Monday, February 22, 2010

MBB Decade Of The 2000's: Random Thoughts

How about this name for a blog entry … miscellaneous memories?

There have been a ton of things bouncing around in my head over the last couple of weeks for the next direction to go in when it comes to our rundown of some of the great Panther men’s basketball moments from the last decade. So, in true notebook fashion, we’ll go all over the map with a few items.


All of the NBA Dunk Contest festivities a week ago had Bill Johnson and I talking about memorable dunks in recent Panther history. There’s no way to go back and ensure we aren’t forgetting one, and I suppose if we can’t remember it, maybe it’s not all that memorable. But the best three we came up with were …

Ed McCants at Detroit – If you have ever seen this 2004 dunk you know which one I’m talking about. The TV replays show fans in the end zone running for the exits in amazement as he completes the jam on the runout. It is the best dunk I have ever seen in person.

Derrick Ford vs. Butler – This was in the 2006 league title game … a follow-up dunk that brought the house down at The Cell. I love the pictures of the bench reaction right after the play.

Boo Davis at Youngstown State – This was in January of 2005. It was one of Boo’s typical, super-athletic, open court throwdowns. It made the score 5-0, and Bill Johnson insists it effectively ended the game. I can’t disagree based on the reactions of the YSU players, and the fact that the final score was 65-42.


Another great debate also came to mind with more of the NBA All-Star Weekend, and that’s just who is the Panthers’ best three-point shooter of the decade. The candidates are pretty clear to me – Jason Frederick, Ronnie Jones and Clay Tucker from the early days, Ed McCants and Boo Davis from the middle of the decade and then Paige Paulsen and Tone Boyle here late in the decade.

Both in quantity and quality, it would be hard to argue for anyone besides Ed being the best of the decade. He played only two seasons but made over 200 threes, and his three-point shooting was often a game-changer. Clay was a much better three-point shooter than you might remember, though his worst season statistically was his final season. Ronnie wouldn’t be happy if he didn’t get a further mention – 10 three-pointers in one game means you are doing something right. And, honestly, don’t sleep on Tone’s shooting abilities. They’ll wind up spreading over two decades and last season his percentages came down late in the year because of injury, but with the players UWM will have spreading the floor next season, he just might make a run at 100 3’s in a single season.

Mentioning Paige is a reminder UWM has had some good shooting “big” men, with the long-range efforts of Dylan Page and James Eayrs also noteworthy.


BracketBusters weekend had me thinking of the intriguing matchups the Panthers landed by participating in the event, but none moreso than the trip to Hawai’i in 2005. For the travel party, it certainly has to rank as the most memorable non-league game the Panthers played in the decade. A four-day trip to Hawai’i in February? Where do I sign up again?

A sidenote – another great non-league trip and great game came in a return BracketBusters contest, when UWM went to Manhattan just after Christmas in 2004.

But beyond that, it was a great weekend for the program. Just landing the game had given UWM plenty of headlines because of the unique nature of the trip. Then, as the team awoke in paradise Friday morning, it was prominently featured in USA Today. Saturday’s game was not only entertaining and an impressive win, but it was a primetime 7 p.m. CT contest that probably was the most-watched UWM regular-season game in history. Finally, with a full Sunday in Honolulu before a late-night departure, a team that would eventually make remarkable school history got to enjoy a little bit of a place far, far away.


Finally, I’ll admit Saturday had me thinking of another list I really want to make … worst calls! But I’ll try really hard to let that one go.

I will keep posting great moments entries into March, so keep checking back for more.