For those of you that do not know, there is a traditional “conference” involving all the college basketball teams in the Philadelphia area. This pseudo-conference is called the Big 5 and was created back in the 1950s. The teams that make up the Big 5 rivalries are Villanova, Temple, St. Joe’s, LaSalle and Penn. Three of the 5 are playing today in conference tournaments and LaSalle barely lost yesterday in the A-10 tournament. Today we have Temple vs. St. Joe’s and will be the third match up this year between the two rivals. In the Big East, Villanova will match up against Marquette. With all this Big 5 action today, I’ve decided to pick my All Big 5 Team for the regular season.
Let’s face it, the Big 5 teams are guard heavy. For this reason, other then starters I could not find any real second teamers for the big(ger) men listed.
At the two starting guard positions I am putting Dionte Christmas and Scottie Reynolds. Christmas, with his senior leadership, has made a name for himself with scouts and collegiate basketball fans. His signature game was against the, then number 8 ranked, Tennessee Volunteers. Christmas put up 35 points, trumping any player on the court. His 19.2 ppg and 6.1 rpg helped him land a spot as my starter.
I had an internal battle whether to put Rodney Green of La Salle above Scottie as my other starting guard. Green had slightly better stats then Reynolds, but ultimately the intangibles and conference competition made my decision. Call me Big East bias for seeing more of Scottie’s games but he always seems to hit the big shot when needed. He set the tone for now 10th ranked (AP Poll) Villanova team in an extremely difficult Big East season that claims six of the top 25 ranked teams (AP Poll). He played defense when he needed, hit key 3 pointers and foul shots at crucial parts of the game and was an overall clutch leader. The leadership he has shown has been quite the tribute to a junior.
While you are hammering me about my Villanova bias, I will get my Dante Cunningham pick out of the way. However, I do not feel there is an argument here. Scotties court leadership could only be matched by senior Dante Cunningham’s. His 16.4 ppg and 7.3 rpg gave him a strong nod to start on my All Big 5 Team.
Opposite of Cunningham in the forward position I am pushing a sophomore, LaVoy Allen of Temple. In the four games against the top 3 A-10 games (Dayton, Xavier and Rhode Island (2)) Allen averaged 10 rebounds and 12.5 points. He was one of the only bright spots in these key conference match-ups in which Temple went 1-3. He is also one of the only true forwards to make a difference for his team, respectively. Although he was streaky through the rest of the season, he played well enough to average 11.1 ppg and 8.6 rpg.
At center, the most obvious of all these picks is Amad Nevins of St. Joe’s. St. Joe’s may not have won a game without the dominating presence of this six foot nine senior. He dominated the boards, as well as the offensive and defensive side of the block. Amad averaged 19.2 ppg, 11.7 rpg and clocked 56 rebounds in 31 games. Amad Nevins is the clear cut starting center for the All Big 5 Team.
The second team I chose all guards as clear stand outs above other positions in the Big 5. I also chose one player from each team simply by coincidence. I also highlighted each players stand out stats as the reason for choosing them.
Rodney Green G (LaSalle, Junior)
17.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.5 APG, 46.9 Shooting %
Tasheed Carr G (St. Joe’s, Senior)
13.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.4 APG, 40.3 Shooting %
Corey Fisher G (Villanova, Sophomore)
10.8 PPG in 24.3 MPG shooting 45.6%
Tyler Bernardi G (Penn, Sophomore)
13.7 PPG in 29.4 MPG
Ryan Brooks G (Temple, Junior)
10.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG