How Is He Still Playing?!?! The Van Wilders Of College Hoops
We are in the midst of the college basketball season, and as conference play begins, we recognize familiar faces... Maybe a little too familiar. It seems like some players have been playing since before there was a three-point line, before Nike made entirely awesome uniforms, before anyone had ever heard of George Mason. These upcoming players have been on the hardwood for seemingly at least a decade, and defy aging. Feel free to comment and add to this list.
Jon Diebler's legendary playing days in Ohio high school basketball seem to be ages away. The sharp-shooting guard has been an Ohio State Buckeye for what seems like much more than 4 years. To put it in perspective, he arrived on campus the season after Greg Oden left. How much has happened to Oden since then? First overall pick of the NBA draft, countless injuries, and... well, that... um, controversial, mirror-picture. Anyway, Diebler has been a staple of Ohio State basketball for the past several years, and this year looks to finally leave a winner, with the assistance of freshman Jared Sullinger. Might I add that when Diebler got to Ohio State, Sullinger was 15.
The Coreys of Villanova
Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher have been synonymous with Villanova basketball for the past few seasons. The two guards, both top 15 recruits from the 2007 recruiting class, are now seniors and leading the Wildcats. It seems relevant to mention that that 2007 recruiting class also featured Kevin Love, Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, JJ Hickson, Blake Griffin, Jonny Flynn, and DeJuan Blair. Yeah, they've been around for that long.
The undisputed court general for Illinois might actually know some generals. You know, the ones from World War II, Korea, Vietnam... you get the point. Demetri McCamey is a great passer, and possesses a soft shooting touch. Playing in the ever-competitive Big 10, he will look to lead the otherwise unexperienced Fighting Illini to great heights come March.
What is it with these Big 10 guys? Quietly closing out his fine career out Minnesota, Blake Hoffarber has had a knack for buzzer-beaters. Undoubtably most famous for the accompanying video, Hoffarber has been an integral part of Minnesota's success, and likely without an NBA future ahead of him, you have to wonder if maybe, just maybe, he'll find a way to play a few more years for the Golden Gophers.
Only die-hard college hoops fans will recognize this name, but the Oakland Grizzlies center is perhaps the most anticipated low-major NBA prospect in recent memory. The thing is, it seems like Keith Benson has held that title for quite a few years now. The seven-footer led the Grizzlies through a tough early season schedule, including a win over Tennessee. That game made me wonder: Was Benson playing when Chris Lofton was around? The answer: A resounding yes.
The Hokies' guard has been trying to get his squad into the NCAA tournament throughout his entire career. You would've thought that by know, he would have accomplished that. A decorated scorer who has averaged over 18 points per game for the past three years, Delaney makes us wonder what he averaged in the years before those. Maybe this year he can (really) end his career with a trip to the Big Dance.
While he isn't a household name, Cade Davis catches my eye for a very interesting reason. He played alongside Blake Griffin, for two full years, nonetheless, and outlasted both Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin as a Sooner. Talk about longevity.
Although only a junior, Isaiah Thomas seems to have been the face of the Washington Huskies for a lot more than just 3 years. The 5-foot 9-inch Thomas has led the team in purple on the floor, and will likely return for another season in 2011-2012. After that, perhaps an Isiah (notice the spelling) Thomas-like career awaits him in the NBA.
Another junior who has been in college for what seems like much longer than just 3 years, Scotty Hopson is leading the Tennessee Volunteers alongside freshman Tobias Harris. If Tobias somehow opts not to go to the NBA draft, Tennessee fans can only hope that he lasts as long as Hopson, who took the torch from the aforementioned Chris Lofton.
Everyone on West Virginia
When you think West Virginia basketball, tall, long, and athletic wing players come to mind. That is the inherent problem with them; hardly any create an identity for themselves. Because of that, it seems like a handful of Mountaineers have been on campus for quite a few years now. Amongst them are Casey MItchell, Kevin Jones, Darryl "Truck" Bryant, and John Flowers. Don't be surprised if you feel the same way about future players in the upcoming years.
We have a winner. Anyone who follows college basketball will agree that Talor Battle is the face of Penn State hoops, and has been for years upon years. Mainly because he has played almost every minute for the Nittany Lions for the past for seasons, Talor Battle has endured the "battle" with time. Is he Joe Paterno, no; but he may be getting there.