March 22, 2009
DeJuan Blair is one of the best offensive rebounders in the history of college basketball. That sounds hyperbolic, but it's not: Blair grabs the highest percentage of his team's available offensive rebounds of any player in the country, 25.1 percent, which is more than Colorado and several other entire D-1 teams. That. Is. Insane. And now we know how DeJuan does it: he gets money-hungry and imaginative, and combines the two qualities when he's on the court:
"I love money, so I act like the basketball is money when I'm rebounding. I pretend that every rebound is a million dollars. And I'm going to go out and get my millions."
The metaphor is admittedly weak, but it's getting stronger by the week: If DeJuan can rebound as well as he has all season in the NCAA tournament, an NBA team will almost certainly have to spend a first-round draft pick on him in this year's NBA draft. How do you pass on Barkley-esque rebounding skills? How do you ignore the man that outrebounded Blake Griffin in 2008-09?
Anyway, for as good as Blair has been, his Pitt team didn't match him on Saturday. He had seven offensive rebounds; the rest of his team had two. That will have to change if the Panthers plan on advancing past more than the East Tennessee States of the world.