Two years ago, Eric Maynor had 22 points including the game winner when Virginia Commonwealth beat Duke in he first round of the NCAA Tournament. This year the senior is averaging 22 points and six assists per game, and he is the heart of the Colonial League champions.
And he is Darren Collison’s responsibility.
This could well be one of the better man-on-matchups through the entire NCAA tournament: The prolific and underrated point guard from the small school against maybe the best defensive point guard in the nation and the leader of the most storied of college basketball programs.
Maynor’s and Collison’s resumes look a lot alike — both play hard defense, both can both score or set up teammates, and both are three-year starters playing their senior season.
But their games are different. Maynor, at 6-3, is a few inches taller and is a physically stronger player than Collison. For Bruins fans this has the potential to be the ugly reminder of what Derrick Rose did to Collison in the Final Four. Maynor could be that hard to stop on dribble drives.
On the other end, Collison is much quicker than Maynor, giving him an advantage both on fast breaks and in the half court. Collison’s speed could get Maynor reaching and in foul trouble.
Collison also brings experience. Maynor has had some big games, but mostly plays against guys no NBA scout could name. Collison, through the Pac-10 and UCLA’s tough non-conference schedule (not to mention deep tournament runs the last three years) is used to playing against guys as good or better than him. He is used to the bright lights, the media attention, that is every day in his world.
And in the end, that experience could well be the difference.
Kurt Helin's crossover dribble was good enough to land him a desk job, from where he started Forum Blue & Gold.