Holup Heads Fans' Top 10 Players in GW Men's Hoops History
Fans Decide Top 10 Players in GW Men's Hoops' 100-Season History
Feb. 8, 2014
GW fans have chosen 1956 Associated Press All-American Joe Holup ('56) as the top player in men's basketball history in a top 10 vote conducted since the start of the program's 100th season in November.
GW Athletics counted down the 100 days leading up to the 100th season with 100 former men's basketball players who made an impact on the program. Fan voting opened at the debut of the 100th season against Radford on Nov. 8, providing fans the chance to chose their top Colonials of all-time.
Holup was joined by fellow GW legends Mike Brown, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Shawnta Rogers, Chris Monroe, Yinka Dare, Carl Elliott, Kwame Evans, Bob Tallent and Mike Hall in the top 10 fan vote.
GW Men's Basketball Top 10 Players Fan Vote
#1 JOE HOLUP
Joe Holup isn't just one of the greatest basketball players ever to don the Buff and Blue, but based on statistics he's one of the two best players in the history of NCAA Division I men's basketball. The 6-foot-6 center is one of just two players - La Salle's Tom Gola being the other - in NCAA D-I history to have more than 2,000 points and 2,000 rebounds in a career. His 2,226 career points stood as a GW record for 47 seasons while his program record 2,030 career rebounds are second only to Gola's 2,201 in the history of NCAA Division I and fifth-most all-time across all divisions of NCAA basketball. Over a span of four seasons from 1952-56, Holup averaged 21.4 points on 58.6 percent shooting and 19.5 rebounds, earning First Team All-Southern Conference honors each season. He led the Colonials to an 81-23 overall record, 32 weeks of Associated Press national rankings, two Southern Conference regular-season titles, the 1954 Southern Conference championship as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1954. As a senior in 1955-56, he averaged 25.0 points, including a program single-game record 49 against Furman on Feb. 17, 1956, and led the NCAA with 23.0 rebounds per game and 64.7 percent shooting, to become the first and only GW player to land on an AP All-America team with Third Team honors. Holup was the fifth overall pick, three behind No. 2 Bill Russell, in the 1956 NBA Draft and played three seasons for the Syracuse Nationals and Detroit Pistons. He was inducted into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977 and named to the All-Century Team in 2001.
#2 MIKE BROWN
Mike Brown was a force to be reckoned with from the moment the 6-foot-10 center stepped on campus in Foggy Bottom. Joining the Colonials in 1981 from East Orange, N.J. and Clifford Scott High School, Brown led the team in both scoring and rebounding in each of the next four seasons to become one of the most decorated players in program history. Over the course of his 111-game career, Brown averaged 17.3 points and 10.5 rebounds while amassing 64 double-doubles, earning either First Team or Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honors all four seasons as well as being named the 1982 A-10 Rookie of the Year. He is one of three GW players with 1,000-plus points and rebounds in his career (Joe Holup, Gene Guarilia), and ranks third all-time with 1,916 points and second all-time with 1,166 rebounds. Brown was drafted in the third round of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls and went on to enjoy a successful 11-year, five-team career in the pros. He entered the GW Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994 and was a member of the All-Century Team in 2001.
#3 POPS MENSAH-BONSU
Pops Mensah-Bonsu is one of the best and most beloved players in GW men's basketball history. The springy 6-foot-9 forward of Ghanaian descent, born and raised in London and recruited from St. Augustine Prep (N.J.) averaged double figures and led the team in blocks all four seasons from 2002-06. While increasing team success put GW on the college hoops map, it was the personality and highlight-reel dunks of the "King Whale Killer" that helped the Colonials captivate the nation (especially ESPN sportscaster Scott Van Pelt). Among the league's top rookies with 10.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a freshman starter in 2002-03, Mensah-Bonsu provided 11.6 points and 5.4 boards in a reserve role en route to being named the Atlantic 10's Chris Daniels Most Improved Player as a sophomore on GW's 2004 NIT team. He then averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds as a junior, earning Second Team All-Atlantic 10 and All-Championship Team honors as he helped GW capture its first-ever A-10 Championship title and make the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Mensah-Bonsu cemented his legacy on GW's banner 2005-06 team, capturing First Team All-Atlantic 10 and All-Defensive Team honors with a career-best 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds. Pops, whose professional career spans five NBA teams, five European countries and the 2012 Olympics with his native Great Britain, ranks 22nd all-time at GW with 1,308 points on 58.4 percent shooting, third with 141 blocks and just outside the top 10 with 676 rebounds.
