Dream Team Challenge

By - January 28, 2007

The challenge was posed in Grant Wahl’s most recent column and has since been the subject of water-cooler discussion around the CSTV office. Selecting from the pool of active college players, put together a dream team that includes one freshman, one sophomore, one junior and one senior, plus one wild-card selection (from any class) to round out the starting five. Then select a sixth player to come off the bench. Here’s a look at some of the teams that were e-mailed around. (I know: Working hard, or hardly working?)

Think your side could do better than one of ours? Send yours along or post in the comments section!

PG Jared Jordan, Sr., Marist: Selfless senior leader who is pacing Division I in assists for the second straight season (without the benefit of some high-flying wing, as his coach Matt Brady is quick to note). Oden-Hansbrough frontcourt would compensate for Jordan's defensive shortcomings against bigger, stronger guards. A pass-first guy at the one is critical (otherwise “too many cooks in the kitchen”).

SG DeMarcus Nelson, Jr., Duke: Physically explosive rebounding guard and breakdown scorer who has big-game experience and would be content as a third or even fourth scoring option. Great perimeter defending skills and underrated basketball IQ.

SF Alando Tucker, Sr., Wisconsin: Fill-it-up scorer has been through the wars and provides sound leadership to go with his considerable production.

PF Tyler Hansbrough, So., North Carolina: Rough-and-tumble pivotman who compensates for unspectacular skill with unmatched toughness and persistence in the post and on the glass.

C Greg Oden, Fr., Ohio State: Even at 75 percent, I'd take the wunderkind for his abilities as a defensive stopper and intimidator. On this team, Oden will not be called upon to do much scoring though it is clear he is capable if not completely refined.

Sixth Man K.C. Rivers, So., Clemson: Unselfish reserve swingman leads surprising Tigers in scoring despite coming off bench.

Coach Jim Calhoun, Connecticut: Few coaches have had so much experience (and success) getting individuals with all-star talent to bury their egos and come together as a team. Also a superior in-game tactician. This Hall of Famer's track record speaks for itself. --Bryan Graham, Assistant Editor

G Chris Lofton, Jr., Tennessee: Most underappreciated player in the nation.

G Morris Almond, Sr., Rice: Pure scorer who can keep defenses honest.

F Kevin Durant, Fr., Texas: He’s the best player in the country.

F Tyler Hansbrough, So., North Carolina: He’s tall.

C Greg Oden, Fr., Ohio State: Defensive stopper.

Sixth Man Dominic James, So., Marquette: Kid can ball.

Coach Ben Howland, UCLA: These guys will never have any trouble scoring so I need a coach to keep them honest on defense. --Andy Elrick, News Editor

G Mustafa Shakur, Sr., Arizona: My team needs a pass-first point guard and he’s the best in the country right now. He’s putting all the spare parts together well at Arizona — imagine what he’d do if he had this squad around him.

G Arron Afflalo, Jr., UCLA: Need the 3-point threat. He’s a solid two guard for this team. Durant drives and kicks out to him and he knocks them down.

F Corey Brewer, Jr., Florida: I think he’s the glue to that Florida team. He shoots, he plays good defense, he slashes. He’s the perfect small forward. He could start for every team in the NBA right now. Might be the most underrated player in the nation.

F Kevin Durant, Fr., Texas: He’s already proven he can step up and score in big games; he carried Texas to triple overtime against Oklahoma State, and he can score from anywhere on the court. Right now, he’s a better player than Oden.

C Tyler Hansbrough, So., North Carolina: Rebounding machine. If Durant wants to play outside, Hansbrough will clog the middle for my squad. Plus he’s a defensive presence.

Sixth Man Mark Zoller, Sr., Pennsylvania: I want an energy guy coming off the bench, somebody who’s going to run the floor and play some defense and grab some boards. Zoller is my guy.

Coach John Calipari, Memphis: My coach is John Calipari. Maybe it’s because I’m a Nets fan, but nobody handles a bunch of egos better than Cal. His team overachieves every season, and he seems to get even the biggest head cases to play for him. Coach Cal is my guy. --Steve Brauntuch, Researcher

G JamesOn Curry, Jr., Oklahoma State: He knows how to play along side other great players like Mario Boggan, and he can handle the ball and shoot the three as well as anyone in the country.

G Alando Tucker, Sr., Wisconsin: His all-around game has helped turn Wisconsin into a national powerhouse and he should be considered highly for Player of the Year honors.

F Kevin Durant, Fr., Texas: He's the best freshman in the country and plays with the kind of confidence that we saw from Melo at Syracuse.

F Tyler Hansbrough, So., North Carolina: In less than two years he's already become one of the best low-post scoring threats in the country.

C Joakim Noah, Jr., Florida: He may not be the most dominant center in the country, but he's a team leader and knows what it takes to win.

Sixth Man Arron Afflalo, UCLA: He can score from anywhere on the floor with his back to the basket or face-up and can handle the ball when needed to. But what makes him special is his defense. He's one of the best one-on-one defenders in the country and has the assignment of guarding team's No. 1 threat while also taking care of his offensive responsibilities.

Coach Ben Howland, UCLA: There's a reason why he's guided two national programs back into the Top 10 in a short period of time. He's brought a Big East-style of defense to the "soft" Pac-10 that his players have bought into and it's paid off. --Josh Herwitt, Assistant Editor

PG Dominic James, So., Marquette: Leads the fastest backcourt in the nation.

