Who’s in Your Top 10?
A group of SLAM writers and editors list their favorite college bball players.
10. Trajan Langdon, Duke: One of the sweetest jumpers I’ve ever seen. The Alaskan Assassin was as dangerous as any shooter to ever lace them up.
9. Terrence Williams, Louisville: T-Will could do everything on a basketball court and always had fun while doing it. Williams and Nate Robinson were perhaps the two most gifted athletes I can remember in the college ranks.
8. Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown: Wallace did not have the best stats, but he was tougher and smarter than everyone he played against. He was as tough to knock down as a boxer, and was equally as important to the Hoyas’ Final Four run as Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert.
7. Dwayne Anderson and Dante Cunningham, Villanova: I attended Villanova and was fortunate enough to cover the basketball team during its trip to the Final Four in 2009. Not only were Anderson and Cunningham the consummate professionals who grew each year as players, but also they were great people.
6. Stephen Curry, Davidson: No player has captured my imagination in recent memory like Curry did in 2008. His second round performance against Georgetown that year is one of my favorite memories as a basketball fan.
5. Craig Smith, Boston College: I grew up a Boston College fan and watching Smith work in the post was a thing of beauty. I still contend had Boston College survived Villanova in the Sweet 16 in 2006, that team would have beaten Florida and eventually won the title.
4. Scottie Reynolds, Villanova: Both Reynolds and I entered Villanova the same year, which allowed me to get to know him better than any other player I covered. Of course, he’s also responsible for that unforgettable layup against Pittsburgh in the Elite 8, aka the greatest moment of my basketball life.
3. Jared Dudley, Boston College: Dudley was the most fundamentally sound college player I’ve ever seen. From his basketball IQ to the way he could energize his teammates, he was the type of player anyone would want on their team.
2. Eddie House, Arizona State: Before there was Jimmer Fredette and Stephen Curry, there was House. Believe it or not, House is my favorite basketball player of all-time, and that all started with his 61-point performance against California in 2000.
1. Troy Bell, Boston College: The reason I fell in love with college basketball was watching Bell perform his magic on the hardwood. Because I was so young when he played, my memory has him sinking jumpers from nearly half court. He was, is and always will be my favorite college basketball player of all-time.
Born in Cali, but grew up in suburban NY
10. Gary Payton, Oregon State: Even harder to catch than Penny, but so fun to read about. My friend and I actually got some VCR tapes from the Oregon State basketball offices (they’re on my desk as I type) so we could get a taste of this brilliant, skilled, trash-talking guard.
9. Penny Hardaway, Memphis: Was tough to catch a lot of Penny games while living in NY (esp since he played in the non-TV-contract-having Conference USA or Metro or whatever it was called), but the word of mouth on this guy was incredible. I did make sure I caught Penny at MSG when Memphis played in the Holiday Festival (the same night of Puffy’s celebrity game at City College went haywire and nine people were killed. True story.) and loved what I saw of the 6-7 PG. Second-year stats showed what he could do: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists per game.
8. Bobby Hurley, Duke: Yes, I had a thing for PGs in the last 80s/early 90s. Too much talk about his “scrappiness.” Bobby was a fun-to-watch guard who threw DOPE passes, and a lot of them (more than 1000 for his career).
7. Vaughn Jones, George Washington: My other favorite GW player. Slow-footed and often looked disinterested, but classic “point forward skills.” Was also in a couple classes with me (though neither of us were there very often).
6. Pearl Washington, Syracuse: Straight outta BK, Pearl brought legendary NYC status upstate and electrified Syracuse fans (and Big Apple fans every time he and the Cuse played at the Garden).
5. Shawnta Rogers, George Washington: My favorite player ever from my alma mater. 5-4 but built like a rock. Played super hard and could score when needed.
4. Stephon Marbury, Georgia Tech: Only spent a year in college, but between the middle part, the hops, dunks and passes, it was a great one. Bonus points for anyone who can find footage of his press conference in high school announcing he’d attend GTech (shout out to Bonsu and Kwame Thompson).
3. Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech: Handles, no-look passes and that funky lefty J for days. Best part of classic GTech “Lethal Weapon 3″ team that reached 1990 final 4. Also this.
2. Chris Jackson, LSU: You young bucks might know him only as Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a controversial and underwhelming NBA combo guard. But as CJ? In college? MUST-WATCH TV. 30.2 ppg as a freshman, when he’d often get in-bounds pass, dribble upcourt, faux set up the offense and then shoot from 23 feet. Wet. So compelling.
1. Mark Jackson, St Johns: If you know me you know who my number one is. Underrecruited, under-athletic, but came in and became team leader at his hometown school. Averaged 9.1 apg as a junior and then 18.9 ppg as a senior, ALL WITH FLAVOR.