but that's not all he was at Villanova.  He was a member of a fraternity (Go Kappa Alpha Psi!) and earned an MBA at Villanova's School of Business. Since I don't know a hot-damn thing about numbers, money or business - Kittles is definitely going to be the business manager of my dream team, since his career ended so early and all. Perhaps the best thing about him (for me, anyway) is the length of time he spent in New Jersey.

Syracuse (1983-1986)
It's Shake and Bake! Rookie of the year in '84? Pshhh... Second Team Consensus All-American in '85? Whatever.... Making the court look like a playground for inventive moves? Yes, please! Dwayne "Pearl" Washington is on my list to make the game look interesting. My man still holds the NCAA freshman record for when he had 18 assists against Providence. He left Syracuse his junior year with 1,484 points after being recruited by the New Jersey Nets. After playing with them for two seasons, he moved down to Miami. Sound like someone else's life?

Syracuse (2003)
Melo makes big changes in only one-year's time. Who wouldn't want this dude on their team? He attended Syracuse and let the Orangemen to their first National Championship in 2003. He earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award and was named the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA East. Tired of the color orange after just one year, Anthony entered the NBA and has since been named to the All-Rookie team, the All-Star team four times and to the All-NBA team four times. Other pros: I wouldn't get bored of looking at him since he's a cutie and he married a hot chick named LaLa.  I mean, how cool is that?

Notre Dame (1988-2001)
Because it's time this Rutgers chick picks a white boy from North Jersey for her dream team.  Troy Murphy led the Irish in scoring and rebounding in each of the three seasons he played.  He averaged 21.8 points and 9.2 rebounds and was a consensus first-team All-American as a second and third year. He became the fifth player in Notre Dame history to score more than 2,000 career points and finished his career fifth on the all-time scoring list with 2,011 points. Moreover, he is one of only two players in conference history, along with Richard Hamilton [also on my dream team, bitches!] to total over 2,000 points in a three year career.  He's also super tall and can probably help me reach for things too high in the kitchen cabinet.

St. John's (1984-1986)
He only played two seasons, but what a "playa" he was. In that shore amoutn of time, he established himself as a superstar. Along with Patrick Ewing, my first pick, and Chris Mullin, my next pick, he was named a National Player of the Year. He got St. John's to the Final Four as a sophomore and averaged 17 points per game. In the two seasons he played, he amassed 1,424 points and 703 rebounds. Later in his career, he thought "Eff this - I'm outta here" and went to play professionally in Italy and Greece, where he could eat gelato and spanikopita to his heart's desire. Mama's gonna bring him back to the States for a little one-on-one, if you know what I mean.

St. John's (1981-1985)
I like trendsetters and his haircut. Along with Patrick Ewing, Chris is most responsible for making the basketball leagues have the power it has today. He's one of the best shooters in college history and won Player of the Year in '83, Co-Player of the Year in '84 and '85, Second Team Consensus All-American in '84, First Team Consensus All-American in '85, USBWA National Player of the Year, Wooden Award-National Player of the Year in '85 and UPI National Player of the Year in '85.  He accomplished ALL THIS before I could even read good. In his career, he amassed 2,440 points and 1,290 points in conference play.  Best part? Homeboy got all those points before the three-point shot was in the college game.  Okay?!  Looks like Wu-Tang isn't the only thing you can't eff with.

Syracuse (1986-1990)
TRICKED YOU! He's not my pick at all.  Sure he was good and all - but he went through his college career (and so on) being "just good enough."  That's not acceptable on my Dream Team.  You have to be THE BEST and if you're not, you have to want to STRIVE for THE BEST. If your reputation is that of "somebody who didn't get the most out of his talent", then there is simply no room for you on my team. Filing for bankruptcy? Also unacceptable! Don't tell me you make $87 million during your NBA career, only to be over $5 million in debt. That type of irresponsibility will not be tolerated on my Dream Team. The only plus you have going for you as far as I'm concerned is the fact that you live in Franklin Lakes, NJ and had an amazing amount (1,537) rebounds, only second to Tim Duncan. 


Georgetown (1988-1992)
He goes by "Zo" and I go by "Z" - how could I NOT pick this 6'10 muscle mass for my team? At the time he entered Georgetown, he was already considered the next Patrick Ewing. I appreciate a man who precedes his reputation. Bring it. As a freshman, he earned his first triple double in only his third game and went on to average 13.1 points per game. He set an NCAA record of 169 blocks at an average of five per game. He was injured during his junior year and like a TRUE ZlataThoughts Dream Team player, rallied during his senior year and earned Player of the Year honors as well as being named a First Team All-American.  He was Player of the Year in '92 and his numbers are still records, accumulating 2,001 points and 1,032 rebounds and 4th all-time NCAA history for blocks. At the age of 38, Zo was all like, "I can't do no more for you, basketball" and on February 28th (my birthday!) the Miami Heat retired his Jersey, making him the first Heat player to have this honor.  Basically, Zo is Zee best.

I'm going to end this right here - and you want to know why? Because unlike my competition, who might have the same players - and perhaps even more - my team doesn't NEED a full team to be the DREAM TEAM.  Together, we'll have team spirit and motivation.  That's just how we roll...or dribble, in this case.
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