A couple days ago I was listening to the Bill Simmons podcast in which the guest was celebrated author Chuck Klosterman. Simmons and Klosterman were chatting about college hoops with March Madness starting this week and broached a subject of who would have the all-time best starting five among major college programs. Teams like UNC, UCLA, Michigan State and LSU were thrown around, but surprisingly no mention of our fighting Cougars. Well I couldn't let that stand and had to put together a 5 man squad of the best WSU has had to offer on the hardwood.
These selections are course very subjective and I'm sure I'll get torched for some of these picks, but that is all part of the fun of doing an exercise like this. So here is my all-time starting five for Wazzu hoops.
G Guy Williams
"The Fly" is the consummate underrated Cougar as he played a back in the early 80s for a short period of time and had pro stardom dashed by major knee injury. Williams was a 6-foot-9(!) point guard who was WSU's version of Magic Johnson or Penny Hardaway. Coming out of high school in Oakland, Williams had offers from every top program in the country. He signed with local program USF, which at the time was an NCAA powerhouse until it was put on major probation his sophomore year and he joined George Raveling in Pullman. He was averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds when he suffered knee injury. As Raveling later told the Seattle Times:
"He was the most talented player I've ever coached"
G Klay Thompson
Easy choice here. The Sports Ilustrated cover boy and NBA champion is easily the best player to come out of WSU. Oh yeah he's also a 2-time All-Star and a 3 point contest winner. Thompson was named first team All Pac-10 twice and has the record for most points in a single season. This is the one selection I don't think anyone would question.
F Mark Hendrickson
The 6-foot-9 forward continues to give our lineup some major size.The Mount Vernon native averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds per game for his college career while being selected All Pac-10 twice. He had a great inside-outside game as well as being a terrific rebounder. He was the heart and soul of the great Kelvin Sampson teams of the early 1990s. He went in the second round of the NBA draft before choosing to embark on a 10 year career in MLB.
F Steve Puidokas
I'm choosing to go with a twin towers lineup with Puidokas at the 4. The 6-foot-11 big man left WSU as our all-time leading scorer and rebounder after being recruited to the Palouse by Raveling out of the state of Illinois as a Parade All-American.
C James Donaldson
Another Raveling recruit, the 7-foot-2 Donaldson was a defense and rebounding stalwart who is the Cougars all-time leading shot-blocker. He was also one of the better centers in the NBA in the 1980's and made an All-Star team.
That's my picks, who would you make your starting five?
Morning links: Ernie Kent's contract rolled over | The Spokesman-Review
WSU athletic director Bill Moos said on Tuesday that he intends to exercise a rollover clause in men's basketball coach Ernie Kent's contract.