#4 SHAWNTA ROGERS
Standing 5-foot-4, Shawnta Rogers is a giant figure in the pantheon of GW basketball history. The small-in-stature, big-in-heart guard did it all for the Colonials from 1995-99, leading the team in assists and steals all four seasons and twice serving as the team's top scorer as GW won 80 games and made four postseason appearances, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in 1996, 1998 and 1999. Rogers earned Atlantic 10 All-Conference honors every season (First Team in 1999, Second Team in 1998, Third Team in 1997 and A-10 All-Rookie Team in 1996), including three consecutive selections to the league's All-Defensive Team (1997-99), but his senior season in 1998-99 is regarded as one of the best in program history. Rogers paced the team and A-10 with 20.9 points and 6.8 assists, and also led NCAA Division I with 3.6 steals to become the first and only GW player to earn the A-10 Player of the Year award, as well as the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the nation's best player 6-feet or under. He cemented his legendary status on Senior Day on Feb. 27, 1999 with a buzzer-beating three pointer that beat Xavier, 77-74, and helped the Colonials secure an NCAA Tournament bid. Rogers ranks sixth all-time in scoring with 1,701 points, is GW's career leader in assists (634) and steals (310), and also grabbed 533 rebounds, including 100-or-more all four seasons. He was inducted into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
#5 CHRIS MONROE
Chris Monroe came to GW from Good Counsel High School in Hyattsville, Md., in 1999 seeking respect. By the time he finished his career as a Colonial in 2003, the 6-foot-3 "power guard" (as labeled by head coach Tom Penders) had earned that respect as the greatest scorer ever at GW and one of the top players in Atlantic 10 history. In 118 career games, Monroe reached double figures in scoring an amazing 107 times, including 60 games with 20-or-more points, en route to setting a GW program record with 2,249 career points. His career point total is the third-most of any player in A-10 Conference history, and he also ranks 10th all-time in rebounding at GW with 712 career boards, making him one of just four players (Joe Holup, Mike Brown, Alexander Koul) to be inside the program's career top 10 in both scoring and rebounding. He was named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team as a freshman in 2000 and followed with Team MVP and A-10 All-Conference honors each of the following three seasons - Third Team All-Conference in 2001, Second Team All-Conference in 2002 and First Team All-Conference in 2003. He has gone on to gain the respect of players and fans across the globe with a professional playing career spanning the Ukraine, Austria, Hungary, France, Greece, Italy, Iran and most recently Russia with a SuperLeague championship in 2013. He was enshrined in the GW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
#6 YINKA DARE
Despite playing in Foggy Bottom for just two seasons, the name Yinka Dare is forever synonymous with GW basketball. The 7-foot-1 center from Nigeria took the nation by storm as a freshman during the Colonials' deepest postseason run in program history in 1992-93, then turned his sizable talent into the 14th overall selection in the 1994 NBA Draft. In his debut season in 1992-93, Dare averaged 12.2 points on 55 percent shooting, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks as he was tabbed Sports Illustrated's 1993 Freshman of the Year, an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press, and earned the A-10 Freshman and Newcomer of the Year titles while matching the then league-record with nine Rookie of the Week awards. He posted 15 double-doubles that season as GW made a Cinderella run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. He added 16 more double-doubles and averaged 15.4 points and 10.3 rebounds as he repeated as team MVP and on the All-Atlantic 10 Second Team as a sophomore in 1993-94, helping the Colonials to the NCAA Tournament second round. He still owns the GW program record for blocks in a season (84 in 1992-93) and ranks fourth all-time in the category with 140 rejections in just 60 games. He became the second GW player chosen in the first round of the NBA Draft when he was selected 14th overall by the New Jersey Nets in 1994. He played four seasons for the Nets and was named to GW's All-Century Team in 2001 before passing away unexpectedly in 2004 at the age of 31.
