The All-Handsome Team had humble beginnings. Just a joke in a dorm room, like so many others before it. But the AHT refused to die there. It returned and grew each year, taking root in our hearts.
From an inside-joke to a mention on Grantland to its debut here at Palestra Back. It could have stopped there, but the All-Handsome Team means more than that, damn it. Many posts here at PB come and go with little fanfare. The All-Handsome team did the opposite. It sparked debate, discussion, lust, and love. It’s risen to the second most popular post in this site’s history. But then something beyond pageviews occurred:
That’s right. We got an email from a guy’s mom. Specifically, 2015 All-Handsome nominee (and Georgia State guard) Corey Tobin’s mom.
I was blown away! We were making a difference in the world (not really). Changing people’s lives (nope). Bringing hope to the hopeless! (maybe?)
Then things got taken up another notch.
Yes. A member of the All-Handsome team was made aware of his place on the team. Before Max Heller found his way to Palestra Back, the All-Handsome Team was quite possibly the greatest honor in sports that the recipients know nothing about. But now, we’ve entered a new era.
Now, the All-Handsome team makes its triumphant return. Three of the five starters from last year’s squad have graduated or moved on to the NBA. Who could possibly step into the suave shoes of a Justise Winslow or the Ivy League cardigan of Wesley Saunders or god forbid…the perfectly flipping and flowing hair of Kevin Pangos? Another March is here, which means a parade of new hunks, studs, and beauties. New smiles. New biceps. New jawlines.
A new All-Handsome Team. Let’s get to it.
As a reminder, here’s our committee:
Shane: That’s me!
Stan: Palestra Back contributor and assistant editor (he finds my typos)
Eddie: 5-time All-Handsome Team voter, Tom Brady disciple
Kevin: All-Handsome Team co-founder, lover of forearm muscles and hockey hair
Emily: My fianceé, obviously a strong judge of handsome
We start with players who made last year’s team and have returned for more hunkery this year, specifically the man who has most recently stolen my heart.
Thomas Walkup, SFA
Shane: Dear God.
Last year, Walkup made the squad but had some doubters. He responded by getting insanely cut, turning his beard from unruly facial hair to the kind of beard cool guys have in 2016, and coming mere seconds away from a trip to the Sweet 16. Guys with that haircut should not be playing lockdown defense against a top 10 team, but that didn’t stop Thomas. The guy is a cold-blooded American hunk who will either sneak onto an NBA roster or head overseas to woo the women of Europe with his Texas charm. I give him a thumbs up!
Eddie: He should shave. I really don’t know what else to say. Last year I dropped a hilarious pun about him walking up my front steps any day or something to that effect but honestly, I am a year older and a year wiser now and if he can’t see that what he has under that beard is better than the beard itself, I have no time for him. #SecondThoughtDud
Stan: I’ve spent about 20 minutes trying to think of a way to defend the egregious lapse of judgement last year declaring Walkup a #dud, and I simply cannot. While I agree Tommy Boy stepped his game up this year, he was a clear choice last year. Thomas Walkup is what March Madness is all about. We are all Thomas Walkup (but far less handsome).
Emily: Holy shoulders! Those puppies are ripped. Plus, not a lot of basketball players can pull off a beard and he’s doing so with ease. Playing for the Lumberjacks and looking like a perfect lumberjack. An improvement over last year.
Eddie: I guess I am on my own here. Unless…Kevin?!?!?!?
Kevin: Said it last year and I’ll say it again this year with authority. DELTS ON DELTS. Kid does not skip his shoulder circuits and I’m lovin’ it. Beards are in Eddie, and I am in on Walkup.
Eddie: And I’m on my own…Dare I call myself Mr. Lonely?
Malcolm Brogdon, UVA
The 2016 ACC Player of the Year was a unanimous selection last year and rightfully so. Look at him: very handsome!
But then something happened. The rest of his teammates, namely London Perrantes and Anthony Gill, decided to have some hair related fun. London went for the skyscraper look, Anthony for the stormy ocean option. Both look ridiculous.
Now Malcolm isn’t silly. He didn’t try to keep up with his ‘mates, but he did do something.
It’s not 2004, Malcolm. Put that caterpillar back at the Dave Matthews concert where you found it.
I’d probably say he still makes the team, but this is a Howard Dean level gaffe. It’s like he doesn’t even want this!
