BYU Basketball Dream Team

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Devin Durrant is the No. 4 all-time scorer in the history of BYU basketball.  (Photo courtesy BYU Photo)

Devin Durrant is the No. 4 all-time scorer in the history of BYU basketball. (Photo courtesy BYU Photo)

jeff-callLast month, I compiled my BYU Football Dream Team. This week, I’m rolling out my BYU Basketball Dream Team.

Here, in my humble estimation, are the top Cougar hoopsters in the program’s 100-plus-year history:

 

Starters

Jimmer Fredette (2007-2011)

BYU’s all-time leading scorer and consensus national player of the year took the country by storm his senior year, as “You Got Jimmered” became a national catch-phrase. As a senior, Fredette averaged 28.9 points per game, finished his career with 2,599 points, and led the Cougars to a Sweet 16 appearance. He was a first-round draft pick in 2011.

 

Danny Ainge (1977-1981)

Ainge guided BYU to its first, and only, Elite Eight appearance. He scored 2,467 points in an era that didn’t have a 3-point line. Not only was Ainge a fierce competitor and consistent scorer, but he also was one of the the Cougars’ best when it came to shooting percentage, assists and rebounds. He won both the Eastman and John Wooden Awards as a senior. He was drafted by Toronto (Major League Baseball) and Boston (NBA). After a long and successful NBA career as a player, he became a coach and now is the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics. His jersey (No. 22) was the first to be retired by BYU.

http://youtu.be/HXyhmnVwhKY

 

Devin Durrant (1978-79, 1982-84)

Durrant is No. 4 all-time at BYU in scoring. He was the first high-profile BYU basketball player to serve a mission and thrive as a returned missionary. He averaged 27.9 points per game as a senior and played for a couple of years in the NBA.

Kresimir Cosic (1970-1973)

In just three seasons, back in a time when freshmen weren’t allowed to play, the 6-foot-11 native of Croatia did amazing things on the basketball court with the way he could pass, rebound and score. Cosic had a school-record 48 double-doubles as a Cougar. He is the only BYU player who is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. In addition to his basketball skills, he also was a respected representative of the LDS Church and was the deputy ambassador of Croatia to the United States.

 

Shawn Bradley (1990-91)

The 7-foot-6 Bradley set the all-time record for blocked shots in a season, with 177. That also ranks him No. 2 for career blocked shots. He averaged 5.2 blocks per game as a freshman. Then Bradley left for his LDS mission to Australia.Cougar fans were excited about what the future held for Bradley and BYU basketball, and some projected the Cougars as a potential Final Four team when he returned. But he opted to enter his name into the NBA draft rather than return to BYU, leaving Cougar fans to lament about what might have been. Bradley was selected No. 2 overall in the NBA draft in 1993.


Reserves

Michael Smith (1983-84, 1986-1989)

Another NBA first-round pick, Smith had a colorful personality to match his basketball talents. Smith is No. 3 all-time in scoring at BYU, with 2,319, and No. 1 all-time in rebounds with 922.

Fred Roberts (1978-1982)

Roberts was an integral part of BYU’s team that went to the Elite Eight in 1981. He finished his career No. 6 in scoring (1,841) and No. 6 in rebounding (838).

Russell Larson (1991-1995)

Larson is No. 5 all-time in scoring (1,885) and No. 8 in rebounding (821).

Jeff Chatman (1984-88)

Known for his long arms and big hands, Chatman is No. 7 all-time in scoring (1,824). The Alabama native holds the record for consecutive games started — 122.

Travis Hansen (2000-2003)

The athletic Hansen excelled on both ends of the court, both offensively and defensively. In just three seasons, Hansen ended up scoring 1,137 career points.

Nathan Call (1986-1988, 1990-1992)

Call was one of BYU’s best point guards of all time and he is No. 3 all-time in assists with 528.

Andy Toolson (1984-1985, 1987-1990)

Toolson scored 1,388 career points. He knocked down 49 percent of his 3-point attempts as a senior and enjoyed a solid NBA career.

Jackson Emery (2005-06, 2008-2011)

While he played in the large shadow of Fredette, those who follow BYU basketball know how valuable Emery was to his team. His excellent defense freed up Fredette to score points in bunches. Emery finished his career as the Cougars’ all-time leader in steals with 249.

Marty Haws (1986-1990)

Perhaps the fastest player in BYU basketball history, Haws is No. 5 all-time in assists, with 502.

Roland Minson (1948-51)

The MVP of the 1951 NIT championship team, Minson scored 1,407 points and was drafted in the first round by the New York Knicks. His number was retired last winter by BYU.

 

Honorable mention

Rafael Araujo

Mark Bigelow

Jay Cheesman

Steve Craig

John Fairchild

Brandon Davies

Tyler Haws

Mel Hutchins

Greg Kite

Terrell Lyday

Dick Nemelka

Joe Ritchey

Scott Runia

Timo Saarelainen

Mekeli Wesley

Keena Young

 

Best of the rest

Brett Applegate, John Benson, Eldon Brinley, Lee Cummard, Gary Earnest, Jim Eakins, Dave Eastis, Bernie Fryer, Tom Gneiting, Mike Hall, Mark Handy, Noah Hartsock, Mark Heslop, Doug Howard, Kari Liimo, Mike May, Jared Miller, Matt Montague, Joe Nelson,Kevin Nixon, Trent Plaisted, Randy Reid, Robbie Reid, Doug Richards, Silester Rivers, Ken Roberts, Elwood Romney, Bryon Ruffner, Nick Sanderson, Steve Schreiner, Jonathan Tavernari, Alan Taylor, Brian Taylor, Gary Trost, SteveTrumbo, Jim Usevitch, Brady Walker, Trent Whiting.

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Jeff Call has covered BYU sports since 1993, including the past 16 years for the Deseret News. He, his wife and six sons live in Cedar Hills.

10 Comments

  1. Ray Morley Reply

    Can’t argue with your starting five or your reserves. But doesn’t Jeff Congden deserve to be in there somewhere? He and Nemelka made it fun to come and watch the Cougars average almost 100 points a game.

  2. Hoorid Reply

    I see that John Fairchild and Dick Nemelka made the list, but where is their Jeff Congdon? Maybe my childhood memories have made that whole team better than they were, but I think he should have at least made honorable mention.

    1. JYMJr Reply

      Congdon belongs. I believe that Red Auerbach in 1966 called Congdon and Nemelka the best college backcourt in the country. I would argue that Congdon was really the key to the success of the 1966 team (NIT champions when the NIT was a still a significant tournament). Much of Nemelka’s success, along with that of Craig Raymond, Jim Eakins, Neil Roberts, etc. was due to Congdon’s floor play and assists.

  3. Sam Reply

    Mel Hutchins is only an honorable mention? He’s the best NBA player BYU has ever had. 4 NBA All Star games in 7 seasons, and the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1952. He also holds the BYU single season rebounding record.

    He was the MVP of the East/West All Star game as a Senior, and was taken with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft.

    Surely you could find a starting spot for the best Pro, and best rebounder in BYU history. Put him at PF.

  4. Kevin Reply

    Lee Cummard was not only an all around stat stuffer but became a proficient scorer and Mountain West Conference Player of the year. I wouldn’t say he makes the 15 man roster, but no question he should be in the honorable mention category instead of best of the rest.

  5. ShipDog Reply

    There seems to be a bias towards players who played in the 70s or later. Not too many players from before that era as near as I can tell. Surpised to see that Harold Christensen is not on the list who was the starting PG for the NIT Championship team back in ’51. I didn’t check the stats but I thought Nate Call’s senior season was pretty good and I’m not sure I’d put him Matt Montague on the list before him.

  6. ShipDog Reply

    Oops. I didn’t see Nathan Call up on the Reserves list. I agree that Mel Hutchins is not ranked nearly high enough on this list. The guy was NBA Rookie of the Year and anchored the team that won BYU an arguable National Championship in 1951 back when the NIT was more prestigious than the NCAA Tournament.

  7. Parker West Reply

    I think everyone has a bias for the years where they grew up and became fans of BYU Basketball. The biggest challenge is to decide to rate players on either their value to their team and how dominate they may have been to college basketball, at the time they played OR disregarding time altogether and rating them where they at their prime, transposed to the day you form this all time team.
    Had black players been involved in the 50’s in the same way they are today, in college sports, much would have differed, many teams crowded champions would be also-rans if they competed today. If you have viewed the great sports film “The Express” you know where I’m coming from.
    In the national scene BYU was able to whip the best twice during two eras, in the 60s, when BYU ran the legs off Marquette coached by Al McQuire, Houston with Elgin Hayes coached by Guy Lewis, and the Fighting Illini led by Ron Freeman, then during Frank Arnold’s era with so many outstanding 4-5 Star athletes like Danny Ainge, Fred Roberts, Alan Taylor, Greg Kite etc. outside of those periods BYU might whip a Louisville, come close to a North Carolina, and dominate conference opponents, but as a team, the Cougs were not a national power.
    The most prestigious team was the 1951 team that won the NIT, when Kentucky took the NCAA crown, followed by the 1966 team that won the less significant and slightly watered down NIT tourney.
    They why ignore the 1951 team in my top player or top team rating? Because that team was led by 6″ and 6″1′ “giants” of the hardwood, who transposed to 2015 would be very good players but in no way dominating nor competitive vs very taller and more athletic kids.
    Stan Watts had a triple crown of 7’+ kids and a team composed of Craig Raymond, Jim Eakins, and Orville Fisher, with super athlete John Fairchild could play today as well as yesterday.
    On leaving out Jeff Congdon #23, a glowing error, bringing into question your thought process. Until Jimmer and Jackson, Danny and his guard mates, Dick Nemelka and Congdon were hands down the best guard twosome, BYU ever had.
    I might include Mel Hutchings on the honorable mention, but compare his percentages with today’s players and the pesky problem in being led by a 6′ 1″ “Bigman”, the other 1951 NIT members would not belong on the better BYU teams after the 60s.

  8. Parker West Reply

    Sorry about the spelling battle with Spell-Check, you may have to pause and make since of words that are slightly off, I clearly lost the war.
    Using an iPhone to write an essay as quickly as your thumb and first finger can fly (or you lose your thought), is the rough equivalent of producing the Declaration of Independence on the back of a quarter with an electric drill.

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