As most intriguing things in my life, I was presented with an interesting question via the twitter.
They asked, so I’ll answer.
For those that are unaware of the glory of the Fab Five, they were a crop of Michigan freshman that came in, immediately started, with a few talented veterans as backup, and rocked college basketball. However, they never did quite get over the hump of Duke and North Carolina before heading on to varying levels of NBA glory. The question posed, after Zion Williamson has demolished college basketball this young season, is would he start on that Fab Five team? The question started with a member of the Fab Five, so it’s easy to disregard his opinion. Throw in the fact he is a Michigan man AND works for ESPN, and it would be easy to call it poppycock.
On the one side, Williamson is averaging 25.3 points on 32 of 39 “shooting” with most of his shots looking something like this.
With 6 dunks tonight, Zion Williamson increased his total to 10 in 3 games. Marvin Bagley III, who finished with a Duke-record 98 dunks in 2017-18, had 7 dunks through 3 games last season. pic.twitter.com/nmBn9rFXOv— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 15, 2018
However, this Buckeye gave it a second thought.
First, a disclaimer. I am an old man. I am fairly certain I am the same age of several of the Fab Five. However, I am not one of those old men who always thinks the past was better. In most cases it was not. I watch 90s college football “highlights” where a full back swing pass was considered offensive play calling genius, and several teams could have won a few more national championships with their tight end drag just going a few yards deeper. Basketball, on the other hand, has taken a bit of a different direction. The players are better as individuals, however the team game just isn’t there. On the college level, the players don’t usually stick around, and ironically enough the Fab Five were at the dawn of that era. Maybe I am a bit too fond of the 90s, but I don’t think so.
So what about this particular player, on this particular team. Would Williamson start?
First let’s look at the line up. Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Jalen Rose were the guards. All relatively tall and somewhat athletic. The least athletic was probably Rose, who played a point wing type of position at 6’8. He was the 13th pick in the NBA draft and averaged 14.3 points over a 13 year career. I bring him up because if Williamson was going to start over a perimeter player, it would have been Rose and that wouldn’t have happened. Rose was too vital with running the offense.
So that leaves Juwan Howard, or Chris Webber.
Juwan Howard is basically a middle class Tim Duncan. The guy came in skilled and steady in the paint. On the college level, with a bunch of freshman, his wise beyond his years ability made him a must at the 5.
So that leaves Webber or Williamson.
I am not saying you have to start Webber, but I would. I wouldn’t call you wrong if you said Williamson must start.