Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/19/2007 03:49:00 PM
The Blog's All-First Weekenders
VCU's Eric Maynor buried Duke with the biggest shot of the tourney thus far.
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
It was Friday afternoon in Buffalo, near the conclusion of Virginia Commonwealth's closed practice at HSBC Arena, and Eric Maynor was describing to me his newfound fame. The sophomore guard measured this not by the size of the CBS audience for his first-round heroics against Duke, but by the bump in traffic on his Facebook page. "I went on the computer this morning, and I had 69 new messages," Maynor said, and then quizzed me excitedly. "And guess how many friend requests. Take a guess. 247!"
Maynor's Rams didn't make the Sweet 16, but he did earn a spot on the Blog's All-First Weekend Team, an honor that may or may not generate additional Facebook friends. The starting five is a mix of old standbys and those, like Maynor and UNLV's Wendell White, who were launched out of obscurity and into the national consciousness by their big-time performances. The All-First Weekend Team
G: Eric Maynor, Soph., VCU Stats: 8-of-16 shooting, 22 points, eight assists, three turnovers, three steals vs. Duke; 5-of-14 shooting, 14 points, eight assists, one turnover, three steals vs. Pitt
Macmain (they nicknamed him after a Lil' Wayne sidekick) saw his numbers take a dip on Saturday, but he did hit the sickest shot of the tournament thus far -- the game-winner against the Blue Devils -- and will undoubtedly be a part of the One Shining Moment montage.
G: Acie Law IV, Sr., Texas A&M Stats: 6-of-15 shooting, 20 points, six rebounds vs. Penn; 6-of-14 shooting (13-of-15 FTs), 26 points, four rebounds vs. Louisville
The Aggies escaped from an inhospitable environment on Law's back, as he gave the Cards' defense fits in Lexington, getting to the line for 15 free-throw attempts and making 13. "We have a point guard who has played at as high a level as I've seen a guy play," said A&M coach Billy Gillispie. "His leadership has gone out of the roof just like his game has."
F: Wendell White, Sr., UNLV Stats: 8-of-12 shooting, 19 points, eight rebounds against Georgia Tech; 8-of-12 shooting, 22 points, three rebounds vs. Wisconsin.
The Rebels list the 6-foot-6 White as a backcourt player, and he calls himself a "power guard," but in reality he's an Alando Tucker-type wing whose 66.7 percent shooting against the Yellow Jackets and Badgers makes him the most efficient offensive star of the dance. Had White kept the afro he wore last season, he'd be getting a lot more national love right now.
F: Tyler Hansbrough, Soph., UNC Stats: 9-of-11 shooting, 21 points, 10 rebounds vs. Eastern Kentucky; 10-of-17 shooting, 33 points, nine rebounds vs. Michigan State.
Pyscho T (or Spaz-bro, if you ask Wes Miller) ripped off his mask at the 12:33 mark of the first half against the ultra-physical Spartans -- and then went nuts on offense, putting up the second 30-point game of his career.
F: Kevin Durant, Fr., Texas Stats: 6-of-13 shooting (15-of-16 FTs), 27 points, eight rebounds vs. New Mexico State; 11-of-24 shooting, 30 points, nine rebounds vs. USC
The Longhorns went out with a whimper in the second round after Trojans guard Gabe Pruitt shut down Durant's freshman sidekick, D.J. Augustin. But Keb-Keb -- who was deprived of much-needed touches early in the USC game -- still turned in two monster performances in his one and only NCAA tournament.
Sixth Man: Nick Young, G/F, Jr., USC Stats: 5-of-13 shooting, 20 points, seven rebounds vs. Arkansas; 8-of-13 shooting, 22 points, seven rebounds vs. Texas
While Pruitt was the Trojans' hero on D, Young was the leader of a balanced scoring effort against Texas that saw all five USC starters finish in double-figures. He said he's never been to New Jersey, but he'll no doubt make some noise there.
Second Team: G: Aaron Brooks, Sr., Oregon G: A.J. Graves, Jr., Butler G/F: Derrick Byars, Sr., Vanderbilt F: Julian Wright, Soph., Kansas C: Roy Hibbert, Jr., Georgetown Sixth man: Ron Lewis, G/F, Sr., Ohio State Late addition: Virginia guard J.R. Reynolds -- a worthy All-Weekender -- was left off the original list. When you're embedded at first- and second-round sites, as I was in Buffalo and Chicago, it's possible for brilliant performances elsewhere to slip your mind. And what Reynolds did, with 54 points over two days, certainly qualifies as brilliant.
You've got the wrong Texas A&M guard on your team. Acie Law IV was great, but lock-down defensive specialist Dominique Kirk was spectacular; his 37 points on 61% FG shooting and 83% FT shooting came from nowhere to lead A&M to victory.
As a Jayhawk fan and a avid Big 12 watcher, Durant Choked when his team needed him. Most of his 30 pts against USC came late. Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers played much better and were more valuable to their team than Durant was.
Glad you added JR Reynolds. More impressive than the 54 points in two games is that 23 were in the first half against Albany, and he backed it off in the second half once UVA was up by 30. He had something like 22 in the first 15 minutes against Tennessee before spraining his ankle.
Luke, you obviously checked out the Texas A&M-Louisville game. So how did you leave Edgar Sosa off both of your teams? 31 points with 15 of 17 FTs, as a freshman? With the Stanford blowout, he had 47 points in his first two NCAA games, as a freshman.
Thank goodness you added J.R. Reynolds. All of us here in Charlottesville are sad to be out, but J.R. played his heart out (as did Sean Singletary), and hopefully Virginia will be back on the map for years to come.
I know the kid is lazy, but give Randolph Morris his due. Kansas fouled him constantly because even its double-teams couldn't stop him from scoring. Two solid double doubles in the first two rounds. He honestly looked like the best big man in the tournament.
First of all roy hibbert is one of the most overrated players in college basketball. Second, UNC played 16 seeded Eastern Kentucky and 9th seeded Michigan State. Hansbrough SHOULD have those kind of numbers.
Bottom line, neither of these players deserve to be on this list.
How can you leave out big man Randolph Morris of Kentucky who averaged 20 points and 9.5 rebounds a game-against Villanova and Kansas respectivly-if he returns Kentucky is one of the top teams in the nation if not were in for hell. First he drains the Tradition now drain him-"Drain the Tub"