Marietta College men’s basketball all-decade team
With the 2010s winding down, I’ve seen people all over social media doing “all-decade” teams for various pro and college sports teams.
Basically, the idea is to select the best player at each position from the past 10 years for a respective team and form the most optimal lineup. It’s actually pretty enjoyable to see how good (Ohio State football) or bad (Cleveland Browns) some of the lineups turn out.
As we get closer to the end of 2019, I thought it would be fun to put together an all-decade team for the Marietta College men’s basketball squad. It’s been by far the most successful decade in the program’s history.
Under the direction of head coach Jon VanderWal, who took over the team in 2007, the Pioneer men put together a remarkable record of 206-55 in the decade. That kind of dominance isn’t possible without some serious talent, and Marietta had plenty of it.
For the all-decade team, the lineup will feature a 10-man rotation, much like what VanderWal deploys in a typical game. There will be a first team and a second team, with both teams featuring a point guard, two wing players and two post players. The only requirement to make the team is that a player must’ve played at Marietta sometime between 2010 and 2019. I also won’t be including any current Pioneer players since their careers are still unfolding.
Dillon Young, first team; Tyler Hammond, second team
From 2010 to 2018, Hammond and Young essentially locked down the point guard spot for the Pioneers. Both players became key contributors immediately as freshmen. Young finished his career with 1,242 points and was also an exceptional distributor. In all four of his years at Marietta, the Pios were Ohio Athletic Conference champions and NCAA Tournament qualifiers. He was a three-time All-OAC honoree and was second team All-Region as a senior.
Hammond joined a Pioneer team on the rise in 2010 and immediately was plugged in as the team’s starting point guard as a freshman. He helped lead Marietta to two OAC titles in his career and the program’s first ever Sweet 16 berth as a freshman (Hammond hit the game-winner bucket against Wittenberg in the round of 32). Known for racking up assists while limiting turnovers, Hammond was a three-time All-OAC honorable mention pick.
Trevor Halter and Anthony Wallace, first team; Kyle Dixon and RaNeal Ewing, second team
The wing position is loaded and it was difficult narrowing it down to four players. Halter hit arguably the biggest shot in school history when his 3-pointer in the final seconds of the 2010-11 OAC championship game put the finishing touches on an epic 21-point second-half comeback over John Carroll. He was the leading scorer on the Sweet 16-bound team that year and finished his career with 1,326 points. He was named the 2010-11 OAC Player of the Year and was first team All-Region and second team All-American.
Wallace and Dixon were teammates for four years, helping the Pioneers win the OAC and make the NCAA tourney each season. Both were 1,000-point scorers, Wallace finishing with 1,205 and Dixon 1,086. The duo paved the way for Marietta’s Elite Eight appearance in 2018-19, Wallace earning first team All-OAC honors and second team All-Region while Dixon was named second team all-conference.
Ewing was one of Marietta’s most exciting players of the decade. He made several highlight reel dunks that nearly brought the roof off of Ban Johnson Arena and was the leading scorer on the 2014-15 team that won a school record 28 games and made the program’s first ever Elite Eight appearance.
A.J. Edwards and Kevin Knab, first team; Garrett Stephenson and J.J. Martin, second team
This is another stacked position as VanderWal seems to bring in impact post players in every recruiting class.
Edwards is the only Marietta player ever to be named first team All-American. He did that as a junior when he posted team-highs of 17.3 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game to help the Pioneers finish 25-4. Then as a senior, he averaged 17.9 and 8.5 to earn third team All-American honors and help Marietta win 26 games and make the Sweet 16.
Knab was a four-year starter and is the fifth-leading scorer in school history with 1,536 points. For his career, he knocked down 63% percent of his field goal attempts, a Marietta College record. On the 2010-11 Sweet 16 team, Knab finished second on the team with 14.8 points per game and grabbed a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game. He is still making an impact for the Pioneers as an assistant coach.
Stephenson started all 32 games in the 2014-15 Elite Eight year. The OAC Player of the Year and a first team All-Region choice that season, Stephenson finished second on the Pioneers with 12.6 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Martin provided instant offense off the bench as a sophomore for the 2010-11 Sweet 16 team. Two years later as a senior, he led the Pioneers with 16.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game on the way to an improbable run to the OAC Tournament championship. He was named first team All-OAC and All-Region that season.
Jordan Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.