Posts Tagged ‘Shelvin Mack’

Washington Wizards draft Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton, and Shelvin Mack

June 24, 2011

Shelvin Mack (1) watches Pitt's Gilbert Brown shoot a free throw during Butler's NCAA tournament win over the top-seeded Panthers last March at Verizon Center. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

The Washington Wizards drafted an athletic European forward, a tough defender from the ACC, and a solid combo guard who played in back-to-back national championship games Thursday.  In Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton, and Shelvin Mack, Washington hopes it has three players who will be able to contribute immediately.

With the sixth overall pick, the Wizards selected Vesely, a 6-11, 240 pound forward from the Czech Republic who helped his team, Partizan Belgrade, to the Serbian championship last season.  Vesely, 21, is known as an athletic dunker, and when ESPN’s Mark Jones suggested he could be the “European Blake Griffin,” Vesely responded, “Blake Griffin is the American Jan Vesely.”  After being picked, the crowd at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. cheered wildly after Vesely kissed his longtime girlfriend.

In Belgrade, Vesely regularly played in front of crowds of 22,000.  One of his teammates in 2011 was former Maryland Terrapin James Gist, also known for high flying dunks.  Gist spoke about Vesely to Frank Lawlor of last February.  “He is the most athletic player I have seen in a while, and it’s great to play with a guy like that,” Gist said of the Czech star.  “It helps to have someone like him. If for some reason I can’t get the crowd going, he’s right there behind me to do it.”

For the rest of my article on, click here.


Butler stuns No. 1 Pitt 71-70 behind Mack’s 30 points, Howard’s last second free throw

March 20, 2011

Pitt's Gilbert Brown missed a free throw with 1.4 seconds left that could have beaten Butler. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

This was March Madness with a surprise ending. Butler did it again.

Eighth-seeded Butler shocked top-seeded Pitt 71-70 in an NCAA Southeast Region tournament game Saturday night that featured a bizarre ending, with each team giving the other one a chance to win it on free throws in the final seconds.

Shelvin Mack scored 30 points for Butler, but it was a free throw by Matt Howard with 0.8 of a second remaining that provided the difference for the Bulldogs over the Big East regular season champion Panthers in front of 18,684 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Howard was the hero in the opening round, giving Butler a win over Old Dominion by scoring a last second layup. This time it appeared that it was teammate Andrew Smith’s turn to score the game’s final points.

With 9.2 seconds remaining and Pitt leading 69-68, the Panthers were called for a shot clock violation.

After each team called timeout, Mack passed the ball to Shawn Vanzant, who threw the ball into Smith in the lane.  The 6-11 sophomore center then banked the ball in off the right side of the glass for a layup to give Butler a 70-69 lead.

Then all hell broke loose.

With each team out of timeouts, Pitt senior forward Gilbert Brown caught a pass near midcourt along the left sideline.  With 1.4 seconds remaining, Mack inexplicably fouled Brown, bumping him in the shoulder.

Brown made the first shot, but having a chance to win the game, his second shot rolled off the rim, leaving the score tied at 70.

Howard grabbed the rebound and tossed the ball toward the basket. Somehow, Nasir Robinson reached up and made contact with Howard, fouling him with 0.8 of a second to go.

An eerie mix of cheers and gasps filled the Verizon Center as the crowd realized what had just happened. Butler would have a chance to win in regulation instead of going to overtime.

Howard calmly sank the free throw for Butler, and intentionally missed the second, giving the Bulldogs an improbable 71-70 upset victory, unlikely because of the way it ended.

Butler (25-9), one year removed from playing in the National Championship game, was going back to the Sweet 16.  Pitt (28-6), picked by many to win the tournament, was bitterly disappointed and headed home.

To read the rest of my article on, click here.