Building A Champion: Frontcourt Thunder

NCAA Third Round - Kansas v Southern Illinois
The SIU men's basketball team has gotten the reputation of "Floorburn U" because of its tenacious backcourt defense.

But over the course of time, the Salukis have had standout players among the trees over the years.

Let's start with the man in the middle Joe C. Meriweather. He was tall, and good. Those are two things you're going to need out of a good big man.

Meriweather ranks third in SIU history with 1,005 rebounds, averaging 12.9 rebounds in 78 career games. In the 1973-74 season, he averaged 14.9 rebounds per game. That's 2.3 rrebounds more than the Salukis' top three rebounders this season ... combined.

Not only was Meriweather a defensive star, he scored 1,536 points in his career, ranking him eighth among all-time Saluki scorers.

Joining him in the frontcourt is Ashraf Amaya, the powerful 6-foot-8-inch forward that starred for SIU in the early 1990s.

Amaya was a best who scored 1,878 points in his collegiate career, ranking him fourth on the school's all-time list. He also secured 1,137 rebounds, good enough for second on the all-time leader list.

More than that, his name is synonymous with the SIU Arena, which some analysts consider to be "The House That Ashraf Amaya Built."

I heard it on ESPN once, I swear!

So what about Randal Falker, Matt Shaw, Rolan Roberts, Seymour Bryson, Jermaine Dearman, Marcus Timmons?

Some players will be backups. Some will be left off the team. Sad.

But stay tuned to see who makes the cut.