Feb. 18, 2005
There has been lots of talk about great guards this season. Let me tell you, there are also plenty of outstanding post players in college basketball. These big men possess tremendous offensive efficiency and are dominant in the lane.
For starters, a trio of 6-foot-9 juniors stands out in the ACC.
North Carolina's high-powered offense has many weapons. Inside, center Sean May, the son of former Indiana All-American Scott May, is enjoying a superb season.
The younger May has great hands and outstanding touch around the basket. The Tar Heels, who lead the nation in scoring at 90.4 points per game, have tremendous balance offensively. May, Rashad McCants, Raymond Felton, Jawad Williams and reserve Marvin Williams all can score. May's point totals won't always stand out (15.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg), but he's had great success as part of an offensive machine.
Eric Williams has become a major factor at Wake Forest. I'm so impressed with the way he has matured since last season. His consistency this season (16.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is a big plus for coach Skip Prosser. Chris Paul and Justin Gray complement Williams and help the Demon Deacons contend.
The Landlord, Duke's Shelden Williams, has been awesome at both ends of the court. The Dukies have the triangle with Williams, J.J. Redick and Daniel Ewing. Williams has been staying out of foul trouble and is among the nation's premier shot blockers (third-best in the nation at 3.8 blocks per game). He has been a solid rebounder while scoring well in the lane (16.3, 11.6 rpg).
Moving outside the ACC: At Arizona, the backcourt has been solid, but look for Channing Frye to be a factor inside come postseason time (14.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg). In the lane, the 6-foot-11 senior has experience, know-how and a nice touch around the basket. Defensively, he not only blocks shots but also forces opponents to alter their shots.
Utah has won 17 straight games, and the key reason is the presence of an Australian import, 7-foot sophomore Andrew Bogut. Coach Ray Giacoletti will tell you that Bogut's sensational play (20.5 ppg, 11.9 rpg) has been the difference. The big man can score with a little hook shot and rebound with the best of them. He doesn't get the TV exposure of the other big guys, but he's a big-time story. Bogut features a combination of finesse and power. He also has great footwork.
The guards might dominate the headlines this season, let's not forget the big men, baby!
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.