Last week we did a fun couple of roundtables discussing fictional football coaches and players. This week we decided to take that idea and give it a little different spin by going with a different sport and a different idea.
TSS staff writers Kevin Causey and Joseph Nardone were joined by Ian Casselberry, Liam McGuire and Tyler Lyon of Bloguin’s pop culture site The AP Party as we filled out a basketball team with only fictional characters from TV and movies.
Here’s our squad…
Head Coach: Eddie Franklin, Eddie
Why is Edwina “Eddie” Franklin the right coach for this team? We have a lot of different personalities from many different backgrounds. But in Franklin’s former job as a limo driver, she regularly encountered people from all sorts of professions. Most of the time, she just got the job done, getting someone from Point A to Point B in the most efficient way possible. Sometimes, she was just a person who was there to listen. On occasion, she was a problem solver.
Franklin can adapt to any situation, just as she did when the New York Knicks named her the head coach after she won a contest to be the team’s honorary coach. Owner William Burgess saw someone who knew people, how to bring out the best in every player on her team. Of course, it helped that she also knew basketball really well. Most importantly, Franklin’s energy and enthusiasm for the job is endless, because she’s living the dream.- Ian Casselberry
Assistant Coach: Bill Fuller, Hang Time
Fuller is a gosh slam revolutionary. He brought a girl onto his Deering Tornados boys’ varsity basketball team and made it nearly a non-story. Not to mention he is a former NBA player. Seriously, he brings some NBA experience with him (we don’t really know if he was that good, though, but whatever).
The NBA has a habit of giving former NBA players with no coaching experience a gig these days. Bill Fuller has some. I don’t care that it was at the high school level, either.
Also, not to go too inside with you, but Fuller’s relationship with Julie Connor, who won over Mary Beth Pepperton (who has a really rich dad), can go a long way in bringing some cash to our program via transitive friend property.
Eventually Fuller was let go (or left… we have no idea) the program and has been hanging out for over two decades now. He’s probably itching to get back to coaching. And, well, he probably comes rather cheap. So, yeah, we are going to use him for his relationships to get loot from prospective boosters and he’s cheap.- Joseph Nardone
The Starting Five
C: Neon Budreau, Blue Chips
Neon’s skills are raw but he has elite athleticism for a big guy and will attack the rim on offense as well as violently defend it on defense. Yeah, he’s going to need help to get and stay academically eligible but we’ll talk about that later. Budreau gives us a key piece in the middle that we can build around will surely intimidate the opposition.- Kevin Causey
PF: Pound, The Charles Barkley Monstar, Space Jam
What’s better than Charles Barkley, the second-best player of his time? How about a hulked-out Charles Barkley who grabs the ball like it’s a baseball. Pound is the undisputed leader of the Monstar team that takes on Michael Jordan and the Toon Squad for the Looney Toon’s life rights. According to a study I stumbled on while researching this topic, the orange behemoth had the second best shooting performance of the game behind Jordan (picking him would be cheating) shooting 16-16, 5-5 from beyond the arch for a total of 37 points. Throw in Barkley’s aggressive demeanor and attitude that shines through the character and you have a literal beast on the court that makes him the perfect PF.- Tyler Lyon
SF: Jesus Shuttlesworth, He Got Game
Jesus has some big-time family issues but he’s too big of a prospect not to find a spot for on our team. At 6’5″, Shuttlesworth is a truly versatile small forward. He has an elite handle, can create his own shot, can score in traffic, is an underrated defender, has good court vision and can hit the mid-range and long-range jumper. He may need some help staying away from temptations off the court but we’ll deal with that when it comes up.- Kevin Causey
SG: Jimmy Chitwood, Hoosiers
There’s a reason the people of Hickory put so much pressure on new head coach, Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) to make sure Chitwood was on the floor that season. From the moment we see his perfect form in the backyard, we know the kid’s got talent. If you believe in “clutch” as a player-specific quality, you need to look no further than the final shot in the state championship. To quote Washington Sentinel coach Jimmy McGuinty, “Winners want the ball, when the game’s on the line.” Factor in his loyalty, and you got the perfect leader for your squad.- Tyler Lyon
PG: Billy Hoyle, White Men Can’t Jump
Street ball is different from the organized game. There’s a reason why the And1 players aren’t in the NBA but you can’t ignore fundamentals and Billy Hoyle’s got them. He’s the master of the no-look pass who’s down-right lethal from the 18-20’ mark when he’s “in the zone.” He can also get into the opponent’s head and is not afraid to get physical when he needs too plus. Also, his trash-talking skills would bring in some much needed humor to the team.- Tyler Lyon
Tom “Shep” Shepherd, Above the Rim
Shep had demons but man could he take over a game whether he was in uniform or just walking in off the streets and plays in a pair of pants. He proved time and time again that he could take a shot and continue to get back up and play. He can knock down the open jumper, can take it to the rim and when he gets hot..watch out! If we need instant offense, this guy can deliver in spades.- Kevin Causey
Sidney Deane, White Men Can’t Jump
Believe it or not, Sidney Deane is overrated. If you rewatch the movie closely he has no handles and his J is suspect. He can only play above the rim. That being said, he brings a lot of energy to the game and his swagger is second to none. – Kevin Causey and Joseph Nardone
Jamal Wallace, Finding Forrester
Wallace is no slouch. His basketball skills earned him a scholarship at a prestigious private school. However, his intelligence and writing skill also had a lot to do with earning that honor. If you need someone to hit a key jump shot and play some solid defense, Wallace can do that for you. But sometimes, he overthinks the play on the court, resulting in him either trying to do too much or practically freezing when he has to make a decision. His skills of observation and introspection serve him well as a writer, but not always as a basketball player.
