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The Glue Guys (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday February 20, 2007 11:13AM; Updated: Wednesday February 21, 2007 3:42PM
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Kyle Shiloh had aspirations of being the starting point guard at Nevada, but has embraced his role as shooting guard and a lockdown defender.
Kyle Shiloh had aspirations of being the starting point guard at Nevada, but has embraced his role as shooting guard and a lockdown defender.
Greg Nelson/SI
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While it's easy to see why Pearl is dreading Senior Night on Feb. 27, he plans to announce that evening he is personally endowing a scholarship in Bradshaw's name that will be given out annually to a Tennessee student-athlete who exemplifies the virtues Bradshaw brought to the program. "It may take a few years to endow it fully, but it will come out of my pocket and it will be enough to be around forever," Pearl says. "Dane embodies everything that is good about intercollegiate athletics. The only thing that's missing is he has yet to propose to marry my daughter. That, and his shooting percentage lately."

Alas, there is no cash prize for being named captain of SI's All-Glue Team. Just a salute from the committee for a sticky job well done.

Here are the rest of the 2006-07 honorees, followed by the complete list of the seven previous All-Glue teams:

Kyle Shiloh, 6-3, Sr., G, Nevada

It's a good thing Shiloh turned out to be such a good player because Wolf Pack coach Mark Fox missed the birth of his daughter, Olivia, to recruit him. The Bakersfield, Calif., native came to Nevada in hopes of being the team's starting point guard, but after the school brought in Ramon Sessions, Shiloh accepted a switch to shooting guard. Fox, who says Shiloh is "as complete a guard as we've had here," has often complained Shiloh has been left off the WAC's All-Defensive team as voted on by the coaches, even though he was selected in a unanimous survey by his own teammates as the Pack's top defender.

In particular, Shiloh has been a one-man nemesis for Utah State's Jaycee Carroll, who is one of the WAC's top scorers but has frequently scored well under his average against Shiloh, including a seven-point performance (on 2 of 10 shooting) in last year's WAC tournament final. Though Shiloh has worked hard to turn himself into a 41.3 percent shooter from three-point range (up from 21.6 percent his sophomore year), he is only averaging 9.7 points per game because he knows the team doesn't need him to shoot that much. This season, Shiloh and Nick Fazekas became part of the winningest class in school history. Fazekas may be remembered as the star of that class, but Shiloh was the glue. It takes both to win that many games.

Dominique Kirk, 6-3, Jr., G, Texas A&M

It's obvious the entire program has launched a PR-blitz with the specific intention of getting Kirk onto this prestigious list. "He's a glue guy, he's a tough guy, he's a guy who never has a bad day in his life," coach Billy Gillispie said in December. "He's the glue for this team," senior center Antanas Kavaliauskas said in January.

The best advertisement, however, has come on the court, where Kirk has repeatedly locked down the Big 12's best offensive players while posting a 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and sinking a respectable 36.8 percent from three-point range. Before Gillispie offered Kirk a scholarship four years ago, Kirk had received exactly one Division I offer -- from Liberty. Yet, Gillispie made Kirk a starter as a freshman because he noticed Kirk kept beating everyone in preseason conditioning drills. If he doesn't get hurt, Kirk will set a school record for consecutive starts.

Stories written about Kirk tend to mention his habit of answering every question with a "yes, sir" and "no, sir." Gillispie also says Kirk is the first one to thank the bus driver when the Aggies hit the road. When it comes to describing his role on this team, Kirk also says the right things. "My role is the glue guy," he says. "I try to keep everybody together." For that, he also deserves some thanks.

Othello Hunter, 6-9, Jr., F, Ohio State

What, you didn't know Ohio State had another big guy besides Greg Oden? If you're a Big Ten coach who has had to scout the Buckeyes, you certainly know about Hunter, who gives Ohio State a physical presence that perfectly complements Oden inside.

This is only Hunter's fourth year of organized basketball, so his offense is behind his defense (he is averaging just 6.7 points per game). Still, his 5.3 rebounds per game is extremely impressive for a guy who is playing less than 19 minutes a night. He is also making 58.1 percent of his field goals and 74.5 percent of his free throws.

When opposing teams try to double- and triple-team Oden, Hunter can give the Buckeyes a lift, such as when he contributed 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks in a Jan. 2 win over Indiana. A transfer from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Hunter specializes in defending the post and working the defensive glass. Those skills will come in especially handy during the NCAA tournament when Oden goes to the bench. "Guys don't know me," Hunter has said. "They think, 'Well, he's just another basketball player so we'll double Greg and leave him open.'" Sorry to let the secret out, Othello, but Glue Guys deserve to be known, too.


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