Eric Maynor was born to be a point guard.
His father, George Maynor, played the position for East Carolina in the 1970s.
"He told me when I was little that that’s the position I was going to play no matter how tall I got,” said Maynor, the 6-foot-3 rookie who the Thunder acquired last Tuesday in a trade with Utah.
George Maynor was a fourth-round draft pick by Chicago in 1979. He made it to camp the following year after returning to school for his senior season and was among the final cuts by Eric Maynor’s first NBA coach, Jerry Sloan.
George Maynor never played in the NBA, but the lineage he launched grew into lessons that would eventually turn his skinny son into the 20th overall pick.
Eric Maynor’s basketball dreams began as a young boy in Raeford, N.C. Every day, he would tag along with the older kids to nearby Upchurch gymnasium and watch the big boys play pick-up. Maynor would hoist shots before games and during breaks.
"I couldn’t wait to get older and bigger so I could get out there,” Maynor said.
One of the older kids was Tony Crawford, Maynor’s brother who was six years his senior. Before the basketball love affair got passed down to Maynor it caught a hold of Crawford. Crawford’s talents earned him a spot on the Division II Belmont Abbey’s roster.
Before long, brotherly battles began.
"Sometimes I’d leave bloody,” Maynor said. "He’d put me on the ground and toughen me up. But he taught me a lot playing against me.”
Maynor learned to be tough, physical, to never be intimidated.
"Even if I was getting bloody, he wouldn’t let me call fouls,” Maynor remembered.