Saturday, March 28, 2009

Magnificent Seven: 7 Players that have impressed me in the NCAA Tournament

Welcome to the first edition of a new recurring feature on my blog: The Magnificent Seven. This will be a feature where I list seven people or things that have impressed me. It's not a top seven list, it's merely a, "These things/people are currently magnificent in this category" kind of list. Why did I choose to go with seven? Two reasons, 1. Magnificent Nine doesn't sound right at all, and 2. This guy...

Now keep in mind, I am a college basketball fan for about one month of every year. My fanship begins with conference tournament week, reaches it's height during the NCAA tournament, and disappears immediately after the national title game. So with that said, understand that I did not watch a single college basketball game from November through February, so all of my insight comes from the games I have watched and followed since the tournament began. I am far from a college roundball expert, but here in no particular order is my magnificent seven list of college basketball players that have impressed me this month.

The Magnificent Seven:

Hasheem Thabeet - Center - University of Connecticut: At 7'3" at 263 pounds, he is quite a monster. He affects every shot on the inside even if he isn't around the bucket. He has perhaps the coolest name in college basketball, and he has gotten his team to the Final Four, so there's a lot to like. Although he plays for a team that is easy to dislike, he is compelling to watch. Although something has to be done about those dirty dishwater UConn uniforms, those are painful to watch they are so ugly.

DeJuan Blair - Forward - University of Pittsburgh: This guy has been my favorite player to watch in the tournament. His motor is amazing, he just keeps on trying and making plays even when they seem impossible. There were some rebounds he made and shots he got to go down in the sweet sixteen game against Xavier that were created with strength, power and will. I was impressed.

Cole Aldrich - Center - University of Kansas: I actually hadn't watched Kansas until they played against Michigan State in the sweet sixteen, but I had heard of Aldrich's triple double against Dayton in the second round. Thirteen points, twenty rebounds, and ten blocks is very impressive for any college player, but then when I was watching KU take on the Spartans, I realized for the first time that he was white. I know that shouldn't matter, but I would have bet any amount of money that he was a black guy when I heard people talk about him over the past week. That shocking revelation was enough to get me to put him in my magnificent seven.

Eric Maynor - Guard - Virginia Commonwealth University: This may seem like an odd choice. His team lost in the first round, and he missed the shot at the buzzer that would have won the game against UCLA. The way he led his team and the way he almost made it happen for VCU against a team that had been to the Final Four in each of the past three seasons stuck with me for some reason. I really liked him, and hoped he would win. His last second miss remains one of the most exciting moments of this tournament to me.

Blake Griffin - Forward - University of Oklahoma: Duh. This guy is the consensus choice for the number one overall pick in this year's NBA draft. There is a reason for that. This guy is ridiculous. He is averaging over 30 points a game, and he made an in air adjustment on a lob pass in the game against Michigan that was one of the most athletic things I have ever seen. He made it look easy. I love this guy, and I believe that some lucky NBA team is going to have something pretty special next year.

Lavance Fields - Guard - University of Pittsburgh: This guy is the perfect summary of the Pitt Panthers, he doesn't look quite right all the time, and yet somehow he gets the job done in the end. He is one of the chubbiest point guards I have ever seen in my life, which immediately makes me like him. That huge three he hit from way behind the line in the final minute against Xavier and then the steal at the end to salt away the game were impressive.

Leo Lyons - Forward - University of Missouri: This guy just seemed to epitomize the scrapiness of the Missouri Tigers. Their intense high pressure defense and the way that they play is so entertaining, and I thought this guy was the most entertaining player on a very fun team. Plus his name is freaking Leo Lyons yet he plays for the Tigers? That tidbit combined with the way he helped take down Memphis. (One of the teams I predicted to be in my Final Four) earn Leo the final spot in the magnificent seven.

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