Eddie: The facial hair is a big time no-no, Malcolm. Your greatest appeal is that you look like a real sweetheart when you flash a smile. The chin hair takes away that warm-hearted feeling and just leaves me creeped out. Shave up and I will bring you back but for now I have to go with #PoorDecisionDud
Stan: As someone who has tried to grow facial hair numerous times to varying degrees of failure, I can’t fault Malcolm here. Facial hair is hot in the streets right now. The ladies love it, guys respect it, and ol’ Broggy Pants wanted in on the action. He still has a politician’s smile and warm, inviting eyes that you just wanna go grab a cup of coffee with. He does enough to stay on the squad.
Emily: Great smile. Seems happy go-lucky, but needs to lose the chin candy if he wants to hold on to that politician polish he had last year.
Kevin: Malcolm can play on my handsome squad any day of the week, with or without the chin mustache. That stern look on his face just works and he backs it up with a killer smile. Gotta have it.
Max Heller, Oregon
Shane: Max was one of our token benchwarmers on the team last year and we were happy to have him. He found last year’s post and was a great ambassador for the All-Handsome brand.
But there’s an elephant in the room this year. Oregon is a much better team and has gotten a lot more attention from us and the national media and casual fan. That being said, there’s been more Max Heller in our lives, but also a lot more Oregon as a whole. The problem there: Max might not be the most handsome guy on the Ducks. He might not even be second! Once we move on from the holdovers from last year, we’ve got two other Ducks, both of whom see big minutes on the floor and on the TV broadcast. Does that hurt Heller? Or are we only concerned with #faces and #bods?
Eddie: Once a dweebus always a dweebus. Sorry Maxy boy! #DUD
Stan: He’s cute, he’s just not handsome. Depending on the competition this year, his spot could be in jeopardy.
Emily: Wait, Max read last year’s post? Oh, then he’s definitely handsome and should continue to read Palestra Back and share with his friends!
Kevin: Close but no cigar this year for Maxy. If you are not like me and do not follow Max on twitter you maaaay want to give his pic a quick click. Preeeetty preeeeeeetty pretttttyyyy good. But not quite enough to keep up with the competition this year. Plus I have to admit he’s trying a bit too hard with that hairdo this time around. Solid player, but no starter on the squad.
Casey Benson, Oregon
Shane: Might be the best picture Casey Benson’s ever taken or will ever take, but I don’t care. The fog, the lighting, an Oregon uniform that isn’t laughably ridiculous. He can point guard my team.
Eddie: Eh. That number on top of the team name is a total turn off, but I can’t just focus on his chest. His face is up there. I am going with mediocre here. There is nothing special. Nothing particularly attractive. To me, he looks just like that unmemorable guy your friend brings to a party or bar. You meet him, and it’s like yeah, he’s a guy that exists, but I probably won’t care if I ever see him again. #BoringDud
Stan: I can’t believe I am saying this, but I think I agree with Eddie. There’s nothing special here. Just your vanilla, run of the mill white guy at the end of the bench. I read his name and it reminded me of Ben Carson. That guy is somethin’, huh?
Shane: End of the bench? Casey B. starts and played 29 minutes per night. Very un-Ben Carson like, unless we’re talking about how much he stole the show in the Matt Damon-Greg Kinnear movie Stuck on You.
Stan: I barely watch sports.
Emily: He looks very angular (Editor’s note: What?). I like the look of his neck in this picture, but after a quick Google search, this photo looks like a much older and more mature Casey Benson than usual. Maybe he perfected his look. It takes everyone a little time to hit the right notes.
Kevin: I agree with Em. He put on his best Blue Steel for this pic and it is magical. But unfortunately that was lightning in a bottle for Casey Benson. I’m out.
Ryan Luther, Pitt
Shane: He’s a good looking guy with a great body, but there’s more to this story. HE’S A TWIN!
Is the twin also handsome? He plays for Elon and…it’s debatable. Thankfully Elon did not qualify for the tournament so we don’t need to worry about hard feelings around the Luther family dinner table. In my book, Ryan is in.
