The dream team: Pixar edition

CHRIS ARNESON, Evergreen columnist

As the Cougars men’s basketball season recently came to a halt during the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas, there is now enough time to ponder the important questions in life. These critical questions, along with frozen yogurt toppings, include which Pixar characters would make up the starting five of the WSU men’s basketball team.

Freshman guard Malachi Flynn would be Russell, more popularly known as the baseball-cap-wearing child from the film “Up.” Like Flynn, Russell is often surrounded by people older than him who seem to be making all of the crucial decisions. Unlike Russell, however, Flynn will be pushed to become an instant leader as four of five WSU starters will leave Pullman this year.

Senior guard Ike Iroegbu would be Dash from “The Incredibles,” who possesses super speed. Along with his solid passing ability and stifling one-on-one defense, Iroegbu’s top skill on the court is his blazing quickness. While Iroegbu may not be able to run on water like Dash, his baseline-to-baseline speed is better than most, and could even translate to the next level.

Senior guard Charles Callison would be Buzz Lightyear, the space ranger hero from “Toy Story” voiced by Tim Allen. When he was given an open lane to the basket, Callison was able to elevate and finish at the rim this season. Or as action figure Buzz Lightyear would say, “To infinity … and beyond.”

Senior forward Josh Hawkinson would be Bruce, the vegetarian great white shark from “Finding Nemo.” In an ironic twist in the movie, the enormous, smiling beast professes that “Fish are friends, not food.” Hawkinson feasted on some lesser adversaries who were farther down on the food chain this season as he averaged a double-double.

Senior center Conor Clifford would be Sulley, the colossal blue-and-purple monster voiced by John Goodman in “Monsters, Inc.” While children in the film are frightened of the horned creature, Sulley is a gentle brute who has won the award for “Best Scarer” multiple times. Clifford was never able to get going this season as he averaged under 20 minutes per game with less than three rebounds in his final season, perhaps scariest to the Cougars’ coaching staff.

As for head coach Ernie Kent, I think Lewis Black’s voicing of the character Anger from “Inside Out” best personifies how he feels about his team’s ninth place finish in conference play. While Anger complains about broccoli on pizza and other societal travesties, Kent is left to contemplate the direction of a basketball program that has not made the NCAA tournament for nine years.

Chris Arneson is a senior sports management major from Bothell. He can be contacted at [email protected].