I know you've all been waiting with bated breath, so here it is...the OFFICIAL unveiling of the 2008-2009 All-WIGS Team. Before I reveal my choices, I want to explain the criteria. These are not necessarily the BEST players in the league, but my favorites for one reason or another. There are a lot of big men because I was a post player in my day and I love the guys that can bang around and grab rebounds. Since I believe basketball is and should be a physical game, I also like the players that aren't afraid to give and get hits (not dirty play of course, just not delicate little flowers).
And don't worry--I will also have an All-WIGS TOURNAMENT team, so if I fall in love with someone from Your Mom State, I can celebrate their achievements as well. So without further adieu....
2008-2009 All-WIGS Team
Jonny Flynn, G, Syracuse: This should come as no surprise, given my previous posts. Flynn is a classic case of doing more with less. He's not the biggest guy on the floor, but he is STRONG and broad, a great passer, and is never afraid to drive aggressively to the basket or take the big shot. He's dunked over some pretty tall dudes and has an intensity that fires up his whole team. He's only a sophomore, but he's definitely established himself as a leader of the team. I love it!
Willie Warren, G, Oklahoma: This kid is probably my pick for Frosh of the Year. He was a solid scoring threat for the Sooners all season and stepped up in the absence of Blake Griffin to score some much needed points. He can drive, push the ball up the court and hit big 3s from all over the floor. I also think he's pretty funny--I've read some interviews with him and he definitely has a little bit of an attitude. Not in a bad way, but in the way of a freshman who is borderline cocky because he was the star in high school--but not SO much so that the other guys want to put him in his place. Yes, Blake Griffin is the star of that team, but Warren is an extremely valuable supporting actor. Which brings me to....
Blake Griffin, F/C, Oklahoma: Do I really need to explain this one? Obviously the best player in the entire country--strong, great range, ridiculous rebounder, fantastic passer, good teammate, etc. But the thing I respect most about him is his attitude. He's unpretenious, polite and never responds or retaliates when he gets hit with cheap shot after cheap shot. He lets his talent do the talking. He takes pride in his rebounding. He just gets it done. Period.
DaJuan Blair, F, Pitt: Say what you want about Harangody, Hansbrough and Thabeet. This kid is the best big man on the east coast. He's tall, but not the tallest, and makes up for it by using his big body to his advantage for rebounding and defense. Not only can he bang around, fight defenders and throw it up in the lane, he also has a nice soft touch to hit that baseline jumper. He has made every other "great" big man he's gone up against look like a CHUMP this season. Think: Harangody, Thabeet, etc. Didn't matter. Who else held Thabeet to 5 points and 4 boards (and also bodyslammed him...)?!?! What I want to see? Hansbrough vs. Blair. Tyler wouldn't know what to do with himself.
Delvon Roe, F, Michigan State: Yes, this is a little bit of a home call. But he's my favorite on that team, so of COURSE he makes the list. Some of the same things apply here, like rebounding and great moves in the post, but I also love him for all the little things he does. When he's on the court, he's all over the floor. He grabs loose balls, helps on defense, can jump up and swat the ball out of the air and acts as an overall intimidating presence--as a freshman. But perhaps the thing I like the best is the giant cartoon Sparty tattooed on his arm. To me, that shows he's proud to be at MSU and will remain committed for a long time. Here's hoping.
Honorable Mention: Jerel McNeal, G, Marquette: This was a tough one to leave out, so I had to give him a nod....McNeal is just so SMOOTH. Watching his quickness slashing to the basket or the way he can stroke a three....well, frankly, it's beyond words. He's great on defense (not called McNeal the Steal for nothing) and also a great, unselfish passer. Sometimes it's nice to just watch a "pretty" play....and McNeal provides plenty.
So that's that....The March to Madness has almost begun!!! Enjoy!