Eddie: Maybe I am just too harsh this year but I just exclaimed, “What is this Shane?! None of these guys are attractive” to nobody in particular. I am legitimately offended. Anyways, Ryan Luther isn’t good looking. He has a stupid face. I don’t like it at all. His brother is better looking in my opinion because he’s got a better haircut for what they are working with. #Dud #StepItUpMcNichol
Stan: This guy is definitely a #stud. That’s the kinda jaw line that you’d expect to see underneath Batman’s mask, just don’t ask Ryan Luther’s cousin, Lex! (I’ll see myself out)
Emily: He’s gone through a couple different haircuts, but always looks pretty good. Seems to tan nicely and pull off the Laguna Beach vibe. He’s a winner!
Kevin: Ryan looks like the bad boy athlete that his girlfriend’s parents hated to see walk through the front door. Mom gets it because he’s so handsome, but Dad would never let the guy call him Dad, EVEN IF THERE’S A FIRE! Let me tell ya something, this kid IS fire and he’s in!
Wayne Selden and his beautiful eyeballs, Kansas
Shane: NOT PHOTOSHOPPED! Damn, Wayne. Those are some cool ass eyes. They look like lakes filled with Sprite, dreams, and freedom.
Eddie: Alrighty. Step in the right direction. The moustache is not wonderful but you know, you’re only in college so congratulations Wayne, the benefit of the doubt is yours. As someone with what most would call breathtaking eyes I can appreciate a nice set of peepers. No single part of my body has received more female attention than my eyeballs and that’s a fact. Perhaps that is why old ladies seem to love me. So Wayne, if you’re looking for an eyeball buddy out on the town some night give me a call. #EyeSpyWithMyLittleEyeAStud
Shane: Eddie, that’s simply not true. We both know the ladies love your milky smooth forearms.
Eddie: Yeah but those take more time to get to and they have to be earned. The eyes are right there for the taking.
Stan: I have no idea what Selden looks like cause I’m always so damn lost in those eyes. Chalk up this Jayhawk as a #stud.
Emily: The eyes are clearly insanely beautiful, and he was probably such a cute child. Most girls are falling for those eyes in a heartbeat.
Kevin: Yes, yes yes. The kid is a #stud and he knows it. He throws fastballs and only fastballs but you still can’t hit it. Cheddar.
Collin Hartman and Max Bielfedlt, Indiana
Shane: First off, let me say that these are not the best pictures of these two guys, but there was no way we could pass up sepia tone glamour shots. Do some Googling or click these links I’m adding here for a real idea of their handsomeness.
Secondly, these two need a handsome themed Splash Brothers-style nickname. Easy on the IU’s? HooiserHunks? The Handsome Twosome? Give me your thoughts but also throw out an idea for us.
Eddie: Nothing beats an old west style mugshot to get the blood flowing. Well, let’s start this off right by saying Max is what the All-Handsome team is all about. Good hair, solid scruff and the smile to charm the pants off a nun. Minus points though, for leaving Michigan for Indiana. I guess it makes sense though. At Michigan, handsome men are always going to be compared to Tom Brady and quite frankly, nobody can stand up to that pressure.
Collin is good enough. I will let him on my team. #TeammateStuds
Kevin: In on Max, who set the Hoosier squat record at 410 lb – short shorts are making a comeback and this guy should be the poster boy. Collin needs another year for his handsomeness to get to the next level. He’s putting in a solid effort but it’s not quite enough this time. Lose an L, gain some LBs and come talk to me.
Eddie: Nice call on that extra ‘L’ Kev. That thing is no good. Get it out of here!
Shane: Look at Kev, doing research about weight lifting habits. Kevin never skips “learning if a guy skips leg day.”
Stan: Max is giving me some serious Bradley Coops vibes. Collin looks like Mike Halbach. I don’t know if Steven Avery is innocent, but I do know that Collin is not handsome. In on Max, out on Collin.
Emily: They kind of look like cast members from the movie Hoosiers, which I think is a compliment? They are both handsome, in different ways. I wonder if they are friends off the court. A real Dynamic Duo.
Melo Trimble and Tyler Dorsey, Maryland and Oregon
Shane: These two look alike, right? It’s not just the hair, right? RIGHT? I’M NOT CRAZY!
But are they handsome?
Eddie: They do look alike. You are not crazy. You are crazy if you think they are handsome though. Pass! #NoThankYouDuds
Emily: I do think they look alike, but no thanks to the haircut. BUT (capital letters) with a trip to the barber, they definitely belong on the team.
