Unveiling the 2018 Mid-Major Madness All-Name teams

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s August, which means only one thing: It’s Finalized College Basketball Roster Season.

This is the time of year where rosters finally take shape. Aside from walk-on and practice player tryouts, the majority of college basketball rosters are set as athletes report to school. Legions of SIDs, public relations departments and various athletics department interns are busy filling in personal bios, editing team photos and updating rosters on their respective team sites as we speak.

Like any reasonable sports blogger, I scoured the ever-so-helpful scholarship tables on Verbal Commits in search of the best names in mid-major basketball. But as I was compiling candidates for the best of the best names in mid-major basketball, five categories (or genres of names, if you will) emerged. I knew I needed to bring these fantastic names to light instead of making a hard-and-fast “Top Ten Mid-Major Basketball Player Names” listicle.

So let’s get to it. But be prepared: These names might make you incredibly jealous and/or irked that your parents named you something rather average like “Kyle” instead of, say, “Ferron Flavors, Jr.”

Awesome Alliteration

Name Team
Name Team
Chuck Champion Loyola MD
Frankie Ferrari San Francisco
Jazz Johnson Nevada
Pauly Paulicap Manhattan
Siler Schneider UC Davis

Don’t ignore those 12th-grade English class flashbacks: Alliteration is good. Thus, alliterative names are especially fantastic because repeated consonant sounds make names rhythmic and easy to roll off the tongue.

These names are no exception. The thing that separates these five names from the pack, however, is the high-quality first names. Jazz and Siler are incredibly unique choices, whereas Chuck, Frankie and Pauly are timeless. The alliteration created by their last names is an added bonus.

Names That Are Also Adjectives

Name Team
Name Team
Allin Blunt UMass-Lowell
David Favorite Colgate
Pervis Louder Air Force
Unique McLean Massachusetts
Innocent Nwoko Central Michigan

Imagine receiving a holiday card from the Blunts, Favorites or Louders. I hope their families have some fun with their wonderful last names, because that would rule.

One personal note: Whenever I see “innocent,” I think of my colleague Chris Schutte tweeting someone’s innocence (usually in all-caps). I look forward to him tweeting about Nwoko if the Chippewas get into a rather tense MAC showdown.

Names That Are Also Things

Name Team
Name Team
Channel Banks Akron
Koch Bar Bradley
McKay Cannon BYU
Tyler Cheese Akron
Maurice Commander Chattanooga

I just realized Channel Banks and Tyler Cheese play for the Akron Zips. That’s too many good names in one program. I mean, think of the play-by-play phrases like “Banks made three (assisted by Cheese)” that will be used this season. It’s unfair.

Notable Nicknames

Name Team
Name Team
Rodney "Rocket" Henderson Cal State Northridge
Cuyler "Stuckey" Mosley James Madison
Lorenzo "Shabooty" Phillips Longwood
RaShawn "Pookie" Powell La Salle
Daron "Fatts" Russell Rhode Island

Having a cool nickname is one of the rarest achievements in life. For starters, nicknames aren’t always flattering. I’ve never had cool nicknames; most have either been botched attempts at pronouncing my name, or involve boring, personal anecdotes. Of course, any schmuck like me can wake up one morning and decide to be called “Rocket,” but everyone knows that giving yourself a nickname is lame.

Perhaps I’m a little jealous of these five athletes, who have some of the best nicknames around. I cannot wait to watch Rodney “Rocket” Henderson play in the Big West this year, and I hope he’s one of the best players in the conference based on his name alone. With a nickname like “Rocket,” you’re bound to be good (or quick, which is also good, to me).

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind everyone that Mid-Major Madness is a Fatts Russell blog. Prepare accordingly.

God-Tier Names

Name Team
Name Team
Thik Bol Southern Illinois
Sadarius Bowser Charleston Southern
Amen "A.J." Cheeseman MD Eastern Shore
Jesús Cruz Fairfield
Ferron Flavors Jr. Cal Baptist
Javon Freeman-Liberty Valparaiso
Jon Axel Gudmundsson Davidson
Alpha Okoli St. Bonaventure
Hunter Seacat Appalachian State
Denmark Slay II High Point

These are the best names in mid-major basketball. Don’t even think about @-ing me.

As I scoured the depth charts on Verbal Commits to research (term used lightly) this article, I asked myself three questions: “Is this name good,” “Can I list one specific, good thing about this name,” and, most importantly, “Would I trade names with this athlete?” All 10 names passed this test with flying colors. Some were kick-ass, some were clever and some, dare I say, graced perfection.

Imagine being born into the Bowser, Seacat or Slay families. All three names are incredibly kick-ass, and I would imagine anyone with those last names carries immense family pride for being the latest addition in a decorated lineage of Bowsers, Seacats and Slays. Not only that, imagine being Denmark Slay the second or Ferron Flavors, Junior; the fact that multiple people have had these wonderful names is fantastic.

Or imagine having an incredibly clever name like Jesús Cruz or Javon Freeman-Liberty. I don’t have to spell out why these names made the cut.

But if I had to choose a top three, I’d choose Alpha Okoli, Thik Bol or Amen “A.J.” Cheeseman as the best names in mid-major basketball. I’d legally change my name to any of these in a heartbeat. Thanks to their parents’ excellent name choices, I will be rooting for these three players next season.

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