Posted 01/15/2010 at 10:24 AM
Congrats to Utah rookie guard Sundiata Gaines, who hit a buzzer beater last night to lift the Jazz past LeBron James and the Cavs in Salt Lake City.
With Deron Williams leaving the game with a wrist injury, Gaines was pressed into action. In his fifth career game since being called up from the D-League's Idaho Stampede, Gaines played nearly flawless basketball. The University of Georgia product made all three of his shots from the field and finished with nine points in nine minutes of play.
And he deserved that sort of moment. His career at Georgia was filled with tough luck. While more than a handful of his teammates left the UGA program for a variety of reasons, Gaines stayed the course and always kept a positive attitude.
Louis Williams never made it to Athens. Mike Mercer tore his ACL and then ended up getting kicked off the team. Channing Toney transferred to UAB and other players were dismissed from the program by former coach Dennis Felton.
But Gaines always kept playing hard, although he was at times surrounded by lost freshmen and walk-on players. He was rewarded during his senior year when he led the Dawgs to an improbable run to an SEC Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth. Gaines was named the tourney's Most Valuable Player.
And he's the most popular man in Salt Lake City this morning. Good, Sundiata Gaines deserves it.