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Jenni Carlson: Thunder's Eric Maynor has a smile as big as Kansas

by Jenni Carlson Published: March 27, 2011

“They're upset with me,” Maynor said, a playful smile on his face as he glanced across the locker room at Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich. “I said something when I first seen 'em.”

So, will that be it?

“We need to get this win today,” he said, “then after that I'll start back talkin'.”

Maynor plans to let everyone know about his team's success.

“Oh, yeah, I'm gonna keep talkin',” he said. “We got a whole week before we play another game.”

He smiled again.

“I'm gonna talk a lot.”

Sure, he loves a little give-and-take with his teammates, but really, it's more than that.

Maynor feels a part of what happened Sunday.

“One of my old teammates tweeted that we didn't ever make it that far, but we're gonna be on that court with 'em,” Maynor said. “That's how I feel.”

He helped lay the groundwork for this Final Four run. He set a high standard. He instilled a mentality.

“Just work hard all the time, and if you put your mind to something, you can do it,” he said. “You've just got to try to do it together, and that's what they're doing.”

Seeing the Rams play that same way today makes him insanely proud.

That shot Maynor hit to knock out Duke was VCU's first tournament win in more than two decades. Only a few years later, the Rams are going to the Final Four.

Knowing he had a hand in this success eases his fall to No. 2 in VCU tournament lore.

Sunday's box score
by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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