Chuck Klosterman compiled a list of the top 50 college basketball players of all time for Grantland.com and a number of Portland Trail Blazers made the list. Klosterman clarifies that he is looking for the "50 players who inhabit our collective memory as 'awesome college guys,'" judging them on talent, their relative fame in college compared to the pros and with an eye towards the unusual.
The Blazers on the list included...
47. Stacey Augmon (UNLV, 1987-1991): Nobody ever terrorized the passing lanes like the Plastic Man. Is it possible to be "laid-back" and "aggressive" simultaneously? Somehow, that was Augmon's natural state of existence.
33. Juan Dixon (Maryland, 1998-2002): No matter what happens, I'll always consider Dixon a greater talent than Steve Blake. And I really like Steve Blake; I just can't understand how the things Dixon did at Maryland couldn't translate to the next level. And that makes me like him more.
3. Bill Walton (UCLA, 1971-1974): Deadheads in downtown Portland might quibble with Walton's inclusion on this list, but the man defined both the hippie collegiate experience and the NCAA style of play. Judging from his own statements, I'm relatively certain he'd sacrifice half his injury-plagued pro career just to spend five more minutes in a bomb shelter with John Wooden. Moreover, Walton had the greatest offensive performance anyone's ever going to see in a meaningful contest, hitting 21 of 22 against Memphis in the '73 title game.
(Here's part of my thinking on the inclusion of Walton: He only had 2½ great pro seasons, but he had three great years in college. This was the same reasoning I used for exclusion of Elvin Hayes: He feels more important as a college player, but he was a top-flight pro forever. He played in 12 All-Star games. It seemed unbalanced.)
Former Portland State University star Freeman Williams also made the list.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter