The first Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 boys all-star basketball team was selected in 1980. So, if you took all the Fab 5 teams over the years, and selected the 20 best players, who would make the cut?
Introducing the most fabulous of the Fab 5s.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Fab 5, the Post-Gazette put together an “all-time” Fab 5, as well as a top 20 list. The top 20 players were selected by a committee made up of 21 current high school coaches in the district, three former coaches and six current and former P-G scholastic sports staff members. Each member of the committee selected 20 players, in order of preference. The Fab 5 is picked annually from all players in the WPIAL and City League.
Among the top 20 all-timers (from 1980 on) are one current NBA player, three former NBA players (including a lottery draft pick), a few college All-Americans, a member of an NCAA championship team, a former NFL player, three players from the great Schenley team of 2007, the all-time leading scorer in WPIAL history and one player who is only a senior in high school now. Listed are the top 20 players in order of their votes, and the year that they were selected to the Fab 5.
Three-time Fab 5 selection. Finished career with 1,563 points and also averaged double figures in rebounds as a sophomore, junior and senior. Leader of great Schenley 2007 team that won a PIAA title and is considered one of the best in Western Pa. history. Blair went on to be an All-American at Pitt, where he played only two years before turning pro. Played in NBA for seven years and averaged 9.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg in 2011-12 for San Antonio Spurs.
Was an All-American at University of Cincinnati and a lottery pick in NBA draft. Played 10 years in the NBA and averaged 11 points and 11 rebounds in two different seasons with Denver and Golden State. Played only one year in WPIAL and is only WPIAL player ever to make McDonald’s All-American Game. Scouting services ranked him among top 10 players in country at Shaler. As a senior, averaged 29.8 points, 13.6 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, shot 69% from field and 73% from free-throw line. Had 53 points in one game. Finished career with 2,331 points.
Chartiers Valley (2009-10)
After four years in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, is now in his first season with the Indiana Pacers. As a senior, had one of the greatest seasons in WPIAL history, scoring 1,062 points. He and Wampum’s Don Hennon are the only two players in WPIAL history to score 1,000 points in a season. Hennon scored 1,003 in 1955. As a senior, McConnell averaged 34.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 6.8 steals. Finished career with 2,404 points, sixth best in WPIAL history. Had 334 career 3-pointers, which was WPIAL record at the time. Was Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year at Duquesne, transferred to Arizona where he was first-team all-Pac 12.
Still the WPIAL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,838 points. Broke Don Hennon’s WPIAL record. He averaged 26 points a game as a senior and averaged 19 or more all four years in high school. Won a WPIAL championship as a senior and made it to the PIAA title game. Had very successful career at Duquesne. Still the school’s third all-time leading scorer with 1,828 points and made 311 career 3-pointers at Duquesne. Averaged at least 14 points all three years at Duquesne and averaged 19.7 as a senior.
Had tremendous career at Blackhawk, winning three consecutive WPIAL titles and a PIAA title. Blackhawk was 87-5 in his three years as a starter and 62-2 the final two. Finished with 2,252 points, which at the time was third in WPIAL history. As a senior, averaged 27.8 points, 8 rebounds, shot 60% from field and had 66 3-pointers. Went on to play on NCAA championship team at North Carolina as a freshman and Final Four team as a junior. One of best 3-point shooters in UNC history. Averaged 10 points as a junior and 12 as a senior.
Considered one of best point guards to come out of Western Pa. Won WPIAL title in 1986 and made WPIAL final in 1987. Led WPIAL in scoring as a senior at 27 points a game, without the 3-point line. Shot close to 60% from field and better than 90% from free-throw line. Made 51 consecutive free throws at one point. Scored more than 1,700 career points. Went on to play at Pitt, where he averaged at least 9 points a game all four years. One of best free-throw shooters in Big East history at 89%. Second in assists in Pitt history.
One of greatest athletes in history of Western Pennsylvania. Played QB and WR in NFL. Originally committed to Pitt for basketball as a sophomore at Jeannette, but became a football sensation at quarterback and defensive back. Only football player in PA. history to run and pass for 4,000 yards. In basketball scored 2,285 points. Senior year averaged 21.9 points a game and had one of the greatest championship games in WPIAL history against Beaver Falls in 2008 when he had 39 points, 24 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
Is a senior this season at Butler High School, but committee thought enough of him already that he finished eighth in voting. Morton is one of the most accomplished players in the WPIAL in the past few decades. A point guard, he had 2,198 points (tied for 20th in WPIAL history), 912 rebounds, 682 assists and 138 blocks. This season, he averaged nearly a triple double with 22.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and also 2.1 steals and 1.4 blocks. Has signed with Purdue.
Central Catholic (1988)
Still the all-time leading scorer at the University of Massachusetts with 2,374 points. Scored more points than Dr. J (Julius Erving). In McCoy’s senior year at Central Catholic averaged 21.9 points a game for a team that made it to the PIAA Class 4A championship game. Played at UMass under John Calipari and averaged 19, 20, 18 and 16 points a game. In McCoy’s senior year, Massachusetts made it to the Sweet 16 of NCAA tournament. Played professionally overseas for a decade.
New Castle (1998-99)
After playing at New Castle, played at Xavier University, but left after his junior year. Had one excellent season at North Carolina Central (NCAA Division II) and then was a second-round draft pick of the Seattle SuperSonics in 2004. Played professionally overseas. Was two-time Post-Gazette Player of the Year. Scored 1,958 points in three years at New Castle, plus 240 at Union as a freshman for total of 2,198. Senior year averaged 25.4 points for a New Castle team that won three consecutive WPIAL titles in the largest classification.
