All-City All-Decade Teams: Drexel and Penn
Here are my picks for the best Dragons and Quakers of the 2000s.
All-City All-Decade Teams: Drexel and Penn
UPDATE: I admit I should have put Robert Battle on Drexel's all-decade team. I overlooked him, but I got a number of emails and comments on the blog rightly pointing out his career statistics and awards.
To make up for that, I'll include Battle in the voting for Drexel player of the decade. That poll will be posted tomorrow. Commenter 94Dragon posted his career stats below for reference.
Drexel and Penn have put a lot of physical investment into building up their campuses in this decade, and they've also put a fair amount of emotional investment into building up one of the city's better hoops rivalries. Here are my picks for the best Dragons and Quakers of the 2000s.
Phil Goss, guard: Goss has the highest career points total of any Drexel player in this decade with 1,473. His 313 made three-pointers is the second-highest total in program history. Goss helped the Dragons reach three straight NITs, and in his senior season Drexel beat Saint Joseph's for the first time wince 1987.
Dominick Mejia, guard: Mejia had one of the quickest releases on his three-point shot of any player I've seen. His total of 217 made treys is the fifth-highest total in Drexel history, and he reached that mark in just 85 games. That's a better ratio of shots made to games played than the Dragons in fourth and third place on the program ranking of made three-pointers.
Bashir Mason, guard: Remember the run Drexel made in the 2005 Preseason NIT? Mason was a big reason for that success. He was the setup man alongside Mejia's scoring, dishing out 471 assists in his four-year career. That's the highest total of any Drexel player in this decade. Mason could also score, as evidenced by his 25 points against Duke in the Preseason NIT semifinal. he was a tough-as-nails defender. He was only the second player in Drexel history to record more than 200 career steals.
Chaz Crawford, forward: On the whole, Drexel has been better known for guards than for forwards in this decade. But no matter the position, the Dragons' calling card has been defense, and Crawford was a fine example. His 318 career blocks rank second all-time in program history, and his 99 career steals aren't a bad total either. Crawford's 819 total rebounds is the fifth-highest total in program history, and the highest total in this decade.
Frank Elegar, center: The big man known as "Frank the Tank" was one of the most popular players in his four years at the DAC. He anchored the inside for Drexel as Mason and Mejia worked on the outside. Elegar scored 1,285 career points, and not one of them came from three-point range. But 379 came from the free throw line, which tells you just how often Elegar forced his way through the paint to the basket. Elegar was a strong defender as well, recording 137 blocked shots in his career.
Ibrahim Jaaber, guard: Jaaber was Fran Dunphy's last great guard on 33rd Street. He runs the point on my team because of his speed of both foot and mind. He was never the best shooter, but his 1,518 career points rank sixth all-time in Quakers history. Jaaber was also a terrific defender, and his program record of 303 steals nearly doubled Jerome Allen's previous record of 166. "Ibby," as nearly everyone called him, was the Big 5's player of the year in 2007 - beating Scottie Reynolds and Curtis Sumpter to the honor.
Zack Rosen, guard: Rosen has been a leader for the Quakers since the day he first stepped on to the floor at the Palestra. Tasked wtih helping rebuild Penn basketball from one of its darkest eras, Rosen has put the program on his back, even at times when others have steppd up to share the burden. Whether or not Rosen ever wins an Ivy League title, he will surely graduate as one of Penn's best leaders in recent memory.
Tim Begley, guard: Over the course of his four years at Penn, Begley transformed himself from a complementary wing player into the Quakers' primary scoring threat. Begley owns the all-time Penn three-point field goals made record with 253, and ranks second all-time in attempts with 602. Had he not sprained an ankle in Penn's NCAA Tournament game against Oklahoma State in 2002, Fran Dunphy might just have two Big Dance wins on his resume instead of one.
Mark Zoller, forward: He was St. Joe's Prep alum living the dream of playing college baketball at the Palestra. Perhaps because of that, Zoller was the classic player who gave everything he had to the game. He became a far better frontcourt player than his size would have predicted, and helped the Quakers win three consecutive Ivy League titles in his four years on campus.
Ugonna Onyekwe, forward: Simply the best player I've watched in a Penn uniform in my nine years covering the Quakers. Although I only saw him for one season, his athleticism and scoring touch were a major reason why Penn won the Big in his junior seasona and stampeded to a 14-0 Ivy League record his senior season. Onyekwe's 1,732 career points rank second to only Ernie Beck in Quakers history. It could be a while before we see another player like him at Penn, or anywhere else in the Ancient Eight.