Summer Spotlight: Eric Maynor
By Kevin Duffy
[img_assist|nid=3704|title=Eric Maynor|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=354|height=323]After pick-pocketing George Mason and converting two lay-ups that would close out the Colonial Conference championship and seal an NCAA bid for upstart Virginia Commonwealth, Eric Maynor raised the eyebrows of most die-hard college basketball fans.
One week later the lightly-recruited sophomore guard out of Westover HS (Fayetteville, NC) torched Duke and former High School All-American Greg Paulus for 22 points and 7 assists, sunk the game-winning jumper with 1.8 seconds, and in turn became a household name to the entire country.
Maynor was not a one-hit wonder, however. The stealthy guard had a solid body of work throughout his entire sophomore season as he averaged 13.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He does not plan on relishing in his second-year success for very long. Maynor is hard at work this offseason in an effort to prove that VCU’s upset over the Blue Devils was not a fluke. Here’s what his average summer day consists of:
8 AM- Wake Up
I wake up at about 8 everyday so I can make it to the gym by 8:30 for my weights workout. Usually I’ll eat something real quick like a pop-tart or cereal that will serve as fuel for the next few hours of training.
8:30 AM- Weight Room
I hit the weights on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and perform a full upper/lower body workout on each day. I do all of my workouts with teammate Jamal Shuler. Right now, we’re really focusing on a lot of explosive lifts such as squats, hang cleans, snatches, and lunges. We are also doing some vertical leap work to really help us get up and attack the rim. We’re usually in the weight room until about 10 or 10:30.
10:30 AM- Gym
After we’re done with our weight room workout, we’ll get out on the court for an hour. I try to get up as many quality shots as possible. I take a lot of midrange jumpshots off the dribble, but I’m really working on expanding my three-point range. That is the main focus of my shootarounds right now.
12 PM- Lunch/Hanging Out
For lunch, I usually grab something like Subway, pizza, or a meatball grinder with some chicken wings. I have some time to sit around, chill, and go on the computer. I’m taking one online course this summer (which I have an A in right now). In between lunch and pick-up, I have a lot of time to focus on my schoolwork. I may also watch some game film from last year to help pick up on areas that we need to improve as a team and to look at the tendencies of some of our in-conference opponents.
4:30 PM- Getting Ready for Pick-Up
I get to the gym about a half hour before we start playing team pick-up. I get on The Gun (a device used by college and pro teams that feeds balls to the player and enables them to get up more shots in a shorter period of time) and put up a lot of different shots as a warm-up.
5 PM- Pick-Up Ball
Our inter-squad pickup games get very intense at times. We really get after eachother and leave it all on the floor, but at the same time we’re all teammates, so whenever anyone makes a good play, regardless of what team they are on in pick-up, we show a lot of support and encouragement. Jamal Shuler is one guy who has really stepped up his game so far this summer. A lot of our freshman (Ed Dixon, Joey Rodriguez, Brandon Rozzell, Myk Brown, Lance Kearse, and Larry Sanders) have also been impressive during our scrimmages. While I get to focus on my shooting during the day when I should around, I put in extra effort on to improve my defense during these pick-up games. We have a lot of quickness on the perimeter and it’s always a good workout trying to stop our guards from penetrating.
Side Note: VCU has the fifth best recruiting class of all mid-majors, according to Rivals.com. Their six player group of newcomers trails that of only Memphis, Gonzaga, Pepperdine, and New Mexico State. Despite the conferences they play in, it is very difficult to classify Memphis and Gonzaga as mid-majors, so in reality, VCU’s class may be the third best in the country.
7 PM- Finishing up in the gym
After our pick-up games are done, I’ll get up a few more shots with some of my teammates before we head out to dinner.
8 PM- Dinner
Usually I head to Applebee’s and grab a burger and fries after a hard day of work. After that, some of my teammates and I might head up to Richmond to catch a summer league game. After that, I head back to the apartment and just chill until I go to sleep and wake up for another day of offseason preparation.
Maynor’s Thoughts: I’m really focusing on improving my three-point shooting and my defense. Fullcourt defense is the staple of our team and we will continue to go all out for 40 minutes and wear down our opponents with our constant pressure. I know we lost some important players, but we’ve still got some key returnees and a great bunch of freshman. Everyone is training real hard to become better players and stronger individuals. As far as the Duke win goes, it gave us a ton of confidence and let everyone know who VCU is. Our job is not to be satisfied with that win, but to come out and take it a step further this year.
Team Preview: VCU lost standout guards B.A. Walker (14.8 points) and Jesse Pellot-Rosa (13.3 points) to graduation, so a lot of the Rams’ success will hinge on their star playmaker Maynor (13.9 points, 6.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds). As he hinted at before, Maynor does not expect it to be a one-man show. He has been very impressed with the progress of upcoming senior guard Jamal Shuler, who averaged 8.6 points in a back-up role last season. Top big man Will Fameni (8.9 points, 5.4 rebounds) also returns for his senior season. Maynor mentioned that former reserve forwards Mike Anderson and TJ Gwynn have been impressive during workouts and will likely play a much bigger role. next season. Add in Head Coach Anthony Grant’s ace recruiting class, and it appears VCU will be a force to be reckoned with once again next season.