Are you ready?
Last week, BECB brought '88 back with our Best Player of the 1980s roundtable. This week, we trade in our parachute pants for some zubaz - or in our case, the John Stockton tighties for some Fab Five gear - and skydive into the greatest decade ever assembled.
No bias. This is the '90s.
Let's jump into the wayback machine and remember a time when your hardest decision in life was probably which starter Pokemon to choose. Remember Britney Spears? Remember she used to look like this? Pepperidge Farm remembers.
But above all else - all the Wu-Tang Clan joints and countless hours playing Bop It - the 1990s were a defining decade for basketball. Yeah sure, you had some guy named Jordan continuously keeping Patrick Ewing further and further away from a ring (this still happened, btw), but the game was much bigger than one man. Heck, it was much bigger than just the NBA.
College basketball was changing. The bigs were still there, but gone were the days of the fundamentally-sound marksmen in Pistol Pete shorts getting most of the recognition. A younger, edgier and athletic group of guys started to take over and bring basketball out of the stone-age.
This was the era of the baggy clothes, the flashy dunks, and the even flashier players. This wasn't your granddaddy's college basketball. This was the 90s.
So turn off your Fresh Prince reruns - don't worry, they'll be in syndication forever - and join the Big East Coast Bias kliq as we examine the Greatest Big East players of the 1990s.
Ben Florance - When you think about the greats of Georgetown basketball, you think of big men. Ewing. Mourning, Mutombo. After all, their coach was a big man himself. But it was John Thompson's final star that may have been the most transcendent in Allen Iverson. Thompson took a chance on Iverson in the wake of the infamous incident at a Hampton Bowling Alley that left him in jail until being granted clemency. AI's conviction was overturned and it paid off as Thompson's last big hurrah as head coach of the Hoyas headed to DC. Iverson led the Hoyas to their final Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight appearances under Thompson and left Georgetown as their all-time leading scorer in terms of average of 22.9 PPG. Iverson, who was a freshman All-American in 1995 and a first team All-American in 1996, only played two years before heading to the pros and it speaks volumes about how great of a player he was given the mark he left on the Big East in only two seasons.
Sean Saint Jacques - I would go with Allen Iverson as the best player from the 90s because of pure talent and ability to carry a team. In two seasons at Georgetown, Iverson scored more than 20 PPG and averaged 25 PPG during his sophomore year. The Hoyas are always thought of as a big man factory, but the Answer made Georgetown known for quickness at the guard position and great defense in the back court. Iverson was also one of the greatest on-ball defenders in conference history. He ranks top 5 in Big East history with 3.6 steals per game. Iverson also lead his school on two deep runs into the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, which count big in my book. He was the focal point of those two teams as A. I. always seemed to be wherever he played. This one was tougher than the 1980s roundtable, but in the end I am going with a Hoya again. Iverson is the right choice.
Devonte Brooks - Allen Iverson was the best player in the Big East. He was just so smooth. He put so many players on the ground with his patented crossover. If Iverson was not at Georgetown, it was going to be a problem. Iverson added emotion to the game. Iverson had so many great moves - or as we young people say, "tough". It was just like the requiem of the Big East.
Pierce Roberson - If this debate falls solely on talent, then Allen Iverson should run away with this one. No one was better during those two seasons than A.I., one of those once-in-a-lifetime players that can make the same impact on defense as he can on offense. At his size, it was scary. But there's one thing that separates A.I. and, in my opinion, the best Big East Player of the 90s - a national championship. That's something that Richard Hamilton was able to give UConn before departing to the NBA. Before he donned the mask and became a champion with the Pistons, Rip put up back-to-back seasons of 21.5 PPG to go along with consecutive Big East Player of the Year awards. While Duke received most of the attention going into the ‘99 National Championship Game, it was Rip's shooting touch (second to none in those days) and the teamwork displayed by the Huskies that brought the Big East its first title in 14 years. Only one thing he doesn't have on his UConn boy Ray Allen - he isn't Jesus Shuttlesworth.
Mike Hopkins - While I can't really disagree with Pierce on Rip Hamilton, I'm going to focus on players that played on team's that are still in the Big East today. I'm going with Georgetown's Allen Iverson. Iverson never won a national title, but he arguably put on the best display over his first 2 years in the league as anyone in the conference ever. Iverson was electric, scoring a whopping 1,539 points in just 67 career games, good for a per game average of 23.0. In addition to the scoring, he also produced an incredible amount of steals, averaging 3.2 per contest for his career. He didn't win a national championship for the Hoyas, but he was a consensus First Team All-American as a sophomore, which is something that has only been equaled by two other Big East players: Troy Murphy and Patrick Ewing. We can only imagine what he would have accomplished had he stayed for 3 years like Ray Allen and Richard Hamilton but a career stat line of 23.0 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.6 RPG and 3.2 SPG is pretty darn impressive.
Robert O'Neill - While last week's roundtable was essentially a two horse race between Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin, this week's has far more players to choose from. While I initially considered Georgetown's Alonzo Mourning, it was another Georgetown player and NBA great I ended up going with. The Big East's best player of the 1990s was none other than Allen Iverson. Even though his career at Georgetown was short, it was absolutely memorable. Iverson won the Big East Rookie of the Year in his first season and led the Hoyas to the Sweet 16. In his next year, he showed off his explosiveness leading the team to an Elite 8 and finishing his Georgetown career as the program's all time leading scorer at 22.9 PPG in his two seasons. Iverson was also the first player to leave school early for the NBA draft in John Thompson's legendary coaching career. That's how talented of a player Iverson was.
Harrison Malkin - Allen Iverson is without a doubt the best Big East basketball player of the 90's. Sure there were some greats like Ray Allen - who donned a Big East jersey in that same era - but AI was the greatest of them all. The former Hoya averaged more than 20 PPG in his two seasons in college, and led Georgetown to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.
Who's your favorite player of the 90's?