Awards and observations from Maui Invitational
Updated: November 28, 2009, 2:55 AM ETBy Jay Bilas
LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Here are my final thoughts and annual awards from the EA Sports Maui Invitational: • Gonzaga is tough and talented. While the Zags are not deep, the first five are really good. Big men Robert Sacre and Elias Harris could start on any team in the nation, and Mark Few has two complete guards in Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray. I was most impressed with Gonzaga's defense. The Zags guarded the ball well, limited penetration, and outrebounded Cincinnati in the final. If the Zags stay healthy, this team has a good chance to play past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. And watch Harris and his emerging post game. He is one of the few post players that can catch the ball well off of the lane and make a credible move. He is still raw, but he pursues the ball as well as any player I have seen all season. Harris has the chance to be special. • Cincinnati has made great strides under Mick Cronin. The Bearcats really guard people, play hard and rebound well. I was impressed with just how hurt the players were after the title-game loss to Gonzaga. This team wants to win and seems prepared to do what it takes to do just that. As the offense comes along, and it should, Cincinnati can be an upper-division team in the Big East. Lance Stephenson is truly gifted offensively. As he learns the game, he will understand that he can do more with less. As it stands now, the ball tends to die in Stephenson's hands, and the offense gets bogged down. Until he moves the ball and himself more, his enormous talent will not be fully realized.
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