Round 1: #1 Emeka Okafor vs. #16 Edmund Saunders

Emeka Okafor vs. Edmund Saunders

#1 Emeka Okafor – (2001-2004)
by Peter Bard

Emeka Okafor and I were freshmen at UConn at the same time, though he gained notoriety a bit faster than I. My most-told stories about Okafor were the time he walked past me in the cafeteria while I read a magazine that featured him on the cover, and the time he walked through my dorm building in West to see the on-duty RA while Dick Vitale was talking about him on my television. It was a rather surreal experience for me, having grown up feeling like UConn players were legitimately famous stars.
In Okafor’s case, though, he really was a star. Despite being robbed of the 2004 National Player of the Year award, Okafor was the best player in the country, and the best player on (I believe) the best UConn team ever. Opponents had to game-plan for Okafor at both ends of the floor, with his shot-blocking dominance starting a run in which UConn led the NCAA in blocks per game every season for nearly a decade.
Due to lingering back injuries, Okafor’s college dominance didn’t exactly translate to the NBA, though he has had several very strong seasons. Despite this, his UConn legacy is secure as one of the all-time great.

Career Points: 1426

Career Rebounds: 1091

Career Assists: 81

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Career Steals: 91

Career Blocks: 441


UConn all-time leader in blocks
UConn all-time leader in blocks/game
1,000 point club
1,000 rebound club
Member of 2004 National Championship team
1st Team All American 2003-2004
1st Team Big East 2002-2003, 2003-2004
3rd Team Big East 2001-2002

#16 Edmund Saunders – (1998-2001)
by Meghan Bard

Connecticut native Edmund Saunders played forward for UConn from 1998 to 2001, and was a member of the first NCAA Championship team. Saunders, who is currently an assistant coach at Post University in his hometown of Waterbury, went undrafted in 2001.

Career Points: 760

Career Rebounds: 778

Career Assists: 93

Career Steals: 93

Career Blocks: 55


Member of 1999 National Championship Team

A-Z Tourney: Round 2 -- G vs. K

  • Team G (94%, 119 Votes)
  • Team K (6%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 127

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  1. It was me. And I do not apologize. He was always a favorite, and I don’t even know why. Plus, look at those career assist numbers vs. Okafor, it’s a runaway!

    Even the 16 seed has to score a few points, right?

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