Looking for Respect
‘All-American’ is only a title…
As we speak, at this very moment, the college basketball season is well underway, meaning conversations about who is going to end up on the ’09-10 All-American team have already begun. And soon enough, the speculation will run rampant.
From Pauley Pavilion to Cameron Indoor Stadium, the chatter is contagious. From Allen Fieldhouse to Rupp Arena, the banter is bordering on nonstop. From the Dean Smith Center to Assembly Hall, the discussions are becoming more and more heated.
Interestingly enough, when the Associated Press, ESPN and all of the other media outlets from across the country released their respective pre-season selections of the best ballers in the business, there was no mention of anyone from the West Coast.
Only a few of the nation’s top players are perceived as All-American locks. When it comes to the first team, the consensus starting five seems to be Kansas’ Cole Aldrich, Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody and Duke’s Kyle Singler in the frontcourt along with Oklahoma’s Willie Warren and the Jayhawks’ Sherron Collins in the backcourt.
Fair enough. No problems with those picks. None whatsoever.
Now, one could make the argument that caliber of play out west is a bit watered down these days, and thus, the lack of recognition is somewhat deserving. Wonder what our main man Cub Buenning has to say about the level of play out this way?
But for argument’s sake, let’s go ahead and take a look at several individuals that should be receiving attention for the All-American team, at the very least, some consideration for a spot on the second or third unit. Maybe even an honorable mention shout out.
If SLAMonline doesn’t give the West Coast any love, no one will.
Matt Bouldin | 6-5 | G | Senior | Gonzaga
He’s well-rounded, capable of knocking down jumpers from the perimeter or getting to the hoop off the dribble. Unselfish, he’s willing to make the extra pass or get physical underneath the basket to grab boards. There’s a reason why his name is on the John R. Wooden Award watch list. He’s out to prove the distinction is worthy.
Patrick Christopher | 6-5 | G | Senior | Cal
The Los Angeles native entertained thoughts about entering the 2009 NBA Draft before ultimately deciding to return for one last hurrah with the Golden Bears. Bet coach Mike Montgomery is more than happy to have Christopher back in the fold. A breakout effort this time around could only improve his stock in the eyes of the powers that be.
Jerome Randle | 5-10 | G | Senior | Cal
Randle has some serious handle, no doubt about it. He’s the premier point guard in the Pac-10. Creating shots for himself, as well as others, appears effortless. His 18 points and 5 assists per game as a junior is good indication of that. Prediction: Randle will lead the conference in scoring this year. And dishing out dimes, for that matter.
Nic Wise | 5-10 | G | Senior | Arizona
The Wildcats are known for producing dudes who run the show, dating back to the days of Steve Kerr, Damon Stoudamire, for those who remember those guys, along with Jason Terry, Mike Bibby, and more recently, Jerryd Bayless. Wise is just another in the long line of distributors who keeps his teammates involved.
Tajuan Porter | 5-7 | G | Senior | Oregon
The pint-sized play-maker can do some serious damage on the offensive end of the floor. Most remember him from his days as a freshman, back when he scored 38 points and made ten three-pointers against Portland State. Little has changed since. Porter, a four-year starter, is the leading active scorer in the Pac-10 with 1,491 career points.
Quincy Pondexter | 6-6 | F | Senior | Washington
As athletic as the come. Blessed with tremendous bounce off the floor and a 7-foot wing span, Pondexter plays above the rim, regardless of whether there’s a defender in his way. Snatching rebounds others can’t get to has become common place and blocking shots anywhere in his general vicinity simply comes with the territory.
Luke Babbitt | 6-9 | F | Sophomore | Nevada
Before college life, the leftie with a smooth stroke from the outside had plenty of options when it came to schools. UCLA and Kansas were among the many suitors. However, Babbitt chose to stay close to home and play for the Wolfpack in the Biggest Little City in World, less than 30 miles from his high school. In retrospect, it was a good idea.
Paul George | 6-8 | F | Sophomore | Fresno St.
Haven’t heard about him yet? No worries, you’re not alone. He might be a relative unknown on the basketball landscape now, but that’s all about to change, sooner, rather than later. George possesses all the skills needed to make impact this season, and with continued improvement, we wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the League.
Malcolm Lee | 6-5 | G | Sophomore | UCLA
There were many questions surrounding UCLA after its backcourt from last season, Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison, bolted for the NBA. Everyone in Westwood was hopeful that Lee would be the answer. So far, so good. Perhaps, at some down the road, he’ll follow in the footsteps of his Bruin brothers and make the jump to the next level.
Isaiah Thomas | 5-8 | G | Sophomore | Washington
What he lacks in the height department, Thomas makes up for with a fearless approach to the game that you love to see from a floor general. Leave him alone beyond the arc and he’ll bury you from way downtown. Overplay him, and he’ll blow right bye you, directly to the rim. Underestimate him and he’ll make you pay each and every time.