Big Five guards still wowed by Iverson

Villanova's Darrun Hilliard drives past Marquette's Jake Thomas. Hilliard scored a career-high 26 points, including five three-pointers.          RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Villanova's Darrun Hilliard drives past Marquette's Jake Thomas. Hilliard scored a career-high 26 points, including five three-pointers.          RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Posted: March 06, 2014

After establishing a career high for points at the Wells Fargo Center for the second time in two seasons, Villanova guard Darrun Hilliard indicated that he liked playing on the same basketball court where Allen Iverson starred for the 76ers.

"A.I. was the man; that was my favorite player," said Hilliard, a junior from Bethlehem. "Seeing him go out there and being the smallest guy on the court and doing what he did with everything against him, it was something that I looked up to."

The 6-foot Iverson, who had his No. 3 retired Saturday night by the Sixers, energized a lot of youths who grew up during his time in the NBA, especially in his 10 seasons in Philadelphia from his rookie season of 1996-97 until his trade to Denver in 2006.

"He just gave it his all," said St. Joseph's guard Langston Galloway. "He played hard every night and left it all on the court, and that definitely left an impression on me."

The 6-foot-2 Galloway said he wore No. 3 on the court in his younger days, "and that was pretty much because of Allen Iverson." A native of Baton Rouge, La., he spent summers with relatives in the Philadelphia area before he came to St. Joseph's and "was able to see him play and embrace the history."

Iverson, a four-time NBA scoring champion, finished his career with 24,368 points. He last played in 2010 and officially announced his retirement last October but not before generating a bunch of memorable moments that will be seen forever on video.

Hilliard, who scored 26 points Sunday in Villanova's win over Marquette, said he remembered a couple of Iverson highlights, including the famed crossover move on Michael Jordan.

"I think one game, an overtime game against the Washington Wizards, he got a steal at the end of the game and won the game for them, or something like that," he said. "Of course, there was also that game against M.J. where he got him at the foul line.

"It was pretty cool seeing his number retired."

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