College Basketball Poster Boys -

College Basketball Poster Boys


by Andy Force
Senior Writer,
November 7, 2006







Questions abound as the college basketball season dawns. One that annually arises is who will be the stars, the poster boys. The lineage is strong with Carmelo Anthony, Mateen Cleaves, and most recently Dee Brown carrying the torch for college hoops.

Before the season the critical magazines, websites, and media outlets choose picture-friendly talented players but the decision-makers in this realm are speculating. Sure there is some basis in selecting these honored few. Even so, the relevance is entirely reliant on these players' teams' successes. 

Few candidates jump off the page this season at the outset. To be worthy of athletic glamour shots, children's adulation, or adult's hero worship, hoopsters need a definitive skill. 

Jumping very high can be an obvious asset to this end. Syracuse freshman Paul Harris has this ability in spades. Built like former Michigan State Spartan Kelvin Torbert, Harris lifts his superhero frame above the rim with regularity. Hops and muscle mass mesh to give Paul Harris a chance this year or next to grace the cover of Slam, or SportingNews, or ESPN The Magazine. 

If simply being able to jump high deserves acknowledgment, then keep an eye on Chase Budinger of Arizona. The freshman is rumored to have been the #1 volleyball prospect in the nation. Instead of a lifetime of sun, sand, and smiles, Budinger will chase his NBA dreams for Lute Olsen. Watch closely because Chase has pogo sticks you will not believe. 

Size intimidates and frightens. Everyone knew a kid bigger than all other classmates. Looked up to literally and figuratively, the reign as class leader ends eventually. Not so for Pitt's Aaron Gray. Standing seven feet tall, Gray consistently towers over his college peers. 

At times Gray speaks as if almost embarrassed of his dominating bulk. As his confidence grew so too did his production for the Panthers last seaon. A statistical improvement from of over 300% in both points per game and rebounds per game stuns rational thinkers. With a little less timidity, this grown man will test zoom lens capabilities nationwide. 

Duke is the annoying cousin you see EVERY family holiday. There is no escaping them. Without fail Duke will be a part of your season. Though the faces of Duke players become all too familiar one in particular will earn his airtime. Josh McRoberts has fluid athleticism rarely seen in 6'10" athletes. 

Extremely nimble and enticingly creative, the Indiana product has a broad game. For the 2006-2007 Coach K's, Josh is the leading returning scorer, leading returning rebounder and 1st sophomore (shares the honor with Greg Paulus) to be dubbed team captain in the 102-year history of Duke basketball. If you don't know Josh McRoberts of Duke, you will.

The freshness is upon us. Each new college basketball season brings with it potential. The potential of young players to shine and acquire long-dreamt for stardom is not an accessory to the on-court action. Rather it props up the sport to reality television at its finest. The basketball season has a life, defines itself as an entity all its own simply for having these dreams reached. The body language is antsy. The smiles emanate. Which player will warm your heart and give you goosebumps just by playing this beautiful game of basketball with an unforeseen flair? Maybe that player is on your team. 

--Andrew Force