Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top 10 Black Bears of the 2000s

Only five days left in the 2 aughts, a perfect time for reflection on the 10-year rollercoaster ride of Black Bears basketball. Early in the decade was memorable for a pair of America East championship game appearances and some great battles with Delaware, Hofstra and Drexel before they departed to the CAA. More recently the memories are of yearly struggles to recapture that competitive standing in a league now dominated by the likes of Albany, Vermont and Boston U.

For the next five days, I'll count down my Top Ten Black Bears from 2000-2009.

No. 10
Some fans around America East didn't appreciate Justin, much of it because of his, shall we say, quirky offensive game. But there was no denying his defensive ability was a key factor for a couple good Black Bears teams. In two years the 7-footer broke the school blocked shot record, using superior timing and an ability to get off the floor quickly. It just never translated to much of an offensive game. Justin's career numbers were 11 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks a game. Those of us who watched him game-in and game-out appreciated his intensity and devotion to the team.

No. 9
Injuries hampered Greene throughout his career, but the gritty 6-3 guard was a productive and tough presence for the Black Bears. For opposing defenders, he was a nasty cover on the block. A solid all-around player who didn't mind taking big shots. Averaged 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals a game his senior year. Oh, yeah, and he shot 48 percent from the floor for his career. Probably should have him a little higher on the list. Played with heart.

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