Archive for November, 2011

Big East Dream Team

// November 22nd, 2011 // 10 Comments » // Uncategorized

You can’t really talk college basketball without thinking of the Big East conference. Though it’s changed it’s make-up from time to time, several characteristics remain the same. The conference has a rich history for smash mouth basketball, intense rivalries, dominant players, legendary coaches, and oh yeah, who can forget those 5 days in early March where all 16 teams battle it out at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in the heart of New York City? I was recently asked who I thought made the All Big East Dream Team. Natural instinct was spouting off 10 players from my alma mater (see Huskies, UConn) but knew that would be completely one sided, so I put down my UConn kool-aid and got my think on. I tried to keep the bigger picture in mind and diversify my picks when choosing a squad of dream-team worthy players. Wasn’t too sure on how to break it down. Maybe by position? The era they played in? National popularity? Biggest ladies man? (Mike Nardi would’ve come in dead last) Well after hemming and hawing for days, I decided the best way to approach this was to break it down by who meant the most to their program then and now. The following 5 players make my All Big East Dream Team and here’s why:

1. Patrick “Chewing” Ewing, Georgetown.

For me, there’s no debate Ewing is one of the best college ball players of all time. He was the first real star the Big East had ever seen. The NBA Hall of Famer remains the most popular Big East alum almost 30 years later. He was a dominate presence on the court and lived up to all his hype. Oh yeah, and he led the Hoyas to 3 NCAA Final appearances. No brainer here folks.

2. Allen Iverson, Georgetown.

Dude only played 2 years in the league so some might gaff that I have him ranked so high, but look what he did in just two seasons at Georgetown. A.I. finished with 1,539 total points and would likely have shattered the Big East scoring record if he stayed all four years before declaring for the NBA draft after his sophomore year. In 1995 Iverson was Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year. He repeated his Defensive Player of the Year honors in 96′ along while being named a First Team Consensus All-American. Some off the court issues tarnished his legacy in the NBA, but no one can argue how truly dominant he was in his freshman and sophomore years in the Big East. Let’s not forget how SICK those Iverson sneakers were either.

3. Richard “Rip” Hamilton, Connecticut.

When you ask UConn fans who their favorite Husky is of all time, most would say Ray Allen, Emeka Okafor or Kemba Walker. For me, Rip Hamilton takes the crown as best Husky of all time. Standing 6′7 and probably 170 lbs soaking wet, Rip was a prolific scoring threat and to this day fans undervalue how significant he was to the school and UConn’s program. Although there were some key figures before and after his time, Rip simply gets the nod here by leading UConn to their first ever National Championship in 1999 and REALLY put the Huskies on the map. Did I mention they beat the almighty DUKE BLUE DEVILS who were heavily favored that year?  UConn wouldn’t be where they’re at today without this guy, and for that I am forever grateful.

4. Chris “Look at that hair” Mullin, St. John’s.

Mullin could be ranked on the haircut alone and I don’t think we’d have any argument there. He was of the best pure shooters in college basketball history and definitely a pioneer in making the Big East what it is today. He had three straight years where he was named “Conference Player of the Year,” and was 87.8% from the free throw line. He also had 57.7%  shooting percentage from the field. What makes that even more impressive? All of Mullin’s numbers were put together BEFORE the college game installed the three-point line. Can you imagine how many more points he could’ve had? Scary good. Truly legendary.

5. Kerry Kittles, Villanova.

Aside from having one of the best college basketball names of all time, Kittles is currently Villa-no-fun’s all time leader in steals and scoring which says a lot for such a storied program.  He finished his career ranked 2nd in made field goals, compiled 2,243 total points and his 715 rebounds are the most boards by a guard in Big East history. He was named Player of the Year in 1995 and was a First Team Consensus All American in 96′. Kittles kind of fizzled out in the NBA due to injuries early on, but he will be remembered as one of the most dominant players in Big East history on both sides of the ball. (That’s what she said)

image.png6th/7th Man Award: Kemba “Pittsburgh Center Gary McGhee Will Never Recover After That Crossover Dribble and Buzzer Beater Shot I Hit In His Face To Advance In The Big East Tournament” Walker and Carmelo Anthony are neck and neck here. I decided to put these two guys in the same boat since they remind me a lot of each other. Not their physical attributes nor their their timeline of success. But the similarity they share is how they each had one magical year where nothing could go wrong and it eventually led to a National Championship trophy for their school. (It should be noted during Carmelo’s championship season in with Syracuse in 2003, UConn beat them twice, just side information if you’re keeping score at home). Both got hot at the right time and were completely dominant when it mattered most, tournament time.

Need more proof? Check this out.

Dreamiest Coach: Jay Wright, Villanova.

Half the reason fans that go to Wildcat’s games in Philly are for a peak at George Clooney, I mean, Jay Wright. He’s got the three T’s: Tall, tan and toned. And that’s not all you get with a former Naismith Coach of the Year. Coach Wright has been known to partake in flash mobs on campus.

He’s the man.

