Pitt All-Time Basketball Team
By Chris Dokish
I received a few emails today about Bob Smizik's list for Pitt's All-Time Basketball team and I was asked who I would have on such a list. So, just for fun, here would be my list. Since I was born in 1968, I will only list players from the 1970's on.
Billy Knight- Consensus pick for the best Pitt player in at least the last 50 years.
Charles Smith- Extremely versatile big man and Pitt's best player in the Big East Era. I recently ranked him the No. 16 best player in Big East history.
Brian Shorter- Absolutely tragic that Pitt fans don't give him more credit. He beat out Alonzo Mourning and Billy Owens for Rookie of the Year in the Big East and was nearly averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds over his first two seasons. Was a Prop 48 victim as a freshman and had a devastating illness as a senior. If it wasn't for that he may have ranked higher than Smith. Even with those problems, I have him as the No. 26 best player in Big East history. Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News recently told me that Shorter was "the most powerful low-post scorer I've ever seen".
Brandin Knight- Want to know why Pitt players buy into the system rather than just be your normal individualistic egomaniac? Well, it started with Knight, who bought into Ben Howland's team first approach before anybody. Once he swallowed his pride, every Panther since followed his lead. Oh, and he was a damn good player, too.
Sean Miller- I know there is a lot of love now for Levance Fields, and rightly so, but Miller was one of the best combination of three point and free throw shooters in college basketball history. He was just as good of a quarterback also. In Pitt's current system, Miller would be deadly.
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Clyde Vaughan- Another tragically underappreciated player, Vaughan proved he was not just an Eastern 8 player when he came over to the Big East and lit up Georgetown teams with Patrick Ewing, and St. John's teams with Chris Mullin. When some of the best teams in Big East history doesn't have a chance in stopping you, then you know you're good.
Larry Harris- Excellent scorer who averaged over 20 ppg for three straight seasons.
DeJuan Blair- Yes, he may not be done yet, but is there any doubt of this guy's excellence? If a miracle happens and he stays all four years, he will be a first team selection.
Jason Matthews- An unreal three point and free throw shooter. It's hard to imagine that he and Miller played in the same back court, and both would hit nearly 50% of the their threes as well as about 90% of their free throws.
Carl Krauser- Unfortunately he took some garbage from some Pitt fans, but any mistakes he made on the court was because he was trying too hard to succeed, and you can't blame a player for that. The only guard in recent Pitt history that was capable of taking over a game with his scoring. Plus, he was an excellent defensive player.
Ricky Greer- Just an excellent player who at a burly 6'5" and 225 pounds, could score in the paint or from three, played good defense, and could rebound better than most players much bigger than he.
Sam Young- Sometimes Sam goes bye-bye in his head, but more often than not, he is an excellent player. In high school he was a scrappy player in the paint, but much to his credit, he expanded his game exponentially. If Pitt goes to the Final Four, he will be come a legend, and quite frankly, he deserves it because he could have left early for the NBA.
Jerome Lane- An All-American and one of the most impressive rebounders in NCAA history. Even if a lot of his rebounds were his own misses.
Levance Fields- I'm sure a lot of fans will not like seeing Fields so low, but Miller, Matthews, Knight, and Krauser were all better offensively, and Knight and Krauser were light years ahead of him defensively. But if he takes Pitt to the Final Four, I will have to skyrocket him up the list all the way to first team over Miller. And with the ice water he has running through his veins, that just may happen.
Vonteego Cummings- A great talent and top 20 recruit, but despite the big numbers he put up, he still always seemed to be an underachiever. With the way Pitt runs their program now, he may have been a superstar. All he needed was somebody to harness his massive talent.
Sam Clancy- A demon as a rebounder, despite being only 6'6". He would even star on the Pitt current team.
Chevon Troutman- What Pitt fan will ever forget Troutman's second half dismantling at UConn when he scored 25 points in the second half to take the Panthers from a 17 point first half deficit to a 10 point Pitt win?
Aaron Gray- Some may be ultimately disappointed that Gray did not take Pitt further than he did, but the truth is, he was already one of the biggest overachievers in Pitt history and he deserves huge credit for willing himself into an All-American caliber player.
Jerry McCullough- Quick as a cat and maybe the best defensive player on the list. Plus, he was a good scorer, either driving into the lane or shooting a three.
Jaron Brown- Yeah, I'm cheating by putting him on here since he was mostly a small forward, but he was also a little power forward and a little shooting guard, too. Hell, he was even a little point guard. And no list of all-time Pitt greats would be complete without the player that probably best personifies what the program has become.
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