So, didja know that it's Unsung Player Day? You know, the special day organized by With Malace to commemorate players who are often overlooked and deserve a day in the sun? No? Well, click the link to read about the favorite unsung players of many NBA bloggers from around the internets, but I'll start your day by discussing two of my favorite unsung guys on the Timberpups: Greg Buckner and Michael Doleac.
What makes Greg Buckner an unsung player? Well, first of all, his Wikipedia article reveals that he ranked third in the league in points per shot attempt in the 2004-05 season. Why hasn't he received more props for being one of the best in the league in this category? It's an injustice, I tell you! (OK, OK, I'll admit it...I'd never heard of that statistic before today, either.)
Buckner's Wikipedia article also informs us that he played for the Grand Rapids Hoops of the CBA from 1998-1999. First of all, I'd like to congratulate Grand Rapids for being home to the most unoriginally-named basketball team I've ever heard of, but more importantly, I've gotta credit Buckner for paying his dues early in his career. Anyone who started their basketball career in freaking Grand Rapids clearly deserve props for attempting to take a rather unglamorous route to The Association.
What else makes Greg a worthy candidate to recognize today? Simply put, he's a good guy. He started the Greg Buckner Foundation to empower youth, and he's widely regarded as a strong locker room player.
And finally, you've gotta give Buckner credit for racing out of the gate this year. Yeah, at this point, Witt has pretty much given him a permanent seat on the bench -- but when Greg received a chance to play earlier in the year, he typically made a positive impact. The Wolves struggled mightily in November, posting a record of 2-12 for the month, but Buckner was one of the definite bright spots on the team during that time period.
To start the season, the majority of our guys had difficulty meshing, playing sound basketball in the fourth quarter and playing the fast-paced style of offense we knew they were capable of. It was discouraging, but Greg emerged from those struggles as a stabling influence -- a vet that wouldn't make silly mistakes and would serve as a calming presence in the midst of rattled youngsters.
Wow, that was more serious than I'd initially planned. Let's move on, shall we, and talk about another favorite unsung player of mine: Michael Doleac.
Why does Doleac deserve our praise? First, you've gotta admit that it takes some serious balls to have a haircut like this...Doleac looks like he should be selling programs at the Daytona 500, not playing in the NBA.
Also, Doleac's NBA.com profile mentions that he "has no pregame superstitions or rituals." Give the man credit for that, people! There is no shortage of ridiculous pregame rituals in professional sports: Ron Artest listens to his own music prior to games (yikes!), many NFL players are known to puke before hitting the field, and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end John Henderson gets slapped on the face several times before every game by the team's assistant trainer (no, I'm not joking about that last one). Kudos to Doleac for resisting the pregame rituals of professional sports that have become increasingly bizarre over the years.
Doleac also aspires to go to medical school after he retires from the NBA. Yep, an NBA player is considering becoming a doctor after his playing days are over. Well, at least we've spotted ONE guy that goes against the general line of thinking that NBA players aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer.
Want to get a better idea of how cool Doleac is? He has his own freaking widget -- and once you have your own widget, you know you've made it in life.
Need even more convincing of the sheer extent of his awesomeness? Well, his name is extremely unique...according to this website, there are only six people in the United States named "Michael Doleac." Compared to that, the communists here at T'Wolves Blog have fairly unoriginal names: There are 2,199 Anthony Halls in the country, 192 Dave Kelseys, 73 Derek Hansons, 22 Jeremy Knutsons, and seven Sonia Grovers.
So there you have it. A brief moment in the sun for Greg Buckner and Michael Doleac. And now, we return to your regularly scheduled praise of the superstars.