First-Round Updates: Maynor's Belt and AU's Beards
Eric Maynor was never a fight fan growing up.
"I just liked to see Mike Tyson knock people out," he told me this week. "That was it. I never got into boxing."
Which hasn't stopped him from slipping on that title belt in recent weeks. He wore it after the Rams clinched the CAA's regular season title, and again after they beat George Mason in the tournament final. He wore it while cutting down the net, and he wore it while hoisting the league trophy. The belt was passed around the floor of the Siegel Center, from one teammate to another, who all slipped it around their waists.
"Everybody put it on," Maynor said. "Everybody look good in it. You put it on, and everybody look good in it."
VCU Coach Anthony Grant first busted out the belt the night before Maynor and mates were playing for the regular season crown. The coach, Maynor told me, was wearing two shirts at the time. "This," he told the players as he slowly took off the top shirt, "is what we're gonna win tomorrow."
"Everybody looking at him like, 'Uh oh.' " Maynor remembered. "I never had a coach put a belt on before....First time for everything."
Since then, the belt has had several homes. It spent some time in the basketball office. It even spent some time in Maynor's apartment, where it rested on his counter and on his dresser. Typical dorm room chic. I tried comparing the belt to that chain from '07, but Maynor wasn't having it.
"I think it's two different things, man," Maynor said. "The belt was more what we did together. The chain had a link to each one of us, everybody doing their role. We just gotta win man, try to win and advance."
I asked Maynor whether the title belt would be accompanying the Rams to their first-round game, and who would be minding it during the trip. He wasn't completely sure, and seemed less curious than I was.
"It's not gonna be sitting with us on the bench or something like that," he said.
Either way, not too many basketball teams pass around title belts, even belts emblazoned with words like "WIN" and "CHAMPION." So there could only be one destination for the Rams and their title belt: Philadelphia, home of Rocky, where they'll face UCLA, home of the "Champions Made Here" slogan. Duh.
"They got more than championship belts," Maynor said. "They won national championships. That speaks for itself."
In other tournament news, several of the AU Eagles have shaved off their playoff beards. In fact, this happened before the Selection Show, but I forgot to mention it.
"I mean, playoffs are over," Steve Luptak told me. "It's a new beginning, I guess. It was getting out of control, too. It was ridiculous."
"It was time," added senior forward and Post blogger Bryce Simon. "I heard references to Abraham Lincoln. I figured after a reference like that, it was time."
I also asked a few of the Eagles whether they had watched the tape of their Patriot League win. Several had not, because they forgot to TiVo it in their off-campus house.
"Jordan [Nichols] told me it's not that exciting to really watch," said Brian Gilmore, one of those who hadn't seen it.
(For much more on the personalities of these Eagles, see Kathy Orton's work. She has this quote, for example. "Derrick [Mercer] wears moccasins around campus," said Frank Borden, describing them as boat shoes with fur on the inside. "His friends at home would never believe that.")
March 18, 2009; 5:14 PM ET
Categories: Atlantic 11 , College Basketball
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