SG Arron Afflalo, Jr., UCLA: Hits the big shot when it counts, a solid leader.

SF Kevin Durant, Fr., Texas: Score, Score, Score.

PF Nick Fazekas, Sr., Nevada: Need to show the mid-majors a little love. Can’t get much better than Mr. Fazekas.

C Greg Oden, Fr., Ohio State: Let’s preface this by saying I would like him to play with two arms. If he can do what he’s doing with one, just imagine what he could do with two.

Sixth Man Eric Devendorf, So., Syracuse: On this team we’re going to need more back-up in the backcourt than in the front and he is a true sixth man…so here he is.

Coach Pat Summitt, Tennessee: C’mon, the most wins of any coach ever and on top of that: Who isn’t scared of Pat the Bat? Kids these days need to be disciplined and Pat will scare the crap out of them. --Ryan Dougherty and Matt Marini, Production

PG Acie Law IV, Sr., Texas A&M: He can score, he can pass and he can play defense. Pretty simple.

SG Alando Tucker, Sr., Wisconsin: He's one of the top scorers in the nation, but he doesn't command the ball on every possession and doesn't take stupid shots. Also, few players turn the ball over less often.

SF Shaun Green, So., Utah: Okay, I admit it, I had never heard of this guy until I started doing research for this project, but now I am convinced he is one of the most effective players in the nation. He leads the country in 3-point shooting percentage, he's No. 1 in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's effective 3-point percentage and he's 6-foot-8. He's the complete package.

PF Joakim Noah, Jr., Florida: Similar to Oden, you don't need to pound the ball into Noah on every possession in order for him to be effective. This makes him another perfect all-star, because he does everything right. (Plus he has such beautiful, flowing locks of hair.)

C Greg Oden, Fr., Ohio State: Kevin Durant is the more talented player in my book, but Oden is perfect for an all-star team. He doesn't take too many shots, he plays great defense and, of course, he's huge.

Sixth Man Nick Fazekas, Sr., Nevada: I like Fazekas because he's so versatile. I could play him at pretty much any position but point guard. He is probably the best defensive player in the nation and he can shoot from all over the floor

Coach Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh: Every year, I start the season saying, "Pitt will be okay this year. They have a few guys who I have heard of, and they are all decent." But come March, Pitt is always one of the top teams in the country. --David Burrick, Researcher

PG Darren Collison, So., UCLA: Collison will run the show for this team. He's content to let everyone else score, which fits well here since he has enough players who can do that, and is one of the best defenders in the country. When he does get an open shot, and he's sure to get a few on this team, he's lights-out from long range.

SG Antoine Agudio, Jr., Hofstra: Agudio has seemingly unlimited range on his jumper, but to his credit he doesn't live and die by it as he uses it to make himself a threat off the dribble. With the scoring threats on this team, especially inside, Agudio will get some open looks on the perimeter, as well as some gaps to drive through when a defender crowds him.

SF Kevin Durant, Fr., Texas: Durant is a serious candidate for player of the year as he gets better every time out. He's sixth in the nation in scoring, having reached double figures in every game this season, and getting better all the time with how he scores. In high school, he would at times live on the perimeter, but no more, and it shows as his shooting percentage is solid for his position.

PF Jared Dudley, Sr., Boston College: Dudley has an incredible feel for the game that has been shown time and time again. He's not the most athletic, not the strongest or the most skilled player, but he takes what he has in each area and adds it to his understanding of the game and will to win to be a terrific college player. On this team, he fits in well because he's not trying to put up huge numbers, but will blend in well with the talent around him and still put up good numbers anyway.

C Greg Oden, Fr., Ohio State: He needs no introduction, of course, but there are plenty of reasons to choose him here. Oden is a human basket guard inside and has not stopped getting better at the offensive end. Thus far, the big man has at times dominated playing essentially with one hand tied behind his back, but most of all he wants to win and did plenty of it in high school.

Sixth Man James Mays, Jr., Clemson: Last season, the Tigers won their first 11 games before Mays was declared academically ineligible for the second semester. Once he was out of the lineup, the difference was like night and day: Clemson struggled in the ACC en route to just seven more wins and an NIT bid. This year, Mays has played the entire season and is a difference-maker both inside and in the Tigers' press. He's multi-skilled at the offensive end as well, giving us plenty of options in how to use him. --Phil Kasiecki, Contributing Writer

Posted by at 09:44 AM on January 28, 2007
Comments (1)


PG: Taurean Green,JR., Florida. Experienced guard is unselfish, plays solid D, distributes the ball well, and can drain the 3 ball.

SG: Arron Affalo,JR., UCLA. Jr. leader has knack for knocking down big shots, works hard on D, and plays unselfishly. Can stick the 3 ball.

SF: Kevin Durant, FR., Texas. Sensational freshman scoring machine can score in every possible way. Extremely long and skilled. Very good rebounder. Incredible NBA prospect.

PF: Joakim Noah, JR., Florida. Most Outstanding Player of 2006 Final Four plays a versatile game for the defending National Champs. Excellent defensively blocks shots and moves well. Skilled passer. Runs floor well.

C: Greg Oden, FR., Ohio State. College basketball's biggest defensive force, his imposing combination of size and agility force offense to abandon their interior attacks entirely. Very unselfish, developing rapidly on offense. Consensus #1 pick of NBA draft.

6th Man: Tyler Hansbrough, SO., North Carolina. Hard working soph provides ferocious intensity of the bench. Very good scorer with nicely developed post game. Rebounds well.

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