Kevin: I like Melo. He’s Tyler 2.0 in my opinion and is a #studmuffin. Thanks to Google and my 20/15 vision, I know that Tyler has braces. And for that reason, I’m out.
Stan: While the similarities are undeniable, I think Melo is far more suave. That being said, neither is blowing me away. With stiff competition this year, I don’t think either makes my squad.
Jack Salt, UVA
Shane: He’s a giant blonde man from New Zealand! OY JACK SALT, MATE! VERY HANDSOME! SMOILES LOIKE A YOUNG JOEY BAYCK IN ITS MAHTHERS POUYCH!
Eddie: Woah Shane! New Zealanders will not appreciate you assuming they are the same as Australians. They aren’t. They have a different accent, and unpopular opinion alert, it’s way better.
Also I do not feel comfortable commenting on this massive child’s attractiveness. He is 12 and that is not alright where I come from. #TooYoungDud
Emily: Jack has a lot going for him. The accent. The tall. The blond. A little athletic ability. He checks a lot of boxes. A rare breed.
Kevin: Who knew Veruca Salt had a little brother? Eddie, don’t wait for Jack to get and look older, he wants to be on the squad nooooooow. Sorry Jack, not today.
Stan: Emily used tall as a noun. It’s throwing me off so much, I can’t properly assess Jack’s handsomeness. I think that says more about Jack than it does about Emily’s grammar. Out.
Anthony Dallier, Yale
Shane: He’s the kind of handsome that plays the rich guy’s friend in a movie (Dan Akroyd’s squash buddies in Trading Places, Bradley Cooper’s chums in Wedding Crashers, etc.). He’s like a senator’s nephew. He’d blame you if your windshield got in the way of his Titleist. He looks like he’d laugh if he heard anyone order a steak cooked more than medium rare.
Eddie: His unabashed jackass look turns me right off. Hard pass. #Harvard>Yale
Kevin: He WOULD be the guy to wear number 1 and go to Yale. His girlfriend is probably a sweetheart and I’m sure he volunteers to help those less fortunate in his spare time. He probably also likes the smell of his own farts, and we have no room for fart-smellers on the All Handsome Team. Out on Anthony.
Stan: I have an unreasonable hatred for this human given the fact that I didn’t know he existed until just this second, and know nothing about his life other than his smug, smushed face. It took me a few seconds to even realize he went to Yale, because I just saw red as my blood started to boil. Couldn’t be more out on Tony.
Emily: He’s more attractive after a deep Google. Anthony’s tried a few different hairstyles, including a long haired number that reminded me of a young Stan. Take that however you’d like.
Stan: For those of you keeping score at home, this is now the second year in a row Emily has directly insulted me in this post. I am starting to get the impression Emily thinks I’m a big time #dud
Wade Baldwin IV, Vanderbilt
Shane: He’s handsome. Plain and simple. Were Wade Baldwin I through Wade Baldwin III also handsome? That’s not our concern, but I’m not betting against it.
Eddie: Definitely handsome. And that name makes him sound so accomplished. I can see unwinding with Master Wade Baldwin IV in the grand ballroom at his mansion. Just the two of us in smoking jackets sipping down a bottle of single malt scotch and crushing some cigars. What a dream. #SophisticatedStud
Stan: Now that is a symmetrical face! Symmetry is the name of the handsome game, people forget that. Speaking of names, his certainly adds to the total package. Between the name and attending Vanderbilt, you’d think this kid would be on a yacht somewhere charging mimosas to his parents’ credit card. But no, he’s in the tournament and NBA bound. Gotta respect that chutzpah (I am not entirely sure what that means).
Emily: Amazing. He really is so symmetrical! The only thing different about his right and left sides is the vein in his right bicep, and I’m not complaining! A real winner. He’s going to make a lady very happy someday. (Plus, a great name!)
Kevin: Wade is one of those guys that is so handsome you just know he would take care of your family. I’d gladly have Wade Baldwin V and I’m not afraid who knows it.
Chris Stowell, Miami
Shane: He’s going for the gold with the pose here, though I’m not sure I’m ready to oblige. Living in Miami probably does wonders for his tan and fashion options. Is that enough? I only care about how he looks in the arena.
