The “Sweet 16” Playmakers

By Eric G Satterwhite

HoopsAddict.com’s most recent Mock Draft mentioned how NBA talent evaluators “lock-in” on end of game tournament performance as articulated by NBA Assistant Scouting Director Ryan Blake in our recent conversation. The NCAA tournament rolls on and we want to itemize some players who appear in our Mock Draft first round that overwhelmed the scrutiny test. Since HoopsAddict.com is popular on College campuses we are not neglecting so many excellent performances of the remaining sweet 16 teams just highlighting some clutch performances that players took to heart after surveying our last Mock Draft update.

9.3 Seconds
Greg Oden received his fifth foul with 9.3 seconds left and his Buckeyes trailing by 2 points. Prior to Oden receiving the foul to render him to the OSU bench permanently he was banging the offensive glass for a rebound in hopes of a put-back to make things even. Instead, Xavier’s Justin Cage grabbed the rebound and was immediately decked to the floor by Oden in the way that made Ohio State football Coach Jim Tressel salivate due to Oden’s perfect delivery of the forearm shiver. The symbolism of this play is tantamount. Oden protected his domain in the paint by planting an intruder, the vision of Xavier’s star player by his teammates being upended/floored with the rock in his hand zapped there heart, and the Buckeye squad recognizing that Oden sacrificed himself so they can play another day jumpstarted the focused finish OSU rewarded there Narnia Big Man for in the final seconds.

Oden did not lose his cool he just claimed what he takes as his every game he plays that the low post is his fiefdom. Oden stated this about the call that ended his afternoon, “I just look at that foul as, they’re going to call bull crap fouls,” Oden said. “I might as well get one that’s hard.” Buckeye Head Coach Thad Matta added Oden’s fifth foul was the kind of aggressive play that has turned the center into a collegiate force his first season.

Sometimes the message is not that obvious when controlled passion is quantified by the mental faculties of a basketball sage in harmony with his hoops brethren. Oden had this to say about what was to happen with 9.3 seconds left on the clock and the subsequent overtime, “I just knew that somebody was going to step up,” Oden said. “You never want to think negative.”

Ratio: 1 to 3
Former NBA Head Coach and current University of Southern California head coach Tim Floyd used an NBA style man-to-man defense against consensus National Player of the year Kevin Durant. Floyd, who toiled as Coach of the Bulls after Phil Jackson and followed Paul Silas in New Orleans, trapped and double teamed Durant anytime he caught the rock on the wing and played him straight-up for the jump shot when he had the pill at the top of the key. Texas reluctance to post up Durant and Durant’s contentment to play exclusively on the perimeter played into the Trojans defensive hand. Durant finished with 30 points yet on the collegiate level it was reminiscent of NBA stars getting there stats yet not good enough for team victory. Young Durant’s countenance at the final buzzer was filled with a “What else can I do” and “Wow it’s over” reality. The opinion here is Kevin Durant is moving on to the NBA yet collegiate basketball is all the better for the performance he shared for all to bear witness. One final note in two games Durant played 78 of 80 game minutes (NCAA rules are two 20 minute halves) and registered 2 assists to 6 turnovers.

As mentioned on our Kevin Durant profile he steps to the next phase when his playmaking skills evolve. Durant for all his superlatives signed out of NCAA tourney play with 1 assist to every 3 turnovers

All Sweet 16
It is a widely held perception that in tournament play the road to the Final Four is paved by outstanding backcourt play. If our All Sweet 16 teams by Region are any indication winning guard execution has spearheaded the best individual performances. Of the remaining teams, these players have stood out:

All Sweet 16 East Region:
F- Tyler Hansbrough North Carolina
G/F- Nick Young USC
F- Taj Gibson USC
F- Derrick Byars Vanderbilt
C- Roy Hibbert Georgetown

All Sweet 16 South Region
G- Acie Law IV Texas A&M
G- Mike Conley Ohio State
G- Chris Lofton Tennessee
G- Chris Douglas-Roberts Memphis State
G- Ron Lewis Ohio State

All Sweet 16 Midwest Region
F- Corey Brewer Florida
F- Al Horford Florida
G- A.J. Graves Butler
G- Aaron Brooks Oregon
G- Wendell White UNLV

All Sweet 16 West Region
G- Jamaal Tatum Southern Illinois
G- Mario Chalmers Kansas
C- Aaron Gray Pittsburgh
G- Darren Collison UCLA
F- Julian Wright Kansas

Top Coaching Performance: Thad Matta Ohio State

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