That great Schenley team of 2007 was led in scoring by Kennedy at 17.2 points a game. Scored 1,422 career points before going on to play at St. John’s, where he enjoyed an excellent career and scored more than 1,500 points there. Averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds, and 15 points and 6 rebounds in two best seasons at St. John’s. Played a few games in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which meant that 2007 Schenley team had two NBA players (DeJuan Blair the other). Kennedy is still playing pro overseas.
Was a junior guard on Schenley’s tremendous 2007 team. Kane came back the next season and averaged 31.1 points, 11 rebounds, shot 55% from field and 53% (73 of 146) from 3-point range. Went to Marshall and was Conference USA Freshman of the Year. Eventually played senior season at Iowa State where he made some All-American teams after averaging 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Was all-Big 12 Conference first team. An interesting factoid from Iowa State said Kane was first player in NCAA history to have 2,000 points, 700 rebounds and 600 assists. Still playing overseas.
Penn Hills (1999-2000)
Simply a great scorer. As a senior in 2000, had one of the greatest postseasons of any player in WPIAL history. Set a WPIAL tournament record with 147 points in four games (36 points per game). Carried Penn Hills to 2000 WPIAL Class 4A title. Averaged 30.2 points overall as a senior. Finished career with 2,318 points, which was sixth best in WPIAL history at time. Went to West Virginia and averaged 20.3 points in 2002-03. Finished career at California University (Pa.).
Excellent point guard who was three-time Fab 5 pick. Finished career with 2,278 points, which was eighth best in WPIAL history at time. As a senior, averaged 27.1 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals. Won two WPIAL championships, a PIAA title and 105 games as a four-year starter at Blackhawk. As a senior, was ranked by some scouting services as one of the top 10 point guards in the country. Went to Ohio State. Started 20 and 22 games as a junior and senior, respectively. Averaged 5.1 points and 5.4 points in those two years.
Beaver Falls (2005-06)
Was well-known for making a shot near half court to win the 2005 WPIAL Class 2A title game in triple overtime against Aliquippa. Averaged 20 points a game as a senior. Team was 102-19 in four years as a starter. Scored 2,243 career points, which was 12th best in WPIAL history at the time. Started college career as a football player at Cincinnati but eventually ended up playing basketball at Nebraska. Started all but one game as a junior and senior at Nebraska and averaged 11 points and 4 assists as a senior. Played pro overseas.
Multi-talented forward who played for Quips for three years and scored 1,568 points. As a senior averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Won WPIAL titles in 2006 and 2007. The 2007 team made it to the PIAA title game before losing to the Morris twins (Marcus and Markieff) and Philadelphia Prep Charter. Pope started his college career at New Mexico State and then finished up at Seton Hall in the Big East. Averaged a double double in two of his three years at Seton Hall, going for 15 points and 10 rebounds as a senior.
Central Catholic (1980)
A 6"7' player who was extremely versatile. Scored 48 points in one WPIAL playoff game, which was a WPIAL record at the time. Had a gigantic senior season at Central Catholic when he averaged 26 points and 18 rebounds a game. Scored 1,634 career points. Final four college choices were Villanova, Marquette, Duquesne and Southern California. Chose Marquette and was in the same recruiting class as Doc Rivers. As a senior at Marquette, Marotta averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Price and Marotta tied for 17th in the committee voting. Price finished his career at Duquesne High as the WPIAL’s second all-time leading scorer with 2,635 points. As a senior, averaged 26.5 points, 14 rebounds and 4.9 blocks, while shooting 66% from field. Price went from Duquesne High School to Duquesne University, where he had an excellent career, averaging at least 12 points and 5 rebounds all four seasons. Finished Duquesne career with 1,485 points and 653 rebounds.
Yough had one WPIAL playoff win until McCauley played there. He guided Yough to the 2005 Class 3A title game, scoring 32, 41 and 39 points in first three playoff games. A 6-8 forward who averaged 28.8 points and 16 rebounds as a senior and finished his career with 2,284 points, which at time was eighth best in WPIAL history. Played at North Carolina State. Was three-time all-ACC Academic selection. Sophomore year at NC State averaged 14.4 points and 6.9 rebounds. As a senior, averaged 12.4 and 7.8.
One of greatest shooters in WPIAL history. Set WPIAL record with 346 career 3-pointers. Scored 2,272 career points. As a junior, scored 64 points in a game, second highest in WPIAL history. Averaged 34 points a game as a junior and 28.7 as a senior with 88 3-pointers. Played a season at Drake before transferring to Duquesne where he finished as one of the best 3-point shooters in NCAA history. As a senior at Duquesne, averaged 18.4 points and 4.5 assists a game.
A committee voted current Butler senior Ethan Morton one of the top 10 players in the WPIAL and City League over the past 40 years. Fans agreed.
This is the 40-year anniversary of the first Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 all-star team. To commemorate the anniversary, a committee of coaches, former coaches and P-G scholastic sports staff members picked an “all-time” Fab 5, as well as a top 20. We’ll call the committee selections the “official” All-Time top 20. But the P-G also wondered what players the fans might think were the best? So, fans had the opportunity to vote for five players in an online poll. Fans were able select their top players, with no order of preference.
A total of 1,046 fans voted and Morton, a Purdue recruit, finished eighth in both fan voting and committee voting. Morton is only the third player to make the Fab 5 three times and is a two-time Post-Gazette Player of the Year. Former Schenley and Pitt star DeJuan Blair, another three-time Fab 5 selection, finished first in both the committee and fan voting. Blair was selected on 79.6% of the fan’s ballots. Chartiers Valley’s T.J. McConnell and Blackhawk’s Dante Calabria are two other players who finished in the top five fan in both the fan and committee voting.
Here are the top 10 players in fan voting, with the percentage of ballots they appeared on:
*Denotes a tie
Reporting: Mike White