——Chris the Intern

Chris is participating Volvo’s Biggest Fan of The Big East Contest. You can support Chris, who has been eating Ramen noodles every day despite graduating from college years ago, by voting HERE.  He needs your help!!!!! Help keep Chris the Intern off the streets and vote HERE

The Student’s Perspective: Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, and What It Means To Be A Nittany Lion

// November 15th, 2011 // 11 Comments » // Uncategorized


The ongoing, evolving situation at Penn State continues to raise eyebrows and churn stomachs as details continue to emerge from State College.  Last week I had the opportunity to diverge from my traditional, good humored spot on ESPN Radio and breakdown the player’s perspective on what I saw as a systemic failure of accountability at one of the nation’s premiere football and academic institutions.  I realized that my perspective might not be a little “out of touch” as far as the college football players perspective;  but I am not and never have been a student at Penn State.

My experience at PSU is limited to recruiting visits and football camps.  So I decided to reach out to a current Penn State student.  I originally intended to craft a piece pulling quotes from her answers to my broad stroke instructions,  “Give students perspective on the firing and the atmosphere on campus.”  Instead, I offer her response in its (powerful) entirety.

This past week has been extremely emotional for everyone here at Penn State. A mix of emotions from anger, to hurt, to betrayal, to heartbreak has turned Happy Valley into a somber, solemn place. We hurt because the man who has represented our beloved University as a symbol of honor and integrity for 46 years has been revealed to be so much less of what we thought we loved and cherished so deeply. We question how this horrible scandal will affect our degrees and reputation, that only a few days ago were held in such high esteem, when we are finally faced in the real world. But above all, we hurt because of the disgusting crimes Jerry Sandusky committed and the lives he destroyed so close to our home. For a University whose students have single-handedly created the largest student-run philanthropy in the world for children with cancer to have to turn around and apologize for crimes against children, harming them in the worst way possible, is absolutely disgraceful and horrifying. I hope that the rest of the nation will place the blame on those who rightfully deserve it and not denounce the students for this man’s actions.

As for those who rioted on behalf of Joe Pa’s firing, coming from a person who has spoken to many and saw the events occur downtown, it is not because they were protecting a child molester. It was because the center of their Penn State world was taken away in such a blunt, aggressive way, that causing commotion was the only outlet to that anger. I also feel that at that point, many did not understand what exactly the means of Joe Paterno’s allegations were, failing to have read the Grand Jury Indictment yet.

However, I also can say with all honesty that these people represented such a small portion of the student body, and that their actions are insignificant compared to how the majority of the students reacted to this situation. I hope that how the media portrayed Penn State that night does not overshadow the more prominent events that actually took place here in University Park this weekend.

On Friday night, a candle light vigil was organized by the students held on the lawn of Old Main, our Central Administrative Building, to pay our respect and show support for the victims of child abuse and sexual assault. Over ten thousands students huddled together as we reflected in silence, listened to many inspiring speeches from our peers, and created a new mission to “fight until no child is harmed again.” That night we vowed that our call of duty was to rise above these allegations, and I believe that the students will continue to do so to no prevail.  On Saturday, Beaver Stadium flooded in a sea of intense emotion and the color blue as the students dedicated the game to victims of child abuse in a “Blue Out”. Never before have I seen the stadium more packed or a heard a more powerful “We Are” chant– even as the players exited the field after losing to Nebraska.

We may have thought we lost our center of Penn State Football due to the recent events, but at that moment, I think each of us realized that the essence of Penn State isn’t Joe Paterno, it is the students and the players that make it so special. We came together that day for the victims and the players, not for Joe Pa’s “legacy.” We showed that amidst the crumbling of what we thought was Penn State, we would stick together stronger than ever and focus on what the real issues were, and those were the children affected.

These are the first of many evolving events that are going to show the nation that Penn State is not Jerry Sandusky or the rest of the people involved with the scandal. We all feel betrayed and repulsed by the actions (or lack thereof) brought upon by the leaders of our school, but we will not let them define us as students and will fight until our name is honorable once again. From the outside looking in, you would never understand that the Penn State student body grew stronger than ever this past weekend. We will continue to grow through this scandal to better our University beyond what it was in the past. I  could not be less proud of the actions of the men I once respected, but I will always be proud to be a Penn Stater and that I can say with my whole heart.

Reacting To The Penn State Scandal: FWG On ESPN Radio

// November 14th, 2011 // 12 Comments » // Uncategorized

The tragedy of this entire situation at Penn State is the failure of people (legends!) to properly report and handle situations that hold no moral ambiguity.  The role of college coaches is molding young athletes to eventually contribute to society outside the game, and the lessons they impart have so much to do with good decision making.   A basic, fundamental level of critical analysis that Paterno and McQueery failed to execute.  When you get into discussions about “will this taint his legend” or “….you have to look at the body of work” the answers are, respectively, Yes and you can’t pick and choose your moments that will reflect on you as a person.  It would be great to wrap JoePa up in this tight little package of winning-est coach, eternal tenure, and old fashioned values and representing State College with dignity and grace.  Unfortunately, this latest, more pressing, more blatant action (or lack thereof) seems to be the bow that ties the entire thing together.
I commend Penn State students and alumni for handling the situation with the outpouring of emotion and support it so rightly deserves.