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Men's Basketball: Meyinsse's screens often overlooked

While speaking with Virginia center Jerome Meyinsse by his locker in Smith Center after Sunday's win over North Carolina, it was impossible to miss Virginia guard Sylven Landesberg surrounded by reporters in the center of the room. Landesberg, after all, scored 29 points and was hours away from earning ACC player of the week.

"What can you say about him?" I asked Meyinsse, motioning toward Landesberg.

"I can say some of my screens got him open," Meyinsse joked.

The comment incited laughter, but it was a statement of truth. Meyinsse has not played a big role on the team in the past but has earned a critical role on the team this season; that much has been established in this space before.

But the evolution of players such as Meyinsse and Will Sherrill explains why Virginia is now in NCAA tournament consideration as much as the Landesberg's stardom.

"They're X-factor guys," Coach Tony Bennett said. "They're willing to do whatever is necessary."

When Landesberg was told he was the player of the game on a radio interview after the game, he said it should be Meyinsse. Thinking through many of the big plays Virginia has made this season, Meyinsse's screens remain a constant. It's not a skill that can be found on a stat sheet, but some big men are better at others -- and more aware than others.

It's a role Meyinsse has accepted, and it is has become as valuable as his rebounding and scoring.

"He's willing to serve his teammates," Bennett said. "He'll work to get them open, screen and re-screen. I put him and Will in the same breathe. They do what's necessary to get guys opportunities, and play off those. He has a big strong body, and a willingness to do that. Those are two aspects that are important in that role."

By Zach Berman  |  February 2, 2010; 11:35 AM ET
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