Picking the Big 5 All-Decade team
Picking the All-Decade team
Choosing an all-decade team is always difficult. There are so many options to consider that worthy candidates are almost certain to be excluded. This was the case when putting together a list of the 10 best Big 5 players of the last 10 years.
There are a couple qualifiers. Eligible candidates had to play the majority of their college careers between 2010 and 2019. And a full body of work was a big factor in choosing this team. Players who spent three or four years in college had an advantage over those who had one or two outstanding seasons.
Lastly, Villanova’s dominance in the decade is reflected in this all-decade team. The Wildcats stood head and shoulders above the rest of the Big 5 for the majority of the last 10 years. As a result, there are more representatives from Villanova than any other school.
(Pictures courtesy of USA Today Images and AP Images)
Second Team: DeAndre’ Bembry, St. Joseph’s (2013-2016)
Bembry’s all-around excellence was a driving force behind St. Joseph’s capturing Atlantic 10 Tournament titles in 2014 and 2016. He started 100 games in his three years on Hawk Hill and averaged just under 16 points and 7 rebounds for his career. He was an Atlantic 10 First Team selection following his sophomore and junior seasons and was named the Big 5 Player of the Year and A-10 Player of the Year as a junior. Bembry’s 23-point performance against Cincinnati in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament sparked the Hawks to their first win in the Big Dance in 12 years.
Second Team: Phil Booth, Villanova (2014-2019)
Booth spent five years at Villanova due to a medical redshirt season in 2017. He was a huge part of the Wildcats’ unprecedented success during his career, winning four Big East regular season championships, four Big East Tournament titles and two national championships. He came off the bench to score a team-high 20 points against North Carolina in the 2016 national championship game, a performance that cemented his legendary status at Villanova. Booth’s best individual season came in 2018-19, when he averaged a shade under 19 points and earned Big East First Team and Big 5 Player of the Year honors.
Second Team: Mikal Bridges, Villanova (2015-2018)
After redshirting his first year at Villanova, Bridges was the Sixth Man on the Wildcats’ 2016 national championship team as a freshman. His improvement continued throughout his career, culminating in his junior season of 2017-18, when he averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds and was a Big East First Team selection. Bridges played a starring role as Villanova won its second national title in three years. He was especially impressive during the Wildcats’ dominant run through the 2018 postseason, capturing Big East Tournament MVP honors and averaging nearly 16 points in the NCAA Tournament.
Second Team: Tyreek Duren, La Salle (2010-2014)
Duren was a four-year starter at point guard for La Salle and played a critical role as the Explorers recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons in his sophomore and junior years. He averaged over 14 points for La Salle’s 2012-13 team that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and scored 19 points in the Explorers’ second round win over Ole Miss. For his career, Duren had 1,726 points and 500 assists and served as the floor general during the best season of La Salle basketball since the turn of the century.
Second Team: Zack Rosen, Penn (2008-2012)
Rosen was the Quakers’ starting point guard for four years and averaged 14.6 points and 5.0 assists for his career. He was named to the Ivy League’s First Team three times and was honored as both the Big 5 and Ivy League Player of the Year in 2012. Rosen was the central figure in Penn’s remarkable turnaround during his time on campus. After winning just 16 games combined in his first two years, the Quakers won 20 games in Rosen’s remarkable senior season, during which he averaged 18.2 points and 5.2 assists.
First Team: Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova (2012-2016)
A four-year captain, Arcidiacono arrived at Villanova one year after the Wildcats finished with a 13-19 record and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight years. Arcidiacono sparked an immediate turnaround, winning 117 games in his four seasons. He played in four NCAA Tournaments, won three Big East regular season championships, a Big East Tournament title in 2015 and the school’s first national championship in 31 years in 2016. Arcidiacono was named the Big East Player of the Year in 2015 and the NCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player in 2016. He’s the first player in Villanova history to have more than 1,500 career points (1,604) and 500 career assists (535).
First Team: Langston Galloway, St. Joseph’s (2010-2014)
Galloway started 132 games during his career and scored 1,991 points, the second most in program history behind Jameer Nelson. Galloway’s 343 career 3-point field goals are a school record. He was named to the Atlantic 10 First Team as a senior in 2014 after averaging 17.7 points and shooting better than 44 percent from 3-point range. Galloway led St. Joseph’s to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in six years that same season and scored a game-high 25 points in a first round loss to eventual national champion Connecticut.
First Team: Josh Hart, Villanova (2013-2017)
Hart never lost a Big 5 game during his four-year career, amassing a perfect 16-0 record against Villanova’s city rivals. He also won a school-record 129 games, four Big East regular season championships, two Big East Tournament titles and a national championship in 2016. Hart wasn’t lacking for individual accolades either - he was a Big East First Team selection in 2016 and 2017, the Big East Tournament MVP in 2015 and 2017, and the Big 5 Player of the Year, the Big East Player of the Year and a First Team All-American in 2017. He was a complete player, finishing as the only player in Villanova history with more than 1,900 points (1,921), 800 rebounds (812), 250 assists (266) and 150 steals (161).
First Team: Khalif Wyatt, Temple (2009-2013)
Wyatt was one of the most prolific scorers in recent Big 5 history, averaging 17.1 points as a junior and 20.5 points as a senior. He won two Atlantic 10 regular season championships and played in four NCAA Tournaments. Wyatt was the Big 5 Player of the Year and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year as a senior in 2013, leading Temple to 24 wins. He scored 31 points in each of the Owls’ two NCAA Tournament games, a first round win over NC State and a second round loss to Indiana. Wyatt’s seven 30-point games as a senior matched Lynn Greer’s single-season school record and he ranks 13th on Temple’s all-time scoring list with 1,576 career points.
First Team and Player of the Decade: Jalen Brunson, Villanova (2015-2018)
Only four players in college basketball history have won two national championships and a national player of the year award: Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Christian Laettner and Jalen Brunson. Not only is Brunson an easy choice for Big 5 player of the decade, he has a good case for the best player in Big 5 history. Villanova went 103-13 in Brunson’s three seasons, winning two Big East regular season championships, two Big East Tournament titles and two national championships. He started 39 games as a freshman for Villanova’s 2016 national title team before averaging 14.7 points as a sophomore in 2017 and being named to the Big East First Team. Brunson averaged 18.9 points and 4.6 assists as a junior in 2018, leading Villanova to its second national title in three years and winning Big 5 Player of the Year, Big East Player of the Year and National Player of the Year honors.
Coach of the Decade: Jay Wright, Villanova
In the 10 seasons between 2010 and 2019, Villanova averaged 27 wins under Wright. He led the Wildcats to nine NCAA Tournaments, six Big 5 titles, five Big East regular season championships, four Big East Tournament titles and two national championships. It stands as one of the best decades by any coach in the history of the sport. Furthermore, the Wildcats’ success against their city rivals was unprecedented - Villanova won 25 straight Big 5 games from December of 2012 to December of 2019.