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Thunder's Eric Maynor still disproving doubters

BY MIKE BALDWIN Modified: April 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm •  Published: March 17, 2010

"He liked the city of Richmond. He liked coach Capel. His heart was leaning towards Virginia Commonwealth from the beginning. Everything played out real good.

"It’s been the same this year. I think the world of Utah’s organization. But the move to Oklahoma City was a good fit for him where he can help the organization and he can grow with the program. People say Oklahoma City is an up and coming team. I think they’re already there.”

When Maynor plays tonight at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, a busload of kids from Hoke and Cumberland counties will make the 130-mile trek to Charlotte.

"In this area Eric is viewed as a hero,” Griffin said. "He’s a quiet kid. He just goes out and plays hard. He’s well loved in this area. Even coaches and kids from other schools respect him.”

After he was the Bulls’ final cut in 1980, George began a career as a corrections officer. He’s proud his son is the type of role model that might influence kids from the Fayetteville area.

"I hope that it opens a lot of kids’ eyes that they can do the same things, that they need to keep their grades up and work hard,” George said. "Nothing ever came easy to Eric. He wanted to graduate and worked at it. He’s always been a hard worker.”

Maynor loves returning to North Carolina but said playing the Bobcats creates problems, something he experienced early this season when the Jazz played in Charlotte.

"I hated it,” Maynor said. "I needed so many tickets. I got as many as I could (from teammates) but ended up buying quite a few. You want to just play basketball. But you also want to take care of friends and family the best you can.”

With backup shooting guard James Harden sidelined another week or two by a strained hamstring, Maynor could play more than his customary 15 minutes tonight.

Long-term, the Thunder could have their two point guards in place for years to come, leaving general manger Sam Presti one less hole to fill as he tries to build a championship contender.

"If you look at his track record usually after his first year, once he gets a feel for it, that’s when he usually really takes off,” Capel said. "Working with a great organization, working with some great guys and great coaches like Scott Brooks and Maurice Cheeks, Eric will only improve.

"He’s such a student of the game his best basketball is ahead of him.”

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