Pan Am Trials: Matters Of The Midday

By David Scott - July 13, 2007

HAVERFORD, Pa. -- Southern Illinois' Randal Falker has made his name in the college ranks as a defensive specialist. Virginia Commonwealth's Eric Maynor made his name with his jumper that knocked Duke out of the first round of this past year's NCAA Tournament.

But at Haverford college this week, the pair's names are barely noteworthy on a Pan Am Trials roster that includes marquee talents from the nation's elite programs. (Depending on your classification of the Atlantic 10, there is a third mid-major guy, St. Joe's Ahmad Nivins, who had a nice morning session and is getting attention from the Philly press corps. He is a LONG, LONG shot to make the squad.)

"People I talk to were asking me, 'Who's up there at the trials?' and I'm like, 'Next year's first round of the NBA Draft minus Tyler Hansbrough," said Falker, the senior-to-be who was the Missouri Valley's Defensive MVP and an all-MVC first teamer last season. "I'm trying to make the team, don't get me wrong, but I know I'm up here beacuse I was a defensive all-American last year. I'm going to draw some charges, guard my man well and try to rebound. I just feel like I've got come out here and play how I played and play hard, rebound and play some more defense. My key is defensive rebounding."

Maynor's key is showing his versatility, which he has done nicely to this point in the camp. He can dish, drive and has good range - but he's in a logjam with a myriad of versatile 1s and 2s. Still, as CAA coach told us in March: "That kid will be in the NBA. Mark it down."

"I feel like I'm competing real good and trying to get my teammates involved," said Maynor, a junior-to-be who became Mr. March with his performances in the CAA Tourney and then against both Duke (hitting a game winner of camp attendee, Jon Scheyer) and Pitt in the Buffalo sub-regional. "Overall I think I'm doing a good job right now."

Maynor grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina and knows a little something about the sport in which he competes. "I don't think it's college basketball like it used to be back in the day, when you would say, 'Oh we got UNC tonight we're gonna get beat by 30.' Now college basketball is just college basketball and it doesn't matter about the name on the jersey."

Agreed Falker: "I think we can play with anybody."

So much so that the camp's head coach, Jay Wright, hadn't even noticed the difference once the Team USA shirts went on.

"You know, until you said that, I didn't even think of where they were from," said Wright. "I think that's a tribute to way they're playing. All three of them are pretty tough players. I don't think of them that way. When you look at the bodies of the three of them, they don't look like mid major guys playing with high major guys. They just fit."

. . . Yes, Maynor acknowledges that his legend has grown chiefly beacuse of what he did to the dreaded Dookies in causing his March Maynia. "Everywhere I go, not only in Richmond, they say, 'That's the guy who hit the shot against Duke.'"

That 15-foot-jumper with 1.8 seconds left sent his 11th seed Rams into the Round of 32 with a 79-77 win and sent Maynor into the annals of college hoops. "I know every March, come tournament time, that shot will always be shown."

"Oh yeah, I think everyone knows about his shot against Duke," said Wright.

As for his trial mate, Scheyer, Maynor said, in his endearing way that there's not much trash talk going on. "There ain't nothing like that, that's jujst on the court stuff. We talked."

. . . Despite Maynor's fame around the nation, his fellow mid-major man, Falker, wasn't sure he remembered seeing the shot and asked this reporter to point out who Maynor was. "He's No. 10," we told him. Falker made a mental note to seek him out.

Shouldn't these so-called mid-major guys have some sort of regular meeting where they all get together and swap stories of slaying the dragon? Maybe I'll start one up in the inviting courtyard outside the gym on the tranquil Haverford campus.

. . . Maynor said the famed VCU Chain will return next season. "The chain's going to be with us always. Freshmen don't know nothing about it but yet we're going to have to get them a link and link up again." Go Yahoo! it if you don't understand what he's talking about.

. . . Tom Crean said after the session that his guy, 6-5 forward Wesley Matthews, wasn't feeling well. We'll keep an eye on the junior, who is the son of former NBA journeyman, Wes Matthews.

. . . We're going to say this nicely but it should be explained fully to Roy Hibbert that "nice" doesn't work at this level of play. He needs to become a bit angrier and maybe that comes during the season. It surely hasn't been on display here to this point.

. . . Next session starts at 5 p.m. EST and we'll be back courtside for the action. On Sunday, you can check in for the roster announcement and then Monday we'll provide a re-cap of our time on the Main Line.

Posted by David Scott at 03:03 PM on July 13, 2007

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