Indiana Basketball: Hoosiers' Ultimate Starting 5

Kyle GrandFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2013

Indiana Basketball: Hoosiers' Ultimate Starting 5

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    Indiana basketball has a tradition that few teams can match. In its illustrious history, IU is known for memorable teams, coaches and players.

    Especially players.

    Some of college basketball's best have played in Bloomington, but what Hoosiers are the best of the best?

    Who would make up the ultimate starting five?

    This slideshow will name the best possible starting lineup for Indiana. The players were chosen based on the following factors, in order of importance: career statistics, individual accolades and postseason success.

Point Guard: Isiah Thomas (1979-1981)

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    Indiana's greatest point guard is also one of its best overall players. The little man known as "Zeke" was a nightmare for opposing defenses. What he did during his two-year stay at Indiana was remarkable. 

    His ability to find teammates for scores was uncanny. He set the IU single season assists record with 197 and averaged 5.6 assists per game for his career.

    What makes Thomas special is that he could do more than just dish out assists. Thomas could put up points (15.1 PPG) and pick your pocket (2.1 SPG).

    Thomas' accolades are impressive. He contributed to back-to-back Big Ten titles, was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection and was named an All-American in 1981.

    The most important thing Thomas did for IU was lead it to a national championship in 1981. For his efforts, he was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.   

    Thomas is an easy choice for Indiana's ultimate starting five.

Shooting Guard: Steve Alford (1983-1987)

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    Steve Alford is Indiana's purest shooter and one of its legendary scorers. His jump shot is as lethal as any in the history of college basketball.

    While he might have spent time as a point guard, he could easily move to shooting guard if he was in a lineup with Isiah Thomas.

    Alford lit up the the scoreboard while he was a Hoosier. He is the second leading scorer in school history with 2,438 points (19.9 PPG). A remarkable feat, considering he played without the three-point line until the 1986 season.

    Just think how much gaudier his numbers would have been if he was awarded three points for every long distance shot he made during his career.

    His mantle is filled with individual honors. Alford was a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection (1984, 1986, 1987), he helped win a Big Ten title in 1987 and was named an All-American twice (1986, 1987).

    On top of all of this, Alford led the Hoosiers to a national championship in 1987. He hit seven three-pointers on his way to 23 points, pacing Indiana in its victory over Syracuse. 

    Alford shot his way into the Hoosiers' record book and onto this list.

Small Forward: Calbert Cheaney (1989-1993)

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    To put it simply, Calbert Cheaney was a scoring machine.

    He is one of college basketball's greatest offensive talents. Not only does he hold IU's career scoring record, he also racked up the most points in Big Ten history (2,613).

    His individual achievements are something to marvel at. He was a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection (1991, 1992, 1993), Big Ten MVP (1993), three-time All-American (1991, 1992, 1993) and the 1993 National Player of the Year.

    Cheaney contributed to Big Ten titles in 1991 and 1993 and a Final Four appearance in 1992. The only thing missing on his resume is a national championship.

    Although he may not have helped hang a banner in Assembly Hall, his production alone makes him a member of this lineup.

Power Forward: Scott May (1973-1976)

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    Scott May is an Indiana legend. He could crash the glass (6.6 RPG) and lead the Hoosiers on offense (17.7 PPG).

    May was named Big Ten MVP and an All-American in 1975 and 1976. He was the 1976 National Player of the Year, making him the first Hoosier to win the award.

    What sets May apart is his role in college basketball history. May was the cornerstone of the undefeated (32-0) 1976 national championship team. The '76 Hoosiers are the last college basketball team to finish the year with a perfect record. 

    May's career speaks for itself. Leaving him off this list is not an option.

Center: Walt Bellamy (1958-1961)

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    At 6'11", Walt Bellamy was a man among boys. He dominated during his time as a Hoosier, putting up insane numbers.

    For his career, he averaged 20.6 points and 15.5 rebounds per game.

    Bellamy owns a number of records. He's No. 1 in IU history when it comes to 59 double-doubles, second in total rebounds (1,088) and has the most boards ever in a Big Ten game (33).

    Bellamy took home his fair share of accolades too. He was a First Team All-Big Ten selection and All-American in 1960 and 1961.

    While there could be a case made to put Kent Benson or Cody Zeller on this list, Bellamy makes it because of his unreal statistics.

    Bellamy may have played in an earlier time when basketball was much different, but that doesn't take away from what he did on the court during his time as a Hoosier.