Bruce Springsteen wrote a song called “Glory Days” that plays into the human condition of romanticizing our successes of yesteryear. In any stage of life, you’re bound to meet people who tell stories about how great things used to be, how accomplished a high school pitcher they were, so on and so forth. Everyone has a story from the “good ole days,” and sure I’m as guilty as anyone.
But with the calendar turning to March and the Madness just around the bend, it’s as fitting a time as ever to tip our cap to the All-Glory Days Team. This select group of collegiate heroes had their greatest successes as the Big Man on Campus.
For the sake of simplicity and to find a way to narrow this list into a digestible consideration set, we’ve narrowed our selections only to dudes who played on National Championship teams. As always, there are surely tourney legends that we omitted, and if that’s the case, drop them in the comments below. Here we go, in descending chronological order:
Gerry McNamara, Syracuse Orange (2003): Benefitted by playing wingman to freshman phenom Carmelo Anthony, but Gerry Mac held his own and played a key role in the Orange run. Were they Orangemen there or just the fruit/color?
Lonny Baxter, Maryland Terapins (2002): Could’ve been the next Oliver Miller. Oh, what could’ve been.
Mateen Cleaves, Michigan State Spartans (2000): Forever remembered for that running man celebration that was captured in slow motion and shoved down our collective throats for the past 13 NCAA tournaments.
Khalid El-Amin, Connecticut Huskies (1999): Gave hope to pudgy point guards across the country. Having Rip Hamilton on the wing didn’t hurt either.
Miles Simon, Arizona Wildcats (1997): Dominant college player. Couldn’t sniff the court in the League. Hard to fathom.
The O’Bannon Brothers, UCLA Bruins (1995): Without Tyus Edney’s coast-to-coast speed race maneuver, the O’Bannon brothers are quickly forgotten.
Christian Laettner, Duke Blue Devils (1991, 1992): It’s possible that he’s the most accomplished post-college player than anyone on this list, but the perception of accomplishment is likely due to his Dream Team affiliation.
Anyone from the 1985 Villanova team.
Since the majority of us either weren’t yet born or were crawling when Nova upended rival Georgetown in the 1985 championship game, it’s probably appropriate to wrap it up there.
Enjoy the madness, and may your bracket be as majestically busted as mine.
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