IU Basketball: Team of the Decade

Bloomington - As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, Hoosier Nation looks back at IU basketball during that time period and picks the 10 best players that have donned the IU jersey...

It's been a tumultuous decade of IU basketball – to say the least.

In the last 10 years, Indiana has fired Bob Knight, gone to a national championship game, missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two decades, endured the worst season in the program's history and landed on NCAA probation. Other than the 2002 NCAA title game appearance, it's largely been a decade to forget in many ways.

But…there have been plenty of memorable players in the last 10 years. Who has stood out the most? Today, we've compiled our list of the best during the first decade of the 21st century. We've broken the top 10 into two teams, and offered an explanation for our selections…

1st Team
F- Jared Jeffries (2001-02)
F- D.J. White (2005-08)
G – A.J. Guyton 1997-00)
G – Tom Coverdale (2000-03)
G – Bracey Wright (2003-05)

Notes: Three of the players – Jeffries, White and Guyton – are no-brainers. That trio won Big Player Player of the Year honors in their final seasons in Bloomington, and each finished their career among the 41 players in IU history to score at least 1,000 points. White probably had the most complete career – although injury-riddled - of any Hoosier player during the decade. He's 16th on Indiana's all-time scoring list with 1,447 points, and if he'd stayed for his senior season he would have become one of only six IU players to ever score 2,000 points. Jeffries' 2002 season, meanwhile, was probably the best season by any Hoosier during the last 10 years – 15.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 blocks on an NCAA runner-up squad. Jeffries' teammate on that '02 squad, Tom Coverdale, was a relatively easy choice as well. After playing sparingly as a freshman, Coverdale averaged double figures his final three seasons and ranked among the league leaders in assists each year, averaging at least 4.5/campaign. His key role on IU's Final Four march also earns Coverdale extra credit. The final choice – Bracey Wright – is probably the most controversial. But Wright's 1,498 points ranks 15th in school history, and he did much of his work with very little offensive support. His 17.6 scoring average, meanwhile, ranks 11th among all 1,000-point scorers in IU history.

2nd Team
F – Kirk Haston (1999-01)
F – Jeff Newton (2000-03)
G – Robert Vaden (2005-06)
G - Eric Gordon (2008)
G – Dane Fife (1999-02)

Notes: A case could be made for Haston over Wright for the fifth and final spot on the All-Decade team, but I ultimately made Haston the "sixth man" and placed him on the second team. He's joined on the frontline by Newton, who was a better player than people give him credit for. Newton set the IU career record for blocked shots (227), and led the team in both scoring (507 points) and rebounding (8.2/game) in 2003 and was a first-team All-Big Ten choice. In the backcourt, Gordon was in Bloomington only one year, but he was an All-Big Ten choice, the league's Freshman of the Year, and the Hoosiers' top scorer for a single season during the decade. Fife, meanwhile, never averaged double figures, but was a defensive standout, earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2002 while helping IU to the Final Four. The final choice was the most difficult, quite honestly, because there wasn't another All-Big Ten caliber player during the last 10 years. I ultimately settled on Vaden because of his versatility and back-to-back seasons averaging double figures. Other possibilities were Marco Killingsworth, Rod Wilmont, Michael Lewis, Marshall Strickland and A.J. Moye, but I'll go with Vaden.

Peegs.com Top Stories