College Basketball: Constructing the Most Dynamic Roster of the 21st Century

Eric HampfordContributor IIIJanuary 23, 2012

College Basketball: Constructing the Most Dynamic Roster of the 21st Century

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    The game of college basketball is filled with stars. Each and every year, the games best players are shipped off to the NBA, but fresh faces are introduced to us.

    Most of these stars hail from the basketball "factory" programs, schools who churn out professional talent yearly, schools such as North Carolina, Kansas, and UCLA.

    Then there are the small school superstars who carry their teams to unlikely heights, while giving the media a glimpse of a different kind of star. It gives schools like Radford, Vermont, and Long Beach State the opportunity to market itself on the big stage. 

    What makes a superstar? Most of the time, college basketball's best players are exceptionally talented in numerous facets of the game. However, they also exhibit at least one rare trait that separates them from the pack.

    Whether it be their shooting ability, passing ability, rebounding, or even their drive to win, superstars stand out based on the rare skills they possess.

    Keep in mind that in order to construct the perfect team of the century, you wouldn't just throw together the eight best players college basketball has seen since the year 2000.

    Creating a perfect team means handpicking stars whose skills all fit together like the pieces of an intricate puzzle, and when those pieces fit together, this is what you find. Without further ado, here is college basketball's "team of the century".

     

    Photo compliments of Slam Magazine

Chris Paul, Wake Forest

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 175 pounds

    Position: Point Guard

    School: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

    College Statistics ('04-05'):  15.3 points, 6.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 steals

    Exceptional Skill(s): Driven to win, fiercely competitive, great teammate 

    Why He Made the All-Century Team:

    Plain and simply, great players want to play with Chris Paul. He is a pass first point guard, though he can easily score when he wants to. He is just as comfortable racking up 12 assists as he is scoring 20 points. For him, it's all about winning. He will go down in history as one of the best point guards ever to suit up in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Jameer Nelson, St. Joseph's

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 190 pounds

    Position: Point Guard

    School: St. Joseph's Hawks

    College Statistics ('03-'04): 20.6 points, 5.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 steals

    Exceptional Skill(s): Will to win, team first point guard, strength to overpower opposing point guards

    Why He Made the All-Century Team:

    If you know one thing about Jameer Nelson, it should be that he is a winner. He led tiny St. Joe's to the first undefeated regular season in college basketball since UNLV in 1990. He is a unique point guard. He is built like a Mack truck, but possesses the quickness to break down a defense. He is a very good shooter and a perfect backup point guard who will maximize the minutes when he is on the court.

Dwyane Wade, Marquette

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 220 pounds

    Position: Shooting Guard

    School: Marquette Golden Eagles

    College Statistics ('02-'03): 21.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.1 steals

    Exceptional Skill(s): Exceptional scorer, prolific defender

    Why He Made the All-Century Team:

    If you are looking for the perfect shooting guard, look no further than Dwyane Wade. Statistically, he will fill the stat sheet for your team. However, what separates him from other two-guards in the game of basketball is his defensive prowess. Not only can he lead your team in scoring, but he will emphatically lock up the opposing team's best offensive player, and take pride in it. 

Stephen Curry, Davidson

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 185 pounds

    Position: Shooting Guard

    School: Davidson Wildcats

    College Statistics ('08-'09): 28.6 points, 5.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 steals

    Exceptional Skill(s): Shooter, scorer

    Why He Made the All-Century Team:

    The late-blooming Stephen Curry took the college basketball world by storm, and is now doing the same in the NBA. He is one of the finest shooters in the game of basketball, and he is dangerous shooting it from anywhere inside the arena. He is a natural born scorer, and is a perfect compliment to this team because of that. Coming off the bench behind Dwyane Wade, he is capable of scoring in bunches in limited action, and giving this team a momentum boost in the process.

Michael Beasley, Kansas State

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 235 pounds

    Position: Small Forward

    School: Kansas State Wildcats

    College Statistics: 26.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.3 steals

    Exceptional Skill(s): The perfect skill set for the modern day small forward

    Why He Made the All-Century Team:

    While Michael Beasley has had his fair share of disappointment in the NBA so far, there's no denying that he is one of the most naturally gifted forwards in the game. He is blessed with excellent size to compliment his ambidextrous hands, quick feet and silky-smooth jump shot. What makes him even more dangerous is his ability to use his skills to score both inside the paint as well as on the perimeter. So not only can he help this team's backcourt, but he has the tools to be a force in the frontcourt as well.

Hakim Warrick, Syracuse

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    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 220 pounds

    Position: Small Forward

    School: Syracuse Orange

    College Statistics ('04-'05): 21.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals

    Exceptional Skill(s): Shot blocking

    Why He Made the All-Century Team:

    While he hasn't made much of a name for himself in the National Basketball Association, Hakim Warrick has done what he is best at, and that is play his role, and play it well. The lengthy and athletic forward is a rare shot blocking phenom. His value will be in creating a buzz with his play off the bench by swatting opponents' shots or rattling the rim with one of his trademark slam dunks. 

DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 270 pounds

    Position: Power Forward

    School: Pittsburgh Panthers

    College Statistics ('08-'09): 15.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks

    Exceptional Skill(s): Rebounding, vibrant personality

    Why He Made the All-Century Team:

    There have been very few players at the college level as electric as DeJuan Blair, and it has more to do with his personality than his game. He is an immediate fan favorite with his demeanor. Whether it be a loud roar after a rebound, or a huge smile he flashes frequently showing the love he has for the game, he is a unique player. What makes him more unique is his uncanny ability to rebound the basketball, even though he is shorter than the typical power forward. He is a player in the mold of Charles Barkley, and his knack for rebounding is crucial to this team's success.

Kevin Love, UCLA

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 260 pounds

    Position: Center

    School: UCLA Bruins

    College Statistics ('07-'08): 17.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.4 blocks

    Exceptional Skill(s): Rebounding, Tremendous skill set for a power forward/center

    Why He Made the All-Century Team:

    Although Kevin Love is a more natural power forward, he is more than capable of playing the center position for this squad. He is a rebounding phenom, already one of the best that the NBA has ever seen. What separates him from other big men is his ability to stretch the defense with his shooting ability. He has consistent range all the way out to the three-point line. He also is extremely efficient from the free throw line, so defenses will pay for fouling the physical post player while he is bruising his way to robust point and rebound totals.