The decision maker, the guy with the ball in his hand, the one who’s making critical plays at critical moments, those are the game changers. The ones who can – with equal skill – hit the big three or find the right guy to do such.
Guard play, perhaps above all else, determines championship caliber teams and the Pac-12 has been chock full of some greats. Run up and down some of the other rosters I’m competing against in this Fantasy Draft and you’re reminded that the Conference of Champions has produced Walt Hazzard, Gary Payton, and Jason Kidd. Woof.
But this draft wasn’t about scoring an individual. If that were the case we’d have handed this thing over to Andy over at Building the Dam once he picked Lew Alcindor. It was about compiling a squad and you’re about to be treated to the deepest guard corps. Ever.
Damon Stoudamire, Arizona, 1991-95
- Home: Portland, Oregon. Woodrow Wilson HS
- Stats: 15 ppg, 4 rpg, 5 apg
- Best Year: 22ppg, 4rpg, 7apg
- Brag sheet: 1995 Pac-10 POY, 7th pick in 1995 NBA Draft
- Mighty Mouse could utterly fill the tin. He was quicker than Wyatt Earp on the draw and just as tough. You kinda have to be if you’re going to be a sub-six foot lottery pick. And sure, he may have been a contributing member to the Jailblazers but you know what? After attending rehab and probably some long looks in the mirror, Stoudamire took a bet with columnist Jay Canzano that the sportswriter could piss test him whenever he wanted. So when Canzano showed up pre-game with a cup for Damon to fill, he did it and passed the test. THC free. I built this team on talent but some accountability certainly never hurt a contender either.
Mike Bibby, Arizona, 1996-98
- Home: Phoenix, Arizona. Shadow Mountain HS
- Stats: 15ppg, 3rpg, 5apg
- Best Year: 17ppg, 3rpg, 6apg
- Brag Sheet: 1998 Pac-10 POY, 1997 NCAA Champion, 2nd pick in 1998 NBA Draft
- I’ll write a lot of brag-worthy things whilst waxing poetic about this team I’ve compiled but none holds more clout than “NCAA Champion.” Bibby hoisted the hardware and cut down the nets as a freshman. He then went on to earn POY honors on a team where he wasn’t even the leading scorer; a fact I don’t quite know what to do with but it probably means people thought pretty highly of his value to a basketball team. So I wanted him on my team.
Michael Dickerson, Arizona, 1994-98
- Home: Kent, Washington. Federal Way HS
- Stats: 14ppg, 4rpg, 2apg
- Best Year: 19ppg, 5rpg, 2apg
- Brag Sheet: 1997 NCAA Champion, 14th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft
- Remember how I told you NCAA Champion was the most baller thing I could tell you about someone? Dickerson’s got that. He also just happens to be the same Cat (pun intended) who outscored the ’98 Pac-10 POY (Bibby) and who had the smoothest, most effortless game of any Wildcat. Ever. He may have spoke softly but when it came to putting the ball in the basket, he was real loud.
Salim Stoudamire, Arizona, 2001-05
- Home: Portland, Oregon. Lake Oswego HS
- Stats: 15ppg, 2rpg, 2apg
- Best Year: 18ppg, 2rpg, 2apg
- Brag Sheet: Better three point shooter than JJ Reddick
- The cousin of my first guard selected (Damon), Salim is going to make any All-Time Favorite Wildcats list that I make and he probably should make yours too because of his Brag Sheet item. You’ll recall JJ-mania over the same four years Salim played and so you just had a visceral reaction when you read his name. Well know that in 2005, Salim shot greater than 50% from three-point land. Do you want to swallow the comparison? Ok, JJ’s best year was .421. Meh, solid, not hyperbole good. Salim.