Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tyler Ennis Will Not Be Denied

So tonight, my alma mater (Syracuse) was in Pittsburgh for the inevitable loss. It doesn't matter that SU was unbeaten, the #1 team in the land, and yada yada yada -- Syracuse always has problems with Pitt, and every ranked team loses at Pitt. I wound up catching it on a treadmill. Pitt went up 6 late, the 'Cuse got closer on an oddly unguarded three by point warrior CJ Fair, and after clutch free throws by both sides, the Orangemen were down 3 with 4.4 seconds left.

Now, my school has a freshman point guard, Tyler Ennis. He's got great numbers in a small sample size in close and late situations. He also played a pretty poor game tonight. But then he did this.

Watch it again, and just watch the player. He's running to the bench, celebrating, when the shot is still ten feet from the hoop. He's just launched it from 25, 30 feet, off a run... and he's running away from the ball as if it were, well, nothing. Just a game-winner to save a perfect season on national television while you are the number one team in the country, and, oh, right, you've been on a college campus for five months. Oh, and you are also being double teamed, with a guy definitely getting in your eye line as you take the shot.

I have no idea what it means, really. I get the sense watching this SU team that they are good but more lucky. The starters are good but not transcendent, the bench useful, the coaching what it always is; going unbeaten at this point basically just means they've been perfect in the half dozen close games that they are usually .500 in. But all of that, seemingly, is Ennis, who seems downright blase about owning the moment, despite not being all that fast, or tall, or tricky with the ball.

Dude just thinks he's everything in a close game, and that he owns the big moments. And so long as he keeps doing that, the prediction becomes self-fulfilling.

(Seriously, look at that shot again. Just freaking unreal.)

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