- Roy Williams, North Carolina: A crying towel, just in case.
- D. J. Strawberry, Maryland: A mute button where he can silence the knuckleheads that have something to say about him and his infamous father Darryl.
- Oliver Purnell, Clemson: A case of his favorite antacid. He'll need it as his Tigers get into the ACC schedule.
- Isma'il Muhammad, Georgia Tech: A new TIVO machine with a DVD recorder so he can record Sports Center every night and edit them down to his highlights. That's a DVD I'd buy!
- For seniors like Virginia's Majestic Mapp, Duke's Chris Duhon, Clemson's Chris Hobbs, NC State's Marcus Melvin and Scooter Sherrill, Georgia Tech's Marvin Lewis, and Florida State's Michael Joiner a dozen roses and the chance to stop and smell them on their last trip through the ACC.
- For transfers Michael Thompson from Duke, Andre Collins from Maryland, and Dominick Mejia from NC State, the greener pastures which they are seeking.
- For all students and fans at ACC schools, a diagram showing where the line between supporting your team and being either a hooligan or just a stupid jerk is. Hopefully everyone will open this precious gift, take it with them to their favorite ACC arena, and use it wisely.
Street & Smith's, who puts out one of the best annual college basketball previews, has recently published its "100 Greatest College Basketball Players." Here are the ACC players they ranked:
- 7-David Thompson, NC State
- 13-Michael Jordan, North Carolina
- 16-Ralph Sampson, Virginia
- 17-Christian Laettner, Duke
- 25-Phil Ford, North Carolina
- 28-Tim Duncan, Wake Forest
- 39-Len Bias, Maryland
- 45-James Worthy, North Carolina
- 46-Shane Battier, Duke
- 58-John Lucas, Maryland
- 61-Bobby Hurley, Duke
- 63-Charlie Scott, North Carolina
- 70-Grant Hill, Duke
- 74-Jason Williams, Duke
- 75-Billy Cunningham, North Carolina
- 78-Art Heyman, Duke
- 89-Sam Perkins, North Carolina
- 92-Johnny Dawkins, Duke
- 94-Danny Ferry, Duke
- 98-Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech
- 100-Antawn Jamison, North Carolina
In total, 21 of the greatest 100 players of all time in this ranking played in the ACC. The Big 10 was a distant second in representation with 13 players. Totals by school were Duke 8, North Carolina 7, Maryland 2, NC State 1, Virginia 1, Wake Forest 1, Georgia Tech 1. The #1 player overall was UCLA's Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abduhl-Jabbar) and #2 was Bill Walton, also from UCLA.
I have long felt that David Thompson was the best college basketball player I have ever seen, and that holds up well in this ranking. No one thought Michael Jordan would develop into the best player ever when he left college. Remember, he was only the third player taken in the 1984 NBA draft. The players were rated solely on their college careers, which is how Duke could exceed North Carolina's total.
Ralph Sampson at #16 strikes me as too high. One key aspect of greatness for an athlete is playing your best when the stakes are the highest. Thompson and Jordan clearly did that, but Sampson did not. At times, he played his worst in big games. Phil Ford, the best college point guard I have ever seen, might be a bit low at #25. Anyone who ever saw him run Dean Smith's old four-corner offense knew just how great a player he was.
I am surprised to see Jason Williams at #74 and Maryland's Juan Dixon not ranked at all. Other players who merited consideration for this list from my experience are; Len Elmore from Maryland, Mark Price from Georgia Tech, and Len Chappell from Wake Forest. As you can tell, I'm a bit partial to four-year players.
Question for the Jury— Who do you think was omitted from this list that should have been included? Who on the list do you think was underrated or overrated? Send me an e-mail at email@example.com
This coming Saturday promises to be the most interesting day of the season so far. Duke travels to Madison Square Garden to take on the #10 ranked Texas Longhorns, NC State faces undefeated South Carolina, and Wake Forest travels to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina in the first conference game of the season.
Can Duke's emerging inside game stand up to the Longhorn's Texas-sized front line? Can NC State beat a surprising good Gamecock team on the road? Will Wake be able to slow down the Runnin' Heels? The answers to these questions will shed considerable light on what we can expect in January.
Speaking of the Tar Heels, their players are posting some staggering individual numbers. Point guard Ray Felton set a school single-game record with 18 assists vs. George Mason, and Sean May set a Smith Center record with 21 rebounds against Akron.
Since I mentioned David Thompson earlier in this column, I would be remiss if I didn't report that he just received his undergraduate degree from NC State. This won't help the Wolfpack's graduation rate, but it does send a good signal to younger players. Congratulations, David!
That's what I think. Let me know what you think on the message board or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Court will be in recess until after the holidays. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. I'll be back in 2004.
Until then, court is adjourned!