When I was writing the first draft of the recap post and looking for an intro - a process that happens while the game is still in progress, if you were wondering - one player made themselves a clear candidate for an easy to write, easy to read, sensible intro. And no, it wasn't Cliff Tucker.
It was Eric Hayes.
Hayes, after a slow first half
that included absolutely nothing in the point column, ended up with 15 points in the second half, including 5 in about the span of a minute and half that erased a 2 point deficit, and I saw my introduction. Maryland, unfortunately, would go on to lose the lead he gave them, and my intro dissipated.
Of course, Tucker would gain it back, and in the process steal Hayes' thunder. In a way, that's fitting: Hayes has always been overshadowed by his more flamboyant classmate, Greivis Vasquez, and when Vasquez wasn't going to overshadow him, someone else did. What Tucker didn't do, however, was make Hayes' contribution any less important. And because of that, Hayes deserves his very own shout-out - this is that.
EH has seemingly developed a penchant for difficult layups, hitting two against Georgia Tech. He's continued his cool personality, lights-out ability from deep, and steadiness with the ball (5 assists and 2 TOs). Really, he was everything we know he is, and he was it when Maryland need it.
After giving props and press to Tucker and Vasquez, there's no reason not to give Hayes some too. He doesn't get as much love as Vasquez nationally, but I'll miss him just as much when he's gone and making money in Europe somewhere.