All-Time UH Team: Minnesota
We posted an article giving a few UH legends 2K ratings last Friday to celebrate the release of NBA 2K20. We’re going to keep the momentum going this week by releasing our own version of All-Time Teams, just like 2K has in this year’s game. I reached out to multiple UH staff members in multiple regions to get their picks for an all-time starting five in their respective region. The one caveat is a player has to have played 100 career games to be considered. I took a seat on the bench for this article and let Izzy Elkaffas cook, as he not only picked an All-Time Team for Minnesota, but he added context for each choice as well. I come in at the end to give my take on the team and what I would switch.
So many players have graced the court for over 100 games in Minnesota. I opted to assemble a team with longevity, talent, versatility, and cohesion. Essentially, I combined “best”, “greatest”, and “team cohesion” to make my All-Minnesota team. As many know, throwing the best players on to a team doesn’t work. This team wouldn’t just work, it would be damn near perfect.
This is basically the auto-bid. There are only two guys you could make a case to lead your team other than Kyles. Outside of Dremaine Crockrell, and Tevin Kelly, there isn’t anyone else in UH that’s close. If you have Kyles on your team, you have a chance no matter what. Very few players in UH history have had that kind of impact.
The purest shooter I have ever seen in any gym I’ve ever stepped foot in, and I’ve been to a lot of gyms. Neal has been the focal point for every defense he’s ever went up against, and he still boasts a sultry 51% 3-point rate. I have said “no way” to more shots that have gone in from Neal than anyone I’ve seen. He’s the UH Curry. At 38, he hasn’t even slowed down. Coming off a championship last season, his Wolves team has gone 4-4 this season, but Neal is shooting a ridiculous 66% on eight attempts per game while being face guarded. Filthy.
Mr. UH, simply put. Jansen’s defensive consistency and versatility is the best I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve seen him shutdown the quickest guards, and the best bigs. Much like the first two names, you can put Jansen on any team across the country and they’d be significantly better. His basketball IQ is elite, and he’s stronger than a brick shithouse (that’s what bailing hay all your life will do). He’s the Draymond of this team with better shooting, and without the crazy. Ideal teammate. First three selections have been easy.
This was the hardest selection of them all. As mentioned above, I opted selecting my All-Minnesota team by not looking at it from the “best” or “greatest” lens, but to also consider how the team would work together. Kurt Koening has the highest ceiling, Chris Maher is the most consistently great (almost impossible for me to leave him off the list, but this team has enough elite offense), but Suek gets the nod since he’d fit on this team perfectly on offense, and he’s an elite defender. Suek is so unselfish that his teammates have to beg him to dominate. He makes the extra pass more than any great player I’ve ever seen. When your only flaw is being too unselfish, you have to make the list. Suek’s flaw is the equivalent of saying “I’m a perfectionist” as your biggest weakness in a job interview.
Byrne is the most complete big man in MN history. His offensive versatility is unparalleled and has the basketball IQ to match. Much like Suek, his biggest flaw is his unselfishness. The only time Byrne would run into trouble is if matched up against an elite offensive big with height and weight (think Travis Gabbidon). Byrne is a finesse big man, but what he loses on in strength he more than makes up for on offense. Much like Gabbidon, he’s a point guards’s dream for pick n’ roll and pick n’ pop.
Luke’s verdict: Every single team that’s been submitted so far has had different reasoning behind it, making all three more interesting. Izzy went with the real-life construction of a team, trying to put together a starting five that makes sense on the floor together. I think L.C. Comine did that with his Vegas team as well, while the Arizona team from Chris Walker was more a testament to the legends of the region (although that team would be damn good on the floor).
Since Izzy went with the strategy of making the best team, it becomes harder to argue with his selections. Maher is the most glaring omission for me, which Izzy essentially mentions himself. Suek makes more sense for this five, but it’s hard to leave off the all-time leading scorer in Minnesota history, especially considering that Maher hasn’t lost a step. He’s averaging 22.2 points per game in Fridley this season, 3.7 points higher than his career average of 18.5.
The other two cases to be made are for Dustin Dupont and Brensley Haywood, but I understand the reasoning for both. You would have to get your brain checked if you didn’t include Paris on this team, which eliminates Dupont as an option at point guard. That leaves Haywood going for a spot against Anderson. Haywood always steps up his game when playing with Paris, as they do combine to make the most devastating backcourt Minnesota has ever seen. But Haywood is a career 39% 3-point shooter. That’s excellent, but it doesn’t come close to Anderson’s 51%, which is absurd. It’s hard to argue against that.
I would end by giving honorable mentions to Jake Gave and Adam Hoven. Those guys haven’t been around UH as long as any of the previous names mentioned, but they’ve played in every league Minnesota has to offer to get to 422 and 346 games played respectively. You could argue for either of them to get included, but they come up just short in terms of longevity and talent/fit. They’d be over-qualified bench options for this team.