Cal Christophoro’s College Basketball All-Star Starting 5

Each of our podcast personalities are picking a college basketball All-Star starting lineup. This season has been known for its chaos and lack of one true standout star, which makes this exercise as none of our team’s had more than two of the same players as another lineup. Here is Cal Christoforo’s squad:

Point Guard: Markus Howard – Marquette

  • You may want your point guard to be a great game manager, distributing the ball, not turning the ball over, making safe plays to win the games. Kind of like a Ryan Tannehill of college basketball. And that can work, as the Titans proved this year, but I want a Patrick Mahomes running my offense, a guy that can absolutely take the game over and single-handedly lift his team to victory. Howard is the best guard when it comes to this ability, and it’s not close. He averages 27.6 points per game, and when it comes down to clutch time, I want a guy who can make a shot from anywhere on the court. 

Guard: Jordan Nwora – Louisville         

  • Nwora has been a very capable leader of the Louisville offense, and with 7.4 rebounds per game, he’s one of the best rebounding guards in the country. He’ll help clean the glass when Howard misses and making a bevy of his own shots as well – Nwora averages 18 points per game on 44% shooting, and he’s absolutely capable of taking over a game if necessary. 

Guard: Anthony Edwards  – Georgia 

  •  Don’t overlook this man just because he plays for Georgia. The Bulldogs may not be going dancing this year, but Edwards is definitely one of the best players in the country. He can also rebound very well for a guard – picking 5.4 boards per game, and he offers yet another perimeter scorer to complement Howard. Edwards averages 19.5 points per game playing in a brutal SEC as the best player on a bad team, meaning every single team he plays is gameplanning to stop him. When they have to deal with Nwora and Howard too, Edwards will be free to ball out. 

Forward: John Mooney, Notre Dame

  • Leading the nation with 23 double-doubles, Mooney has been a force for the Irish all year. He can occasionally shoot it from three, but he rebounds like a maniac and imposes his will in the paint. With Notre Dame running a 4-guard offense very often, Mooney is usually the only man inside the paint, helping facilitate the ball movement, and taking over games when necessary. If I’m looking for players that consistently put up great numbers to take me on a tournament run, I’m definitely taking Mooney.

Center: Vernon Carey, Duke

  • Having scored 25+ points five different times and is capable of dominating the boards, having collected up to 17 rebounds in a contest. With Mooney already inside, Carey can focus a little less on rebounding and more on attacking the rim and getting easy buckets in the paint whenever the 3s aren’t falling.

Coach: Bruce Pearl – Auburn

  • You love to see a coach get fired up, and that’s exactly what Bruce Pearl does, consistently getting his guys going for big games, delivering passionate pregame speeches and getting hyped up after a huge win. Pearl has also turned a team that was under .500 for five straight years before he started his tenure into a Final Four team by his fifth season. He’s also on pace to lead the Tigers to their third straight tournament appearance, the first time they’ve done that since 1984-1988. Best coach in the nation. Period. 

March Impact Player Profile: John Mooney, Notre Dame

Three sure things in life: Death, Taxes, and John Mooney recording a double-double. Mooney is one of five college basketball players averaging a double-double, and he’s tied for the national lead with 20 of them. On a mediocre Notre Dame basketball team, Mooney has been the spark plug for the Irish offense. While Notre Dame hasn’t gotten themselves completely sorted out, and they’ll need some help to reach bubble consideration, what chances they have run through Mooney.

Shooting 45% from the field, Mooney has already put the Irish on his back in several games. One game that comes to mind is probably Notre Dame’s best win of the year, when they visited the raucous Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse. At 0-2 in ACC play, the Irish desperately needed a win, and they turned to their star senior forward to get it done. Mooney responded with a 11-21 shooting performance from the field, piling up 28 points and 14 rebounds on the Orange. It is one of three 28-point performances. He’s put up 10 or more points in 23 of 24 games this year, while collecting at least 10 rebounds in 22 games. The consistency with which Mooney performs is remarkable, as no team has proven able to stop him. Notre Dame has taken on two top-10 teams in Louisville and at Florida State, but Mooney scored 16 versus the Seminoles and recorded a double-double against Louisville with a season-high 19 boards. 

Mooney does most of his damage in the paint, but he’s made up to three-pointers in multiple contests, proving his ability to help the Irish out from beyond the arc when he needs to. Notre Dame visits Duke tomorrow, and they host Florida State later in the year, not to mention an ACC tournament full of statement-win opportunities. The chances for the Irish to prove their worthiness for at at-large bid are there, and to get there, they’ll need John Mooney to lead their late-season charge. And if the Irish get there, regardless of what seed Notre Dame gets, nobody will want to be opposing this senior in march.