To celebrate the new year and the new decade, the editors at Bull Run have voted on all-decade teams. We started (and are continuing) with the football teams, and yesterday we posted the guards on our men’s basketball all-decade team. Today we continue our celebration of the greatest decade in the history of UB’s men’s basketball program with the forwards.
Originally, we were going to break it down by position (PG, SG, SF, PF, C) but the way the Bulls played most of the decade wasn’t defined by the traditional positional roles. Instead, we elected to select three guards (players whose games were predicated on their prowess on the perimeter) and two forwards (players whose games were predicated on their prowess on the interior). Another note about team composition: as we’re doing with the football team, players that transferred and did not finish their college careers at Buffalo were not considered in order to honor the players that did choose to stay at UB.
Javon McCrea - One of two unanimous first team selections among the Bull Run editors (the other being CJ Massinburg), Javon McCrea from nearby Newark, NY will go down as a UB great. McCrea was an absolute force on the inside all four of his years in Buffalo, earning MAC freshman of the year his first season, then being named all-MAC first team each of the next three seasons, and finally culminating in MAC player of the year his senior season. McCrea ended his UB career as the career leading scorer, third leading rebounder, and second leading shot blocker.
Nick Perkins - Nick Perkins, hailing from the Detroit area, was one of the first recruits of the Nate Oats era. Being a powerful threat in the low post, and a three point shooting threat from outside, Perkins was a difficult match-up for any opponent. Teaming up with CJ Massinburg, they formed perhaps the greatest one-two punch in UB history, and they lead some of the greatest teams in UB history in their four years together in Buffalo. Perkins helped lead the Bulls to three NCAA tournaments, two NCAA tournament wins, and the first AP top 25 ranking in school history. He is the only player on this list not to win a MAC player of the year (in part because of Massinburg), going to show the strength of the forwards this decade. Perkins himself was decorated though, Perkins was named first team all-MAC two times in his career, and was the only player in MAC history to be named sixth man of the year three times. Perkins finished his UB career fifth in career scoring and fourth in career rebounding. Doing all of that on some of the best teams in UB history earns Nick Perkins a spot on the Bull Run all-decade first team.
Mitchell Watt - Mitchell Watt was a shot blocking machine the minute that he stepped onto campus, averaging 1.3 BPG in just 14 minutes per game his sophomore year and 2.2 BPG in just 21 minutes his junior year. However, Watt’s senior year was where he really blossomed into a bonafide star. Watt averaged 16.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 2.2 BPG en route to winning MAC player of the year honors. Watt sits at #3 on the career blocked shots list in UB history.
Justin Moss - Justin Moss’ UB career was short lived, but his final season was one of the most dominant in UB history. After making his way to Buffalo via the JUCO route, Moss played a minor role his sophomore year behind all-decade first teamer Javon McCrea. Moss was efficient in his nine minutes per game, but the question was whether he would be able to carry that efficiency into a larger role his junior season. Moss did just that, averaging 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game on his way to winning the MAC player of the year, and leading Buffalo to their first NCAA tournament appearance. Moss wasn’t at his best in the NCAA tournament game, dealing with an injured ankle, and leaving Bulls fans with a big what-if scenario to ponder following the 6 point loss to West Virginia. Moss was dismissed from school prior to his senior season, so he didn’t get the chance for an encore, but his junior season will be one Bulls fans remember.