Big East Basketball: Ranking the Conference's 10 All-Time Dirtiest Players

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 22, 2013

Big East Basketball: Ranking the Conference's 10 All-Time Dirtiest Players

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    The term "dirty player" is rather broad. There are a variety of reasons that an athlete could earn this title, ranging from routinely getting under the opponent's skin to taking part in a brawl or just coming off as unlikable. 

    Big East basketball always carries a wide variety of talent. Of course the conference has seen its fair share of villains too.

    There are opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to classifying a player as dirty. The first, and most glaring, is when a guy provides a consistent supply of cheap shots and tends to resort to violence when drama arises.

    Then there are the kind of players that you absolutely despise...unless they're on your team. These hoopsters are often more aggressive than others and simply irritate opposing players (and opposing fans). 

    Off course, you must consider off-the-court issues as well.

    With that distinction in mine, here are some of the bad boys of Big East basketball over the years.

10. Mark Jackson, St. John's

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    Jackson brought an in-your-face approach to the court as a member of the Red Storm. That attitude often riled up opponents, but it fueled a brilliant career for the point guard. 

    He went on to an outstanding professional career and ranks third all time in NBA assists. Known as a dogged defender during his time at St. John's and in the pros, Jackson qualifies as an aggressive overachiever who refused to be outworked.

    That may have angered many of those who went toe-to-toe with him, but that style of play has driven him to a lengthy career in the sport.

    He carries a similar mentality today as head coach of the Golden State Warriors.

9. Carl Krauser, Pittsburgh

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    Krauser was directly called a dirty player by conference opponents on occasion and riled up student sections with a trademark "X" symbol, which he would create with his hands after big shots.

    The 2005 John Wooden Award recipient was a prolific performer for Pittsburgh, but gained a reputation as a guy who went a little too far with extracurricular activity on the court.

    It's a good thing no opponent ever decided to throw a punch in Krauser's direction. He spent time fighting as an amateur boxer.

    Krauser, now 31, was charged with carrying a loaded weapon, drug possession and driving with a suspended license stemming from DUI checkpoint in Beaver Falls, Pa. last year.

8. Marcus Toney-El, Seton Hall

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    Toney-El had a forgettable run as a forward at Seton Hall, averaging about six points per game in three seasons. However, during that time span he did an excellent job of infuriating a wide demographic. 

    When making a dig at Rutgers forward Herve Lamizana, Toney-El managed to insult an entire gender. 

    'He shouldn't act that way," Toney-El told the Newark Star-Ledger. "He shouldn't hate. That's a female trait. Men are men. We get over things. To still keep that on him, that's a female trait.''

    He was also involved in a 2001 locker room fight.

7. Jared Dudley, Boston College

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    The 2007 ACC Player of the Year is the definition of a player who ticks people off strictly because he never stops hustling (Dudley played his first two seasons in the Big East, as Boston College made the jump to the ACC in 2005).

    Dudley quickly earned a reputation as a relentless, aggressive forward who had no concern for what fans and opposing players thought of him.

    His attitude rubbed some the wrong way in college but it has enabled him to become a leader in the NBA, where he currently suits up for the Phoenix Suns.

    Chalk Dudley up as a major "pest" during his Big East career.

6. Eric Devendorf, Syracuse

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    Devendorf was the type of player who displayed far too much swagger for his skill set. The guard did a lot of trash talking and would even occasionally become engaged with crowds on the road.

    He was voted the No. 1 hated college basketball player in the country, based on a 2009 poll. Still, Devendorf never hid from the perception.

    "They probably think I'm an a-hole, man," he told ESPN.com writer Pat Forde. "I know they do. I know everybody thinks I'm an a-hole."

    Reports that he struck a female Syracuse student in the jaw only helped enhance the negative feelings toward the Orange standout.

    Devendorf was released by his New Zealand professional team in 2010 for his involvement in a bar fight.

5. Donatas Zavackas, Pittsburgh

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    Zavackas often served as public enemy No. 1 in opposing arenas because of his abrasive and cocky demeanor. He was voted the Big East's dirtiest player in one postseason poll during his time at Pittsburgh.

    His era in Pittsburgh will forever be defined by the final game of his career as a Panther. Zavackas, a top-rated three-point shooter, removed his shoes and refused to take part in the last 9:15 of a Sweet 16 loss to Marquette.

    As a bonus, check out this photo of his postgame reaction to a win in the Lithuanian Basketball League.

4. Dikembe Mutombo, Georgetown

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    Mutombo is a jovial and personable guy off the court, known for charitable work in Africa. During his playing days, he caused opponents plenty of pain.

    The Hoyas center and eventual four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year was known for airing out his elbows a little too often. That physical play angered other players and eventually got a bunch of guys hurt in the NBA.

    Here's a list of Mutombo's victims that spans 13 years, via ESPN.com.

3. Ron Artest, St. John's

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    The man currently known as Metta World Peace wasn't recognized as a tortured soul during his days with the Red Storm, but he lands on this list because of what he went on to do.

    Artest was an emotional standout at St. John's and refused to give up any ground to the opposition (which became his best attribute and biggest curse).

    As a member of the Indiana Pacers, Artest took center stage during the "Malice at the Palace". Even after winning an NBA title with Los Angeles, that moment defines his basketball career.

    He's added plenty of memorable temper flares over the years, including this violent elbow strike to the head of James Harden last season.

2. Cheikh Mbodj, Cincinnati

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    The Bearcats big man was at the center of one of basketball's worst brawls last season.

    Mbodj can be seen in this video trying to stomp on Xavier center Kenny Frease, who was laid out after a punch to the face from Cincinnati's Yancy Gates.

    Fighting is dirty. Deliberately trying to hurt a wounded player is despicable.

1. Herb Pope, Seton Hall

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    Pope takes top "honors" based on his bizarre actions during a 2010 NIT game against Texas Tech. He was ejected from the game after deliberately delivering a punch to the "groin area" of a Red Raiders player.

    He violated NCAA rules. He violated Guy Code. 

    During his time at Seton Hall, Pope also served up a headbutt. This time the victim was Rutgers guard Eli Carter.

    His tough guy act hasn't faded in post-playing days. Pope was arrested on New Years Eve 2012 for brandishing a handgun at a bar.

    You stay classy, Herb.