This is the second entry in choosing the five best players from each of the City 6 schools over the past 50 years. Frankly, I’m starting to think it was a bad idea to only pick five because too many great players are left off the lists. However, that is the rule, so this week I’ll make an attempt at picking the best of the best at Penn.
1) Corky Calhoun
One of the top all-around players ever to play in the Big 5, Calhoun was a 6-foor-7 forward/guard and the top performer on the Quakers’ great teams in the early 70′s. An outstanding defensive player, he was first-team All-Big 5 three times, and shared the Outstanding Player Award with Villanova’s Chris Ford in 1972.
2) Ron Haigler
Haigler was All-Big 5 first team twice, and both times named the Outstanding Player. In his three years, the 6-8 forward averaged 18.7 ppg and 10.3 rebounds. He is sixth on the school’s all-time scoring list.
3) Keven McDonald
A silky smooth forward, McDonald averaged 20.8 points during his three-year Quaker careers, and is fourth among Penn’s all-time scorers. He was a first-team selection all three years, and was the Outstanding Player in 1977.
4) Jerome Allen
At 6-3, Allen – Penn’s current coach – was the consummate combination guard. He made first-team Big 5 three times and led Penn to three straight Ivy titles. On the Quakers’ career list, he is second in assists and steals, and the ninth leading scorer.
5) Zack Rosen
Another 6-3 guard who could shoot and pass, Rosen is Penn’s all-time assist leader, first in minutes played and games started, and third in points scored. He was All-Big 5 first-team twice, and the Big 5′s Outstanding Player last season.
Also given strong consideration would be Stan Pawlak, Matt Maloney, Phil Hankinson, Bob Morse, Tony Price, Michael Jordan, Ugonna Onyekwe and the Bilsky/Wohl backcourt.
Keep in mind that it’s not fair to disregard a player just because of the era in which he played. He should be compared to those he competed with at that time.
-Billy, anyone? It’s a mystery to me why Billy Donovan’s name is rarely mentioned when the big-name coaches are discussed. He’s been very successful in his career at Florida, his teams play well, and he’s obviously a great recruiter.
He’s kind of like the anti-John Calapari in that nobody questions his ethics. And, he has a real good team this year which doesn’t get a lot of attention.
-Trivia Time: Who is the last Villanova player to have a double-figure rebound season? Answer at the end of the column.
-Pro Notes: The New York Knicks have to have the oldest team in NBA history. Kurt Thomas is 40, Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby are 39, and Rasheed Wallace is 38. They are all older than Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn, who is 37. … My choice for the most underrated player in the league is Anderson Varejao. The Cleveland center is a double-double machine, and currently leads the league in rebounds. … Kudos to Drexel great and NBA veteran Malik Rose for the excellent job he does as the 76ers color analyst.
-Answer to Trivia Time: Big 5 Hall of Famer Harold Pressley averaged 10.1 rebounds during the 1985-86 season.
-Note to readers: A note here about about last week’s column on La Salle’s best players: Rasual Butler and Steven Smith were not mentioned among those who were also considered, and certainly should have been. Both had a great careers at 20th and Olney.
-Jack Scheuer is a Big 5 Hall of Fame college basketball writer. His “Off the Boards” column appears on Tuesdays.
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