The Greatest IU Basketball Player of All-Time Bracket: Knight Post-’85 Round of 32

  • 04/01/2020 10:29 am in

Welcome back to the “Greatest IU Basketball Player of All-Time” tournament bracket, where Inside the Hall and Assembly Call teamed up to put together a field of 68 former Hoosiers who have left a tremendous impact on the Indiana basketball program.

On March 20, voting took place for the play-in games of each region. Last week, voting took place for the Round of 64 in the Pre-Knight era region, the Knight Pre-’85 era region, the Knight Post-’85 era region and the Post-Knight era region.

Voting has already taken place this week in the Round of 32 in the Pre-Knight era region and the Knight Pre-’85 era region, and today it’s time to vote in the Round of 32 in the Knight Post-’85 era region.

Among the factors to consider when voting:

– Impact on winning at IU
– Statistical achievement
– How they represented the program and university
– Qualitative impact on the culture and tradition of IU basketball overall

Remember, go to Inside the Hall’s Twitter account to vote on these matchups (the polls will also be embedded in this post once they go live), and you have 24 hours from when the polls go live to vote. The Post-Knight era region Round of 32 will take place tomorrow. (The updated bracket can be found at the bottom of the article.)

Today’s matchups are below:

No. 1 Calbert Cheaney v No. 9 AJ Guyton

Calbert Cheaney (1989-1993)

Cheaney defeated Michael Lewis in the round of 64. Cheaney’s legacy precedes him. He’s still the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer, and therefore the leading scorer in IU history, with 2,613 career points and was a three-time All-American under Bob Knight. Postseason accolades flooded Cheaney during his IU career, as he won the Wooden and Naismith awards for National Player of the Year and was the Big Ten player of the year in 1993. The small forward from Evansville, Indiana, was also named to IU’s All-Century first team and was inducted last year into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. A career 56 percent shooter from the field, Cheaney also shot 44 percent from 3-point range and scored 30 or more points an astounding 13 times. Indiana won 105 games during Cheaney’s four years as a Hoosier.

AJ Guyton (1996-2000)

Guyton defeated Eric Anderson in the round of 64. In Guyton’s first season at Indiana, he became just the second Hoosier freshman to collect at least 400 points, 100 assists and 100 steals. The only other IU freshman to do that was Isiah Thomas. He was a four-year starter and played in every game for the cream and crimson. When he left Indiana, he was the Hoosiers’ all-time leader in 3-point makes with 283, fourth in all-time scoring with 2,100 points, eighth in assists with 403 and tenth in steals with 128. His senior season, he averaged 19.7 points per game and once said, “I felt back then I couldn’t be guarded.” Guyton was inducted into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.

No. 5 Greg Graham v No. 4 Alan Henderson

Greg Graham (1989-1993)

Graham defeated Daryl Thomas in the round of 64. A guard for Indiana who was a key part of the 1992 Final Four team, Graham totaled nearly 1,600 points during his college career. Most of Graham’s accolades came during his senior season, in which he was named first-team All-Big Ten, the Big Ten defensive player of the year and an NCAA tournament All-Region selection. Graham won a pair of Big Ten titles at Indiana, and grew to be an effective 3-point shooter (career 43.9 percent shooter from distance) who is also fourth in IU history with 151 career steals. Graham was taken in the first round of the 1993 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.

Alan Henderson (1991-1995)

Henderson defeated Dean Garrett in the round of 64. Another prolific scorer from the early ’90s, the 6-foot-9 Henderson finished his Hoosier career with 1,979 career points, still seventh all-time on IU’s scoring charts. Henderson’s 23.5 points per game as a senior in the 1994-95 season represents the highest single-season per game scoring total from Bob Knight’s time as head coach. Among IU players since 1971, Henderson has the most single-season points in Big Ten play (416 points during that 1994-95 campaign). All four of Henderson’s Hoosier teams reached the NCAA tournament, and the 1992-93 squad won the Big Ten and was the last IU team to win more than 30 games in a season. Henderson averaged a double-double during his final two seasons at Indiana.

No. 6 Brian Evans v No. 3 Damon Bailey

Brian Evans (1991-1996)

Evans defeated Kirk Haston in the round of 64. A 6-foot-8 power forward who was recently inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, Evans shined in Bloomington, especially at the end of his career. He was a third-team All-American and the Big Ten player of the year in 1996 after averaging 21.2 points per game as a senior. Evans ended his Indiana career with 1,701 points and 750 rebounds, as he recorded at least 138 rebounds in all four of his seasons. Evans was a bit shortchanged in terms of NCAA tournament runs at the end of his career though, as the Hoosiers lost in the first round of both the 1995 and 1996 NCAA tournaments.

Damon Bailey (1990-1994)

Bailey defeated Matt Nover in the round of 64. The fanfare surrounding Bailey’s arrival at Indiana was unprecedented and he lived up to the hype in college as well. After scoring 3,134 points at Bedford North Lawrence High School (still the boys’ high school basketball record in Indiana), he scored 1,741 points with the Hoosiers (eighth all-time on the IU scoring charts). An Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame member, Bailey was named the 1991 Big Ten freshman of the year after averaging 11.4 points per game and as a senior he received third-team All-American honors after averaging 19.6 points per game. Indiana made it to at least the Sweet Sixteen in each of Bailey’s four seasons, and Indiana won two Big Ten titles during the same period.

No. 7 Keith Smart v No. 2 Steve Alford

Keith Smart (1986-1988)

Smart defeated Jay Edwards in the round of 64. Few players are connected to a single moment in Indiana athletics history as Smart is to “The Shot.” His winning jumper to lift IU past Syracuse in the 1987 NCAA title game is an indelible moment for all Hoosier fans, but it’s important to remember Smart was a skilled player throughout his two years at Indiana. Smart transferred to IU from Garden City Community College in Kansas, and averaged more than 11 points and three assists per game in both of his seasons at Indiana, and he shot better than 84 percent from the foul line in both seasons as well. Smart parlayed this success into becoming a second round pick in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, and he later was the head coach of the Sacramento Kings.

Steve Alford (1983-1987)

Alford defeated Andrae Patterson in the round of 64. A 6-foot-2 guard, Alford’s 2,438 career points set an Indiana school record at his time of graduation. While he now must settle for second all-time on the IU scoring charts, there’s little Alford didn’t accomplish during his college career. He was part of Indiana’s last NCAA title team in 1987, the same season in which he was named a consensus first-team All-American (for the second time), a first-team All-Big Ten member (for the third time), the Big Ten Player of the Year (for the second time) and the Big Ten MVP. This all came after a prestigious high school career at New Castle in Indiana (Alford was the 1983 Indiana Mr. Basketball) and after he won the gold medal with the United States in the 1984 Olympics. Alford also has the IU record for career steals in Big Ten games (99).

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