Eddie: Not even for one second am I going to pretend Chris is attractive. He’s just weird looking and I have no time for him. #Dud
Stan: This guy looks like the kid in 4th grade who would try to trade you a banana for your Fruit Roll Up. You can’t trust that kid. I don’t like anything about this guy. The fake intense screaming face, the middle school hair, the little chicken legs. This kid is a hard no.
Emily: This picture is frightening. Surprisingly, he’s more attractive from short distance than from far away. That’s pretty rare.
Eddie: Come on Emily! Be critical. Attack these guys. Tear them apart. Everyone can’t have some positive quality. I want to hear from Shane that we made somebody cry! (Looking at you Max Heller)
Kevin: I can see cute, fun, nice, but not handsome. Sorry, dude.
Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
Shane: Do you guys mind if Stan and I have a sidebar real quick?
(whisper) stan i don’t think they are going to let us sneak ulis onto the team. I mean we love him and his smile is the best and hes adorable but they wont buy it as handsome.
Stan: This is my hill to die on! Loyalty to Ulis always, Loyalty to the All-Handsome Committee when it is deserved! Give me Tyler Ulis, or give me death!
Shane: i thought we were whispering
Eddie: Have faith Shane! Tyler is in. And it is the smile. And he is adorable and you know what, sometimes that is just what you need. A nice, adorable fellow to give you a smile and make you feel like everything is going to work out. I would love to watch a movie with Tyler.
Stan: Oh, word. That was easier than I thought.
Emily: He looks very young. Makes it hard to judge his handsomeness.
Kevin: Cutie McCutiepie. If handsomely adorable is a thing (which I declare it to be because I have my PHD in Handsome and can say whatever I want so BACKOFFF), then Tyler can lace them up for our squad.
The Champ: Tony Bennett
The Challenger: Matt McCall (Chattanooga)
Shane: Apologies to Jay Wright, who lost to Tony Bennett last year. Come at the king, you best not miss. So this year, let’s go one on one, champ versus new kid. McCall is cute for now, but c’mon. Tony Bennett? Does anyone do it better?
THEY DO NOT.
Emily: Men age so well. Tony Bennett’s better looking now than he was as a professional athlete!
I’m loving pictures of Matt McCall’s family, but is that a factor? The two have different looks. Matt is more welcoming and attainable. Tony has the salt-and-pepper, distinguished style.
Eddie: (Pre blurb side note – I definitely thought Tony Bennett was Jay Wright last year. Oops) He sure is Emily. Just like I said last year (when thinking I was writing about Jay Wright), it’s all about the hair. Bennett’s salt and pepper look evokes all the warm fuzzy feelings I get when Clooney pops onto my movie screen. Now if he has the same glorious sound of calm and control that Clooney has in his voice, any high school basketball player who doesn’t go play for him is dead to me.
McCall is fine. There is some Joseph Gordon-Levitt in there, a slice of Wes Welker and just a dash of Gosling. Still can’t beat out a Clooney clone. That’s right JGL, Wes Welker and Ryan Gosling. Do your best. Combine your greatest features. You still aren’t Clooney!
Kevin: Shane, stop the fight! Please! This isn’t fair! That would be like putting Gosling in Remember the Titans vs. Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven. Wait, Ocean’s Eleven came out fifteen years ago? God, we’re getting old. Hopefully we can all take a page out of Tony Bennett’s book and magically get better looking with age.
Stan: This is Tony’s award until he hangs up the ol’ clipboard. He’s clearly only getting better with age. The only way he’d lose this title would be from a criminal case of voter fatigue. Well tickle me not fatigued. Not now, not ever.
Coach: Tony Bennett
Guard: Wade Baldwin IV
Guard: Thomas Walkup
Guard: Wayne Selden
Guard: Malcolm Brogdon
Forward: Ryan Luther
Bench: Collin Hartman, Max Beilfeldt, Tyler Ulis
We’re going with a four guard lineup, but that’s par for the course. Handsome big men don’t grow on trees. Maybe next year Jack Salt can add a little size to the lineup.
Honestly, despite the lack of size, that team reaches the Sweet Sixteen. On looks alone.
What do you think readers? Who did we miss?
Header Image via USA Today Sports
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to SALTMoney.org, Rush The Court, ESPN.com, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain. If you have any suggestions, tips, ideas, or questions, email them to email@example.com.