Every team needs a coach on the floor, another coach on the bench. Wallace has studied the playbook, he’s watched all the tape. Coaching is in Wallace’s future. That is, if he doesn’t decide to either pursue a career in media after his playing days are over or go into seclusion and write the great novel that his professors and mentor, William Forrester, often expected from him someday.- Ian Casselberry
Steve Urkel, Family Matters
Let’s get something straight up Urkel: He may be taking performance enhancing drugs. I’m honestly not too sure which category his famous “boss sauce” formula falls in. Still, it goes without saying that Steve/Stefan Urkel has game. Seriously, remember that time he was the high school basketball manager and Eddie could not get the job done alone? Yup, the much maligned team manager was given the rock!
It can’t be understated how awesome he was. Dribbling between his legs, no-look passes, lay-ups for days — Urkel was essentially a more talented, better shooting Rajon Rondo.
There is some baggage that comes with the cheese loving good guy. He certainly values academics above all else. I’m not sure the Club State Pool Cleaners is the right academic institution for him, as we only offer one course to story — hoops. We haven’t even mentioned that his “Urkel Dance” will result in a few technical fouls here and there.
But Steve is a good to great point guard prospect. His floor is pretty low, but his ceiling is higher than any character in a Cheech and Chong movie. Plus, if he shares the boss sauce, anything is possible. – Joseph Nardone
Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries
This is tough because Carroll isn’t technically a fictional character. The movie is based off Carroll’s autobiographical, which shares the same name as the movie. So, yeah, I suppose I am kind of cheating here, but this is college hoops and what is the college hoops without some cheating? Oh yeah, Division III college hoops. Whatever with the semantics, though.
Bringing Carroll in just helps to add to our academic prestige (see Urkel). There are certainly concerns about his off-the-court issues, which has resulted in him being only a three-star prospect, but he can ball. He’s an all-state type of player in New York. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Yeah, we are going a little guard heavy, but Urkel has a seriously underrated jumper while Carroll plays with a bit more isolation-ball in hand heavy type of style. That said, I think the two compliment each other perfectly.
Side note: Just ignore The Downtown Diaries. Since Club State will clean him up, Carroll will not need to relocate nor continue his addiction to the needle.- Joseph Nardone
We need size and this Lithuanian born player gives us a guy who can play if Neon gets in foul trouble or Pound loses his abilities. Vakidis doesn’t know much English but his 7’2″ frame can’t be ignored and he has the ability to absorb a foul and still follow-thru to get the hoop.- Kevin Causey
Hastings Ruckle, Friday Night Lights
Ruckle is the ultimate wild card. On a show where characters were carefully layered and aptly developed, the stupidly named Ruckle was not. His short one season arc leaves a lot to be desired. He was however, a great basketball player apparently.
Discovered by Coach Taylor’s right hand man Buddy Garrity, Ruckle is introduced in a hilariously edited pickup basketball game and it’s pretty clear actor Grey Damon is not a basketball phenom like his character. However, since we are talking about fictional skill, Ruckle would make the cut and be a perfect sixth man. Coach Taylor was instantly impressed with the East Dillon basketball star’s speed, hands and jumping ability – all great traits of basketball players – and do you know who is a great judge of character, Coach freaking Taylor. In his pickup basketball scene, he’s making shots despite his extremely awkward shooting form. Ruckle is a free spirit, and I’m sure would provide team yoga sessions if need be. Being the number one wide receiver on East Dillion is impressive, and it’s insinuated that he was just as good if not better at basketball. I’d take Ruckles on my team. – Liam McGuire
Sandy Lyle, Along Came Polly
Is Lyle one of the best six or seven players on this roster? No, he’s not even in the rotation. He’s the 12th man. He’s probably on the bench in street clothes most nights, and not because he’s injured. But every team needs someone like Lyle. Even if he’s more of a thick forward-type, a bigger body that thinks he’s a guard. All you have to do is watch one of his jump shots rocket off the backboard to know this guy is not on the court because of his shooting touch.
Lyle is there when a team just needs a body on the floor to set some picks and hand out six tough fouls. But he also provides confidence. Just look at him when he hoists up another rock. What does he say? “Let it rain!” Because he believes it’s going in. And a team needs to believe it’s either going to bounce back from a blowout or can carry its great play on to the next night. You always hear about swagger, and Lyle has it. He brings it. He lives it. Rain dance!- Ian Casselberry