Shawne (left),Memphis's multitalented 6'9" freshman, was C-USA tournament MVP, averaging18.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in three wins. Boston College's Sean had the blockof the year in an ACC semifinal win over North Carolina, turning back TylerHansbrough's two-handed slam.
March 20, 2006
Florida in Marchmeans baseball spring training, two of the PGA Tour's biggest nonmajortournaments (Bay Hill Invitational and the Players Championship) and first- andsecond-round NCAA games in Jacksonville. We won't mention wet T-shirt contestsat Panama City Beach for spring break.
Celtics' swingmanPaul Pierce (left) has scored at least 30 in 14 of last 16 games, and he's onlyplayer in the NBA to lead team in points, rebounds, assists and steals. SaysPierce, "The last time I had a run like this was my senior year in highschool."
NASCAR nuts knowthem as the Cup drivers who moonlight in the lesser Busch races and, more oftenthan not, take home the prize money. On Saturday, Kasey Kahne (right) won theSam's Town 300, making the invaders a perfect 4 for 4 in '06.
After losing justnine games before March, Detroit has dropped three of its last six, includingan ugly 110-92 decision last Saturday to the .500 Wizards. Said Pistons coachFlip Saunders (right), "They kicked our butts every which way."
Atlanta lost outto Charlotte as the site of NASCAR's Hall of Fame. The Hawks have the NBA'sfourth-worst record (20-40), and both Georgia (15-15) and Georgia Tech (11-17),despite forward Ra'Sean Dickey (left), fell in the first round of theirtournaments.
On Sunday,Shaquille O'Neal was benched for all but 2 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter asthe Heat rallied to beat the Cavs. With his free throw percentage at .468, Shaqis flirting with his career-worst bricklaying mark of .461, set last year.
Those fromConnecticut and Washington both played like dogs and were one-and-done in theBig East and Pac-10 tournaments, respectively. In the Iditarod last Saturday,Doug Swingley's sled dogs were reluctant to leave their warm straw beds,costing him valuable time.
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
What NBA city do you most like to visit as aplayer?
Los Angeles 20.1%
New York 17.2%
FAST FACTS: Four cities (Cleveland, New Orleans,Oakland and Sacramento) did not receive any votes, while eight (Boston,Charlotte, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City andSan Antonio) received only one.... Miami received its strongest support in theAtlantic Division (41.2%).... Eastern Conference players preferred L.A. (25.2%)to New York (10.6%), while those in the West favored New York (24.0%) over L.A.(14.9%).
[ Based on a survey of 248 NBA players ] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.