Building A Champion: The Reserves

NCAA First Round - Southern Illinois v Holy Cross
Finally, we've come to the end of the road for my all-time Saluki team.

To refresh your memories, let's take a look at a coaching staff led by Bruce Weber with Matt Painter, Chris Lowery and Rich Herrin (not Jack Hartman, the only guy to win a national title for SIU) rounding out the assistants.

The starting lineup has balance. It has size and strength up front with Joe C. Meriweather and Ashraf Amaya and a speedy, talented backcourt with Kent Williams, Walt Frazier and Greg Starrick.

Now for the bench players.

Darren Brooks is the first Saluki off the bench. It was hard to keep the two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year out of the starting lineup, but it's really easy to call him to be the first off the bench. At 6-foot-3 inches, he's got size to guard any of the three opposing guards and he's skilled offensively and defensively.

Joining him will be Jamaal Tatum, the 2007 MVC Player of the Year and the heart and soul of the Salukis in his junior and senior seasons. Whenever the Dawgs needed a bucket, they turned to JT3, who responded by either attacking the basket with an array of crossovers or draining a long jumper.

Point guard Wayne Abrams joins the backcourt as everyone knows the Weber-Painter-Lowery system needs six guards to operate at its best. Abrams was the school's assist leader before a guy named Bryan Mullins came around.

I guess I might as well add Mullins, who is only one of two players in MVC history to get 500 assists and 250 steals. Heck of a player on the court and off it. He's one of those good kids you have to have on your team.

It's time to add some more frontcourt firepower, so welcome to the court Randal Falker. The 6-foot-7-inch forward was a beast in the low-post his junior and senior seasons and was always an excellent energy player. Falker, the all-time leader in blocks at SIU, is the defensive persence the team needs down low.

I'll team Falker with Seymour Bryson. The big-man in the middle averaged 15.3 points and 12.4 rebounds from 1955 to 1959 and is only one of six Salukis to score 40 points in a game.

The third forward off the bench is Jermaine Dearman. I guess you can start with his awesome nickname, "Big Game Jermaine" and end with what he did on the court. He was the muscle on the Saluki Sweet Sixteen team of 2002 and came up with many clutch performances in his time at SIU.

That concludes the team that would absolutely crush the competition in Saint Louis.

Missing the cut: Matt Shaw, Rolan Roberts, Marcus Timmons, Chris Lowery (the player), Paul Lusk, Stetson Hairston, Tony Young, Troy Hudson.