Posted: Thursday December 22, 2005 1:31PM; Updated: Thursday December 22, 2005 1:31PM
Channing Frye has been the only positive in the Knicks' season.
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Channing Frye is one polished rookie. He is a credit not just to himself, but to his college coach Lute Olson, as he has arrived in the NBA with above-average skills for a first-year player. I thought of the multitude of other excellent Arizona alums in the league and I asked myself: Is Arizona producing the best NBA players of any college right now? I put together an all-Arizona alumni team and compared it to the all-alumni teams of other schools and decided the answer was: no. But just barely. What follows is my list of the best alumni teams comprised of current NBA players.
My criteria for inclusion on this list: the school had to be able to field a starting five, no matter how out of position some players were (see Georgetown). But they needed at least five. No matter how good Dwyane Wade is, he and that Diener kid do not make a Marquette team. Putting together this list was a reminder of how few elite players in the NBA actually went to college. An all-high-school team (Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, Jermaine O'Neal, Amare Stoudemire) or an all-International team (Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Zydrunas Ilguaskas, Andrei Kirilenko, Tony Parker, Peja Stojakovich) could bury any one of these squads.
1. North Carolina -- Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace and Antawn Jamison, are as impressive a trio as you'll find from one school, and there's depth, with Jerry Stackhouse, Jeff Mcinnis, and Brendan Haywood, and there's that crop of first-round picks (Sean May, Ray Felton, Marvin Williams, and Rashad McCants).
2. Arizona -- This team would likely go small in crunch time: Mike Bibby, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Terry, Richard Jefferson, Andre Igoudala. Frye gives them some help up front, and it's always good to have Luke Walton coming off the bench.
3. Connecticut -- Some pretty sick players here: Ben Gordon, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton and Emeka Okafur. Questionable depth (next in line: Donyell Marshall and Clifford Robinson) is the only flaw.
4. Duke -- In a couple years Duke would likely be No. 1 on this list, factoring in the addition of Shelden Williams and the seasoning of Luol Deng to a group that also includes Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and Grant Hill, sometimes.
5. Wake Forest -- The Demon Deacons can barely scrape together a starting five, but it includes Tim Duncan and Chris Paul. Then there's Josh Howard and Darius Songaila. And I have to assume Rodney Rogers resurfaces in the league at some point this year. The guy is a walking mid-level exception.