When you run a blog, specifically a college blog, late May until late July is generally the dead zone. Almost all sports are done, and college football doesn't begin in earnest until late July with media days. I am planning a follow-up on the mascot battle Royale, but it needs some time to sit and generate new ideas. That's why posts like this are fun. They generate discussion and find new readers.
The purpose of this post is very simple: To decide the best 12-man roster and coach possible if you pick from all eras of Purdue basketball. It is one that you would think would be easy, but with multiple All-Americans and fan favorites there is sure to be active discussion. Think of my list as a jumping off point.
So, without further preamble, let's start:
Coach: John Wooden - Yes, he never coached the Boilermakers, but the greatest coach in college history played here. His game may not hold up under the modern era, but we need a leader. You're damn right I am claiming a guy that can go into Bloomington and say, "Five banners? That's cute. Where's the rest?"
Glenn Robinson - I think the thing that stands out the most about the Big Dog is how he only played two seasons in West Lafayette, yet he is still really high on most all-time lists. His 1993-94 season is the stuff of legend where he single-handedly laid waste to the Big Ten. I can't blame him for leaving instead of returning for his senior season. When you're undoubtedly the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NBA, you follow the money. I doubt we will ever see a single player dominate the Big Ten like the Big Dog did.
Rick Mount - Robinson can be a dominant forward, but if I am picking a shooting guard I want Mount. I think I would gladly give years off of my life to have Mount's jump shot, which is virtually perfect after years of crafting. It's not even and athletic move as much as a work of art at this point. Everyone had a purpose. God put Rick Mount on this earth to make jump shots. In fact, his jumper is so good I think I would take him right now despite the fact he is 65 years old.
Joe Barry Carroll - The only other No. 1 overall pick from Purdue, he is a true center that is our all-time leader in rebounds and was a hell of a shot blocker. We can stick him on the low block and just tell him to cause all kinds of havoc near the rim both offensively and defensively. Oh, and he was a 2,000 point scorer in his career as well. He might open up Mount for a few looks outside.
Billy Keller - We need a point guard, so who better to pick than the man that helped distribute the ball to Herm Gilliam and Mount? Keller was a bit of a scorer too, cracking the 1,000 barrier in his three years. In his pro career he discovered he was a pretty good three-point shooter as well, spending his entire career with the Indiana Pacers. He was also one of the leading hustlers in Purdue history, using that to overcome his 5'10" size.
JaJuan Johnson - I was trying to figure out who to put in the power forward spot, either JJ or Terry Dischinger. Dischinger was more of a down low scorer, but JJ can be a matchup nightmare all over the court with his range, especially if you have the Big Dog playing the small forward spot. JJ also has the size to protect the other side of the rim on defense with Carroll. Those two would pretty much allow nothing withing seven feet of the basket.
E`Twaun Moore - You know you have a great team when The Red Button can come off the bench to spell Mount and Keller. A 2,000 point scorer in his own right, Smooge can run the point if necessary, be a three-point specialist, create his own shot, play tough defense, and he doesn't have to worry about playing 35 minutes per game and needing to be virtually perfect.
Charles "Stretch" Murphy - We're going way back to Wooden's time for this one, but at 6'6" he was one of the game's first true big men. I think once you taught him the nuances of the modern game he could be just fine as a solid bench player. He doesn't have to play a ton of minutes, either. He can excel if we choose to go with a smaller faster lineup.
Terry Dischinger - Dischinger is 6'7", so he is probably a little undersized to be a modern center, but at power forward? Why not! He was twice a First-team All-American and was a human double-double in the early 60's. he came up just short of 2,000 points, and that was playing in an era when freshmen were ineligible, so he only had three years to amass that total. He averaged 30 and 13 as a senior.
Robbie Hummel - If I am picking a team I would definitely take a versatile 6'7" forward that can rebound, pass, shoot the three, and be a great team leader on and off the floor. Robbie finished his career in the top 10 in scoring and he brings a very unique skill set for a player of his size. With Dischinger, JJ, Carroll, and Murphy he doesn't have to play the four, either, so he would be a matchup nightmare offensively at the three.
Brian Cardinal - I want someone that can be an offensive threat, a defensive force, and epitomizes the spirit of Purdue basketball. Therefore, I absolutely have to have the Custodian on my team. He's going to be playing 2 minutes or 20 minutes, and you'll get every ounce of him while he is out there.
Troy Lewis - Another scorer/backup point guard in the E'Twaun mold. He gives this team another 2,000 point scorer and player that can probably play both guard spots. Given a full career with the three-point arc he could also learn to stretch defenses out and find our big down low.
Herm Gilliam - As much as I like that Lewis and Moore could play the point, I want to give the final spot to a true point guard. Gilliam averaged almost four assists per game during a lengthy NBA career, so he can definitely find spots to get the ball where we need it.
Analyzing the lineup:
How is this not the perfect lineup? It can go big or small. We have shooters. We have rebounders. We have tenacious defenders (and Chris Kramer can be a walk-on there). We have the greatest coach in the history of the game. I defy you to find a weakness!
Dave Schellhase - Dynamite player and one that would definitely get the 13th scholarship. Ultimately, I felt like we had too many guys at his position in terms of great guards. Still, you can put him in place of about half a dozen guys on this list and it's not exactly a bad thing.
John Wooden (player) - We already have Wooden coaching, but Wooden as a player would certainly get a look based on his hustle. He can't be in two places at the same time even if you alter time to get everyone on the same roster at the same time.
Chris Kramer - Strictly as a glue guy/hustler off then bench. I like the "preferred walk-on" role for him.
Bruce Parkinson - Another true point guard that could add a very interesting dynamic to this team.