It always comes down to point guards
Published 12:48 pm Friday, April 3, 2009
By By JIM O’CONNELL, AP Basketball Writer
DETROIT — It’s the big men who draw the stares and cracks about the weather.
It’s the high-flying forwards and scoring guards who dominate the highlights.
And it’s the point guards who almost always decide which team will win a national championship.
This Final Four is no exception.
Ty Lawson of North Carolina and Kalin Lucas of Michigan State were their conference’s player of the year. Lawson, A.J. Price of Connecticut and Scottie Reynolds of Villanova were the MVP of their regional.
All made their teams good enough to win 30 games, good enough to reach the Final Four.
Price is averaging 14.7 points and 4.8 assists this season. In the four tournament games, those numbers increase to 20.0 and 5.2.
Lucas, a sophomore and the youngest of the Final Four point guards, is averaging 14.6 points and 4.6 assists for the season. In the Spartans’ four wins to get here, he averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 assists while committing nine turnovers, not bad for a player who specializes in driving inside to create opportunities for his teammates.
Former Georgetown coach John Thompson used to say the best point guards are the ones coaches share a brain with.
In just two years, Lucas has a relationship like that with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
During the tournament, all eyes were on Lawson during the tournament as he recovered from a right big toe injury. He didn’t play in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament because it and missed the opening-round win over Radford.
He has looked like himself the last three games, averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 assists while turning the ball over just twice.
Lawson, who is averaging 16.3 points and 6.5 assists for the season, has a good relationship with Reynolds as opponents in high school and AAU competition. The two were roommates at LeBron James’ basketball camp two summers ago.
Reynolds is the reason Villanova is in the Final Four, scoring the winning basket with less than a second to play in the regional final against Pittsburgh.
It’s that kind of play that thrills fans and players alike.
This weekend, he won’t be the only one watching.