Friday, November 4, 2011

Team Earthbound

The other day I was reading Grantland's amazing breakdown of this years pre-season college basketball all americans. The breakdown included heavy doses of draft analysis and a youtube video for each player, both of which were right up my alley. Although the list featured a number of my favorites, the guy I came away loving was Jarred Sullinger. In high school, and last year, I was skeptical of Sullinger. His nickname "big smooth" and his hot and cold motor worried me immensely. After looking at some of his highlights, however, I fell in love with his ability to get deep post position, seal his man, drop step, and finish through contact below the rim. Watching Sullinger got me thinking about other players like him; thick, not-jumpy, amazing hands, solid footwork, layup machines. These american heros may not get the hype, they may never defend a pick and role like KG, or catch an alley like Tyson Chandler, but what they do accomplish is just as important. Lets take a look at some of the best around at all levels.

The Gold Standard: Wes Unseld
Measurements: 6'7, 250
Notable Accomplishment: Career average of 14 rebounds per game (9 defensive)
Earthbound Superpower: Outlet passing, defensive rebounding

Any discussion of an earthbound player begins with Wes. He was a bruising presence who dominated the glass. He lead an unspectacular Bullets team to a championship while also being named to five all-star games. Unseld's biggest contribution to the game was his uncanny ability to throw full court outlet passes from his chest. Take that Kevin Love!

The Buffet Destroyer: Oliver Miller
Measurements: 6'9 280 (lie)
Notable Accomplishment: Starting center on the Suns 1992-93 finals team
Earthbound Superpower: Pistol Whipping at family barbecues

Oliver Miller was on the verge of being an above average NBA center before the earthbound Kryptonite hit; food. Miller did have success with the Suns in his first two seasons and put up monster numbers with the Raptors, but got too big to make it into the league long term. His latest altercation at a family barbecue is sad but fitting.

The Layup Machine: Corliss Williamson
Measurements: 6'7 245
Notable Accomplishment: Two time college all american, most outstanding player in 1993-94 NCAA Tournament.
Earthbound Superpower: Layups

Nothing signifies an earthbound player more than a good old fashion layup. Why dunk when you can school it? Out of all the legendary earthbound players, none was as good at layups as Corliss Williamson. A dominate college player and a well above average NBA player, Williamson has a group of ardent supporters all the way from Fayetteville Arkansas to Sacramento California.

The Enigma: DeMarcus Cousins
Measurements: 6'11 270
Notable Accomplishments: Force of Nature in College
Earthbound Superpower: Nimble feat

This pick may be cheating a bit. Cousins is a little tall and lean for this list. I am banking that he will put on 30 to 40 pounds during the lockout though which will make him fit in more. The reason I chose Cousins is because of his quick feet and understanding of his body. He can't really jump either. Based on some reports, Cousins attitude could make him jobless in a few years, but if he addresses his immaturity he could end up being an all-star talent.

The College Boss Hog: Josh Smith
Measurements: 6'10 305
Notable Accomplishment: Mcdonalds All-American
Earthbound superpower: Hands

I have been a huge fan of Smith since high school. He uses his body beautifully and has exquisite hands. Last year at UCLA he rounded into shape during the second half of the year and started to be an impact player. Look for him to have a breakout sophomore season.

The Division III Hero, Gentleman, and Scholar: Peter Kaasila
Measurements: 6'9 260
Notable Accomplishment: Saint Marks basketball alum
Earthbound Superpower: Tree Trunk legs, positional help defense

Big New Hampshire personifies everything that one wants to see in a big man. He boxes out, plays great positional defense, and sets the tone with physical play. Amherst college should thank god every day that they have such a force roaming the paint. Kaasila makes this list because I love D III hoop and he is a Saint Marks basketball alumnus. Ask Alex Oriakhi if his weak-sauce hook shots were falling when Kaasila was guarding him.

The South Shore Legend: Jarred Reuter
Measurements: 6'8 230
Notable Accomplishments: Best middle schooler in Massachusetts
Earthbound Superpower: Passing

Reuter spent last season hurt for Saint Marks and has since transfered to Tabor Academy, but he still deserves mention on the all earthbound team. He can pass, rebound, and is an absolute bully in the paint. Reuter has already been offered by Saint Johns and Indiana and is repeating his freshmen year in high school. Look for big things from this youngster.


Gil Haylon said...

Where's Mike Russell on this list? Glaring omission, although it would boost his ego too much, so probably a good call.

John Hendrie said...

There is more than one glaring mistake in this post Gil. How about the fact that Davey didn't put "setting picks" as Kasilla's earthbound super power? A truly unexplainable mistake.

An yes, my bones still feel rattled after watching that pick he set on his youtube video.

And Gil, since you're still alive, im assuming you never ran into one of those vicious picks from Jamaal Magloire Jr. last year.

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