By Paul M. Banks
Creating an all decade team for Northwestern, the only program from a major power conference never to qualify for a NCAA tournament, was interesting to say the least. A task such as this requires creativity, being unconventional, perhaps even a bit abnormal. But my celebrity crush is Kirsten Dunst, so conventionalism and normality aren’t exactly my strong suits anyway.
So I included no centers on the first or second team, and pretty much no one over 6-9 period. There are no big men from this decade that are deserving; you won’t find a single one in the top nine all time for rebounding, or in the top 20 scoring. I know it seemed like Evan Eschmeyer had 20 years of eligibility, or thereabouts. However, all of his minutes were played in the 90s.
The 2000s was the decade of current Head Coach Bill Carmody, as he took over the program and brought the Princeton offense to the school in 2000-01.
“I’ve been here a decade? My my, that’s unbelievable, isn’t it?” Coach said when I asked him about how his team stacks up against other squads he’s had in Evanston. “So far, we’re doing ok, alright.” Carmody responded.
F Kevin Coble- I went with a smaller lineup for both teams, and the man who should likely go down as the NU player of the decade, is a good sized three, but he also spent most of his sophomore season playing undersized at the four. Coble is a versatile scorer who (once he returns next year from a medical red-shirt season) should end up the number two or three scorer in school history. He’s gotten stronger, and if he continues on that path, he could hear his name called on NBA Draft day.
F Vedran Vukusic- 4th leading scorer in school history, 2nd team all big ten in ’06, third team in 05 and all-time leading three point assassin until Craig Moore broke his records last year.
G Jitim Young- All-Big Ten 1st team in ’02, third team selection in ’04, was also a steals machine, finishing his career second in Northwestern history. Averaged 47% from the field over his career; not a bad percentage for a guard.
G Craig Moore- Arguably the best player on a NIT team that finished one win shy of the school record for single season victories. Moore’s senior leadership and energy helped them close out a few games down the stretch. Just one or two “MOORE” games and they would have been dancing last March. Craig will always be known as a guy who never saw a three-point field goal attempt he didn’t like, hitting many of his 3pt field goal attempts at Welsh-Ryan from what seemed like Lincolnshire. Also, the school career record holder in that department.
G Juice Thompson- He’s in the middle of his junior year, and yet a first-teamer? Like Dick Vitale would scream, “are youuuuuuu seriousssssssss?” Yes, take a look at the guards on the second team. You telling me Juice couldn’t school all three of them? Michael “Juice” Thompson has been a fine distributor his whole career, and now he’s picking up the scoring and three-point shooting slack in Coble’s absence.
F Tavaras Hardy- Carmody’s top current assistant is ninth in school history in rebounding and 4th in blocked shots. And the job he’s doing to help bring the freshmen along this year is very admirable and commendable. Didn’t help grab him a spot on this list, but a good thing nonetheless.
F Winston Blake- My most recent Welsh-Ryan Arena memory of Winston Blake actually came last June. He walked across the Kellogg graduation stage in the same class as my live-in girlfriend. Congrats to Blake for earning a MBA. On the court, the swingman with the MOST BRITISH name I’ve ever heard, is 4th in school history in three point field goals made, 2nd in attempts.
G Tim Doyle- I should disqualify him from this team, given some of the weaknesses he’s displayed as a Big Ten Network analyst. Last year he actually said on the air, “Trent Meacham is one of the best outside shooters in the nation.” To quote “Apocalypse Now” “The horror! The horror!” But during his basketball career, Doyle was 8th all time in steals, 4th in assists in Wildcat history.
G Mohammad Hachad- All big ten defensive team in ‘05, third in school history in steals.
G T.J. Parker- Ninth all-time in career steals. That’s all I got.
Honorable Mention- None
Try next decade- F John Shurna, G/F Drew Crawford, G Alex Marcotullio- If only this list was composed a year or two later, then two or three of these guys would likely be on it. Indeed, the 2010s are looking like the brightest decade yet for NU hoops; certainly much brighter than this decade. The current ‘Cats look pretty good, 8-1 with a couple resume building wins, a top 30 national RPI and many bracket projections have them in the field of 64 as a #8 seed.
Check out The Sports Bank’s other All-Decade college basketball teams:
Although it’s very early, this year is looking like THE YEAR the Cats make the NCAA tourney. If not, next year with a nucleus one year older and more experienced, and a highly regarded recruit in JerShon Cobb coming in looks very promising. A tourney berth would bring more celebratory partying and awkward dancing from upper middle class, middle-aged white men than alumnus Stephen Colbert’s rap during Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” performance.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down|