#7 CARL ELLIOTT
Nicknamed 'Big Shot' for his penchant for clutch, game-winning shots, Carl Elliott's flair for the dramatic is only a part of his four-year legacy at GW from 2003-07. While his 'Threw It in the Hole' winner at Dayton in 2005 and buzzer-beating overtime tip-in against Charlotte in 2006 certainly helped, it was also Elliott's consistency and all-around play that helped GW reach four postseasons, including three straight NCAA Tournaments from 2005-07, and helped him become the winningest player in program history with 90 victories. Elliott twice earned A-10 All-Conference (2006 Second Team, 2007 Third Team) and All-Defensive Team (2005, 2007) honors, and was an A-10 All-Rookie Team pick in 2003-04 and an A-10 All-Championship Team selection during GW's run to the 2007 crown. He's one of only four players to lead the Colonials in assists all four seasons (Tony Taylor, Shawnta Rogers, Alvin Pearsall) and is the only player to record a triple-double in program history with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in an 84-72 win over Temple on Feb. 17, 2007. Elliott ranks 24th all-time in scoring with 1,256 points and is second only to Rogers in both career assists (539) and steals (281).
#8 KWAME EVANS
One of the best players, scorers and winners in GW men's basketball history, Kwame Evans helped the Colonials to 78 victories and four trips to the postseason during his career from 1992-96. He averaged 5.6 points in 26 games during his rookie season in 1992-93, but flashed a glimpse of his high-scoring potential during the Colonials' magical run to the 1993 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Evans averaged 14.3 points in four postseason contests, highlighted by team highs of 19 points in the NCAA first round victory over New Mexico and 13 points and six rebounds against Michigan and the Fab Five in the Sweet 16. As a sophomore in 1993-94, Evans was the team's third-leading scorer at 13.3 points per game as GW made the NCAA Tournament once again. He then led GW and the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 19.4 points per game during a postseason NIT appearance in 1994-95, and again paced the Colonials at 18.7 points per game en route to the NCAA Tournament in 1995-96, earning First Team All-Conference accolades each season. The 6-foot-6 guard from Baltimore, Md., scored in double-figures in 85 of his 117 career games, including 34 outings with 20-or-more points and five 30-plus point performances, and currently ranks fifth on GW's all-time scoring list with 1,706 points. He also owns a share of the single-game mark for three pointers with eight at Duquesne in January 1996. Evans is part of the latest GW Athletic Hall of Fame class and was inducted on Feb. 8, 2014.
#9 BOB TALLENT
The eldest of the Tallent trio, Bob Tallent played only one season at GW, but it was one of the most dominant single seasons for any player in program history. Tallent totaled 723 points and averaged 28.9 points for the Colonials in 1968-69, still the best single-season scoring totals in school annals and the ninth-best single-season average in Southern Conference history just ahead of current NBA star Stephen Curry's 28.6 points in 2008-09. He earned First Team All-Southern Conference honors that season, helping the Colonials to their first winning record (14-11) in nine seasons, a third-place finish in the league standings and a trip to the SoCon tourney semifinals. Tallent reached double figures in all 25 games, including 23 games of 20-or-more points, 11 games with 30-or-more, and a pair of 40-plus point outings. His 46 points in a victory over Pittsburgh on Jan. 11, 1969 are the second-most in one game in school history. He was drafted by the Denver Rockets in the 1969 ABA Draft, but returned to Foggy Bottom as a coach and eventually spent seven seasons as head coach, helping the Colonials to 102 victories from 1975-81, the fourth-most wins of any coach in program history. Bob was inducted into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990 and was a member of the All-Century Team in 2001.
#10 MIKE HALL
A hard-working 6-foot-8 forward from Chicago, Mike Hall was the glue-guy of GW's star-laden and super successful teams of the mid-2000s. He led the Colonials in rebounding all four seasons - one of three players to accomplish that feat (Mike Brown, Alexander Koul) - and posted 25 double-doubles during a 117-game career in which GW went 79-40. He was a member of the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team and A-10 All-Tournament Team in 2003 after averaging 9.7 points and team-best 8.2 rebounds as a freshman. As a sophomore, he earned Team MVP honors while averaging 10.3 points and 7.8 rebounds for a GW team that reached the postseason with a berth in the NIT. He followed up with Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honors as a junior in helping GW to the 2005 NCAA Tournament, averaging 10.6 points and 8.0 rebounds. He was one of GW's four All-Conference picks in his final season, earning Second Team honors again as well as All-Defensive Team honors with 11.0 points and 7.6 rebounds on the Colonials' legendary 2005-06 team that went 27-3 overall, a perfect 16-0 in the A-10, ranked as high as No. 6 nationally and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hall ranks 25th all-time at GW with 1,216 points and is fifth with 923 rebounds.