Defensive end Julius Peppers tops Panthers' All-Romo NBA team

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As Tony Romo warmed up for the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, a thought came to mind: What members of the Carolina Panthers could transition to an NBA team?

Better yet, what would a starting basketball lineup of Carolina players look like?

This is a team that takes pride in its annual mini-basketball tournament to stay loose during training camp. And it’s not uncommon during the offseason to find a player or two in a pickup game at a local gym.

So we take a break from pre-draft visits and who might best fit Carolina with the eighth pick of the draft to delve into fantasy basketball.

Here’s a look at my All-Romo Carolina basketball team (Sorry, Cam Newton didn’t make it):


Julius Peppers, DE (6-foot-7, 287 pounds)

He was good enough to play basketball at the University of North Carolina as a freshman and sophomore, so he’s got game. He scored a career-high 21 points against Penn State in an NCAA tournament game and had 23 blocked shots in two seasons. He had 17 blocked shots as a freshman for a team that reached the Final Four. Even at 37, he still has an NBA body. He’s more like a power forward, but for this team he’ll move to the middle as Magic Johnson did for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1980 NBA Finals while Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was out with an ankle injury.

Power forward

Eric Wallace, TE (6-6, 260)

He’s a natural, a former college basketball player at Ohio State, DePaul and Seattle University. He started 27 games for Seattle and averaged 9.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. During his junior year at Glenn High School in Kernersville, N.C., Wallace averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds a game. After college he played Australian Rules Football before transitioning to the NFL, so he’s got athletic ability. He’s also got spunk, walking into the office of former Carolina wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl and telling him he wanted to play for the Panthers with no real football background.

Small forward

Michael Oher, OT (6-4, 315)

Did you see him play basketball in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side’’? That was the first thing that caught the eye of his high school coach, Hugh Freeze, according to the movie. Oher averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds and was named all-state in Tennessee during a 27-6 senior season. He once had visions of playing in the NBA instead of the NFL. Word has it that Oher also is one of the best mini-basketball players during training camp. If anything, at 315 pounds he’ll be able to set a monster pick and block out two players at once.

Shooting guard

Devin Funchess, WR (6-4, 225)

His jump shot may be in question, but the third-year wide receiver out of Michigan can dunk as you can see in this YouTube video. He told reporters at the 2015 NFL combine he could have held his own against some of the best in the NBA -- at least in a dunk contest. He once said Michigan basketball coach John Beilein tried to get him to give basketball a shot as a freshman after seeing him in a pickup basketball game.

Point guard

Joe Webb, QB, (6-4, 235)

Here’s where former Carolina cornerback Josh Norman was needed. If you’ve seen him at his annual charity basketball game, you’d know he has game. Webb plays quarterback, wide receiver and kick returner for the Panthers, so why not add basketball to his resume. He played in high school and likes to brag that he is the best shooter among the Carolina quarterbacks (Newton, Derek Anderson). He said this in 2014: "Shooter, layup, dunk ... the P.I.G game is mine,’’ Webb said. “I've won how many times? I beat D.A.[Anderson] like 10 times yesterday. This guy [Newton] has been retired like two days.’’