Off The Boards by Jack Scheuer

Off The Boards

By Jack Scheuer

February 20, 2019 Edition

Here is a subject that is certain to cause discussions and arguments: Who are your choices for the five best players in basketball history? Three of them, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James and Michael Jordan, should be no-brainers, but then the subject becomes very challenging. After changing my mind numerous times, I finally decided on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to complete my team, and those two narrowly edged the great Oscar Robertson. Ironically, Bird and Johnson, in addition to great numbers, had two similar honors: Both were MVP three times, and each was first team all-pro on nine occasions.

Some other candidates would include Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, and even active guys like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Dirk Nowitzki. Obviously, the biggest problem is being limited to choosing just five players, but that’s all part of the deal. 

Let the arguments begin.

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Continuing to recognize players of former years, this week we salute Villanova’s Gary Buchanan, who, in addition to being the best foul shooter in Big 5 history, also averaged 14.8 points per game in his four-year career. A 2003 grad, he is also the school’s leader in made 3-pointers with 337.  A 6-4 guard, the St. Louis native led the team in scoring twice, and is # 12 on the Wildcat’s all-time list with 1,799 points. As for free throws, here are some numbers: His career average of 91.3 is 4th in Division 1 history, and is still the Big East’s all-time best; In 2000-01, his 94.2 (97 for 103) was tops in the nation, and during that season he connected on 73 straight from the line. Gary Buchanan, one of the best from the not too distant past. 

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Trivia Time: Who holds the NBA record for most times scoring 20 or more points? Answer at the end of the column.

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One team I think could advance pretty far in the in the NCAA’s is Houston. Coached by Kelvin Sampson, the Cougars, who are currently 25-1, play at an extremely fast pace, but average just over 11.7 turnovers a game. And, they are probably the deepest team in the country with 10 players playing 10 minutes or more each game. So, if you’re looking for a dark horse, be my guest.

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This and That: Big time hoops tonight when North Carolina meets Duke at Cameron….  Penn’s junior guard Devon Goodman is a strong candidate for the Big 5’s Most Improved award. He’s averaging 13.8 points per game after just 3.8 last season…. Charlie Brown (19.9) is looking to be St. Joe’s first 20 points a game performer since Jameer Nelson (20.6) in 2003-04…. Former Penn guard Fran McCaffery is certainly off the hot seat at Iowa. His Hawkeyes are 20-6, and have only one senior on the team……Collin Gillespie, Villanova’s sophomore point guard, turns the ball over just 1.4 times a game…. Temple’s Dalton Pepper is playing for Virtus Cassino in Italy. The team is already scouting Virginia center Jack Salt…Upcoming: Tonight, Villanova is at Georgetown and La Salle visits the Bonnies; Penn hosts Columbia on Friday, Cornell on Saturday; also on Saturday, St. Joe’s travels to UMass, Drexel welcomes Delaware, and Temple is home with Tulsa.

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Answer to Trivia Time: Hall of Famer Karl Malone went over 20 points 1,134 times.

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