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Big Ten Basketball: The Basil Smotherman All-Stars

Which Big Ten players sound most like they're about to wage war along the sea with Captain Jack Sparrow? Who sounds like a Downton Abbey extra? There are easy answers here.

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Yesterday, our own Matt Brown of SB Nation and your favorite Ohio State blog started coming up with the "All-British Royalty" Team in the Big Ten on Twitter. Given the absurdity of the comment, I obviously joined in and started discussing what Big Ten players we felt had the best likelihood to pass as a duke in Queen Elizabeth's merry brigade of royalty.

The first, and most obvious, choice here is freshman Basil Smotherman of Purdue. Sounding like a combination of the lead character in an E.L. Konigsberg novel and Austin Powers' trusty controller played by noted British actor Michael York, Smotherman is the only plausible namesake for our team. He's an undersized, hard-working freshman that brings a ton of energy to the court whenever he steps on it. Plus, he has the added benefit of being a lefty, which made this dunk against Rider look all the more impressive. The best part is that he'll most likely be a four-year player for Purdue, meaning we'll be able to create new All-Star teams every season due to his presence. He'll be the lifetime starting small forward for this squad.

The other members of the inaugural Basil Smotherman All-Stars for the Big Ten?

The starting lineup:

F: Nigel Hayes, freshman, Wisconsin: Man, the Big Ten really got classier this year with their incoming recruiting class's names. Nigel Hayes is unfortunately not the eccentric father of a Nickelodeon character -- although I do like to envision him yelling "smashing!" after every single made basket -- or the acerbically British judge of a reality dance television show. He is, however, a freshman forward out of Toledo that committed to Bo Ryan's squad over Ohio State in November 2012. He's also dropped at least 14 points in each of his last three games, so it looks like unfortunately Thad Matta missed out on an excellent opportunity to not only increase the name utility of his team, but also their severely lacking front line.

C: Nnanna Egwu, junior, Illinois: May I present Nnanna Egwu, son of Immaculata, African Prince of Nigeria. A center who comes from a family that preaches grades and school over basketball, Egwu is also a master of rejection. His 2.3 blocks per game are 3rd in the Big Ten, plus take a look at how royal he looks with glasses on. The guy looks like he's ready to create a rocket instead of propelling shots into the stands.

G: Graham Woodward, freshman, Penn State: He looks like he should still be in 8th grade, or at least be the British guitar player in a multinational music supergroup. Or he could be the son of knighted Sir Thomas John Woodward, known more colloquially by his stage name, Tom Jones. Graham Woodward kinda put a beating on Ohio State during Penn State's surprise victory, having the best game of his short career to this point with 11 points and three three-pointers. The only way this would have been acceptable is if he would have followed in Carlton's footsteps and done this dance to the tune of his illegitimate relative's song:


G: Kale Abrahamson, sophomore, Northwestern: Okay so this first name is probably a bit more yuppie Midwest than British royalty, but the guard position isn't deep. The only person I've ever heard of with the last name Abrahamson is Lenny, an Irish director who directed Michael Fassbender in a movie where he wears a paper mache head over his own head. It was at Sundance, it was as weird as you're envisioning apparently, and how this all connects to Kale Abrahamson I'm not sure. But between this and the existence of the vegetable kale, that has to be enough for him to be British Royalty, right?


C: Gabriel Olaseni, junior, Iowa: He's actually from London, so he's here by default. Plus he could legitimately win the NBA dunk contest.

F: Walter Pitchford, sophomore, Nebraska: His last name is literally taken from a small village in the English town of Shropshire. It's a working class community though, so he can't start.

G: Stanford Robinson, freshman, Indiana: Like Abrahamson, this one may be a bit more Upper East Side (seriously, how were no Gossip Girl characters named Stanford?!) than actually British. But hey all British royalty are rich anyway.

G: Amedeo Della Valle, sophomore, Ohio State: Hey, he's Italian. That's...kinda close to Britain. (okay, so really I just needed an Ohio State guy and he's the closest there is). Maybe Amedeo could become some sort of Italian shipping magnate that British royalty seems to marry?

Anyone else we forgot? Anyone more deserving of a spot on the Big Ten's Basil Smotherman All-Star team? You let us know.