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Gazette picks all-time Air Force men's basketball team

By: JAKE SCHALLER
February 25, 2009
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photo - L-R Cliff Parsons'69, Raymond Dudley '90, Nick Welch '07, Jacob Burtschi '07, and Otis Jones '95 Photo by Brent Briggeman, The Gazette
L-R Cliff Parsons'69, Raymond Dudley '90, Nick Welch '07, Jacob Burtschi '07, and Otis Jones '95 Photo by Brent Briggeman, The Gazette 

The Gazette solicited opinions about the greatest players in Falcon men's basketball history from academy sports information personnel, former coaches and former players. It then selected its All-Time Air Force Basketball Team based on the following formula:

- 50 percent: Ability. This covers all aspects of on-court skills, from shooting to rebounding to defensive prowess to intangibles (effort, ability in the clutch, etc.).

- 35 percent: Accomplishment. Player of the Year awards, All-America honors, scoring titles, etc.

- 15 percent: How They Fit. Positions matter. We wanted a team that had size, speed, shooting ability, defensive stoppers and rebounders - not just the top 15 scorers of all time.

We think we've got it. Here's a look at the team.

STARTERS

G Otis Jones ('95)

A point guard who could score. Ranks second all-time at Air Force in career points (2,003), seventh in career assists (263), fourth in career steals (147). Led the Falcons in scoring as a sophomore, junior and senior and was a first-team all-Western Athletic Conference selection in each of those seasons. Owns the third- and fourth-best single-season scoring averages in academy history (25.5 in 1993-94 and 23.9 in 1994-95, when he was named an honorable mention All-American by Basketball Times).

G Raymond Dudley ('90)

The academy's most prolific scorer with 2,178 points and a two-time honorable mention All-American (Basketball Times). Led the Falcons in scoring and was named team MVP in each of his four seasons. Owns the best single-season scoring average in academy history - 26.6 in 1988-89, when he led the Falcons to their lone non-losing record (14-14) in a 25-season stretch. Made 39.6 percent of his 3-pointers (fifth-best in academy history among players with 150 or more attempts). Ranks third in career steals (148), sixth in career assists (275).

F Jacob Burtschi ('07)

A do-everything winner with a fierce competitive nature, he always seemed to make plays in crunch time and get under the skin of opponents and their fans. A two-time all-Mountain West Conference second-team selection and the 2006-07 team MVP, Burtschi helped lead Air Force to 90 victories (best of any academy player), a MWC regular-season title and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. Holds academy records for career games (125) and career steals (196) and ranks 10th in career scoring (1,205 points) and seventh in career rebounds (600).

F Nick Welch ('07)

Prototypical big man for former coach Joe Scott's Princeton offense with ability to shoot, pass and handle the ball. Named the MWC Co-Player of the Year and an Associated Press honorable mention All-American for the breakout 2003-04 campaign, in which the Falcons won the MWC regular-season title and went to the NCAA Tournament. Ranks 13th at the academy in career points with 1,109, 10th in career field-goal percentage (minimum 250 attempts) at 49.6, eighth in career assists with 255 and tied for sixth in career blocked shots with 50.

C Cliff Parsons ('69)

Tough, skilled post player led the Falcons in scoring and rebounding in each of his three seasons and is the lone academy player to average a double-double for his career - 19.4 points and 10.1 rebounds. Named an All-American by Helms in the 1967-68 season when he averaged 22.5 points and 9.7 rebounds. Ranks sixth in career points (1,374) and second in career rebounds (720).

RESERVES

G Bob Beckel ('59)

Pure scorer. Fourth all-time in career points (1,526), but owns the best career scoring average (22.8) and the top four single-game scoring efforts (50, 48, 47 and 46) in academy history. Twice named an All-American by Helms.

G Jeff Bowling ('90)

Part of the reason for Dudley's success was Bowling setting the table. True point guard is the academy's all-time leader in assists with 447 and ranks tied for fifth all-time in steals with 142.

G Tim Anderson ('08)

The ultimate "glue" player for three seasons, he morphed into The Man during his senior campaign, when he led the Falcons in scoring (14 points per game), steals (67) and assists (82) and earned MWC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Ranks second all-time in games (124) and steals (175).

G Antoine Hood ('06)

Lock-down defender helped lead Air Force to NCAA Tournament berths in 2003-04 and 2005-06 (when he was team MVP and a first-team all-MWC pick). Ranks eighth in career scoring (1,307points), eighth in career steals (134) and sixth in career field-goal percentage among players with 250 or more shots (51 percent).

G/F Bob Djokovich ('78)

Did a little bit of everything in helping lead Air Force to winning records in three of his four seasons. Ranks second all-time at the academy in assists (427), fifth in rebounds (619) and 18th in points (1,061).

G/F Jarmica Reese ('98)

Tremendous shooter and scorer ranks fifth at the academy in career points (1,385) and ninth in career steals (123). Named the Falcons' MVP as a sophomore, junior and senior.

F Tim Harris ('81)

Led the Falcons in scoring as a junior, when he was named team MVP, and senior. Ranks third on Air Force's all-time scoring list (1,550 points), and sixth all-time in rebounds (604).

F Tom Schneeberger ('78)

Two-time team MVP (1976-77 and 1977-78) ranks 11th all-time in scoring (1,204 points) and eighth all time in rebounding (599).

F/C Randy Gricius ('79)

Scored 1,100 points (15th all-time at the academy) on 54 percent shooting from the floor (fourth-best among players with 250 or more attempts) and grabbed 689 rebounds (fourth-best) in just three seasons. Led the team in scoring and was named team MVP as a freshman (1975-76) and senior (1978-79). Air Force went 43-32 the three full seasons he played.

C Reggie Jones ('81)

Big, physical player did the dirty work and was an intimidating presence in the paint. Owns academy records for career rebounds (776) and blocked shots (164 - more than twice what any other player has compiled). Named MVP of the 1980-81 squad.

TOUGHEST OMISSIONS

The most difficult part of naming a team like this isn't who you choose but who you don't choose. Among the players who just missed the team were Jarvis Croff ('01), Rick Simmons ('83), Maurice McDonald ('86), Tim Keller ('05), Dan Nwaelele ('07), Matt McCraw ('07) and A.J. Kuhle ('04).

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