The Big East Tournament gets started today. As we have said time and again, this is hands down the best conference tournament in all the land. Many of the men that start play today will one day wear an NBA jersey. With that in mind, let's talk about the Big East studs that never quite lived up to the hype in the NBA. Of course, names will be forgotten and omitted so please chime in with your choices. Also, this will kick start at the year 1990. So there. These are in no particular order.
1. Derrick Coleman, Syracuse - Most noted for coining the phrase "Whoop-de-damn-doo" Coleman didn't have a terrible NBA career which gives you the idea of the kind of player people thought he would be. Top pick of the New Jersey Nets he was a five tool player that never really seemed super interested in dominating the way he was capable. Still made an All-Star team and helped rejuvenate the Nets but I think we can all agree, we expected more. Bright side to this, since retirement DC has done amazing things for the city of Detroit in trying to that area back on its feet, and there is your silver lining for the day.
2. Hasheem Thabeet, UCONN - The jury is still very much out on Thabeet but since he just got sent down to the D-League and was the second overall pick in the NBA draft last spring he has to find his way onto the list. Personally, doubts started creeping in on this guy after Dejuan (I'm missing both ACLs) Blair absolutely owned him in a Big East showdown last year. Still, he is still very much a raw talent who will be given a chance to right the ship.
3. Scoonie Penn, Boston College - Scoonie get's thrown in the mix here for his time at Boston College before they left for the ACC and Scoonie left for Ohio State. This guy was a heck of a player in college and ended up not really putting together much of an NBA career. Teamed with Michael Reed on OSU, I thought Penn would be the better NBA players, which shows why I have no personnel responsibilities in the NBA. Won Big East Tourney MVP in 1997, eventually drafted by the Hawks but has spent most of his time playing for a variety of clubs overseas.
4. Brandin Knight, Pittsburgh - Another guard that was electric, the Co-Big East Player of the Year in 2002 Knight was a game changing player for Pittsburgh and it feels like he was the guy that helped get them on this prolonged run of success we have seen the Panther enjoy over most of this past decade. After college it was a few years in the D-League, some overseas action and now he is back coaching. The fact that big brother Brevin Knight who perhaps didn't have the NBA build was able to sustain a nice run in the NBA always kind of surprised me when Brandin wasn't able to hook on with a team.
5. Tim Thomas, Villanova - I read the book "7 Seconds" a few years back and it chronicled the Phoenix Suns for an entire season. Late in that season the Suns need Tim Thomas and it's mentioned that the coaches let TT know if he just turns it on for a few months they will help him find a nice contract in the off-season. Tim Thomas puts on a stellar run and that is all you need to know about him. A world of talent, great size, can shoot from deep, and spent just enough time on the Knicks to rile up that whole toughness episode with the New Jersey Nets. Was only in college briefly which tells you alot about his NBA expectations at the time.
6. Felipe Lopez, St. John's - Felipe Lopez's wikipedia page says it all, "Unrealistic expectations hounded López from the start, beginning with an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated before he even played one college game." Lopez still had a stellar freshman season putting up a little over 17ppg in attempting to be the latest savior for St. John's. He goes down as one of the greats of all-time for St. John's but it never translated for the NBA. Drafted in the first round by the Spurs he ultimately bounced around the league before ending up overseas.
7. Jason Lawson, Villanova - He was a power in the middle for Villanova in the late 90s, think the Kerry Kittls era. There isn't much on the net about him but going off memory he was a force and pretty much balanced out what Kittles was doing on the outside. From there he parlayed his Nova days into just one season in the NBA. Honestly my first thought here was Eddie Griffin of Seton Hall. Talk about talented, and hyped. Then he got into a fight with Ty Shine in the locker room, spent a short period in the NBA and sadly passed away not that long ago.
8. Troy Bell, Boston College - MVP of the 2001 Big East Tourney, another inclusion prior to Boston College leaving the Big East (why did they leave again?). Was named Big East Player of the Year over Carmelo Anthony and broke the BC record for scoring held by Dana Barros. So you get the idea, he was nasty in college. Drafted high by the Celtics at 16 overall, ended up doing most of his damage in the NBA with the Grizzlies. Tried to catch on with Hornets in 2005 and that was that.
9. Joe Alexander, West Virginia - We heard for a long time about his impressive hops, they are still there as far as I can tell. Alexander was a big contributor for the Mountaineers in the post Gansey-Pittsnogle era. The 8th overall pick of the draft in 2008 Alexander was picked by the Bucks and now is on the Bulls where he hasn't done a whole heck of alot. Somewhat in the same boat as Thabeet in that his career is still very early and he was sent down to the D-League, but there is time to get things turned around.
10. Terry Dehere, Seton Hall - Perhaps the best player Seton Hall had in the 1990s, Dehere was Big East Player of the Year and Tourney MVP in 1993. Holds a bunch of Pirate records including most points scored in a career but was then drafted by the Clippers, a bad omen for even the most talented. Strung together a six year career with stops in Sacramento and Vancouver before calling it a career. Averaged just 8 points per game over the course of his career.