USA TODAY Sports’ Nicole Auerbach thinks you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t keep an eye on these players in the Final Four.
USA TODAY Sports
GLENDALE, Ariz. — They just call it “the flop,” and this season at least, no explanation might be necessary. Dillon Brooks’ overcooked acting job in late January went viral everywhere — including the Oregon locker room.
“It’s saved on my phone,” said Ducks guard Dylan Ennis said, laughing — because that’s what everyone does, every time they see it.
“I still watch it to this day,” junior forward Jordan Bell said. “It’s funny. I watch it all the time.”
If Brooks bristles at the topic, it’s not for long. What’s often lost is that he scored 19 points that night at Utah, helping Oregon stave off an upset bid. And that while the Pac-12’s Player of the Year is not a fan of discussing the flop, he’s perfectly fine with being cast as something of a cartoon character in opponents’ arenas.
Just call him Villain Brooks. He’s cool with it. And he won’t be surprised if, come Saturday against North Carolina, he becomes everybody’s least favorite player.
“It probably will be where 65,000 or 60,000 do not like me,” said Brooks, referring to the crowds expected at University of Phoenix Stadium for the Final Four. “It doesn’t matter to me. I play the game. The crowd is gonna cheer for who they want to cheer for, but I’m there to win the game.”
The 6-7 junior forward is one of the biggest reasons Oregon has won a school-record 33 games, and why the Ducks, in the Final Four for the first time since winning the first NCAA championship in 1939 (when it was an eight-team tournament), have a great shot to win two more games and hoist that second trophy.
His versatility, pulling up for three-pointers or muscling inside for baskets, causes extreme matchup issues for opponents. But a developing…