Shelvin Mack: NCAA Championship Is Only the Beginning of Butler Guard's Stardom
Shelvin Mack has led the Butler Bulldogs to their second consecutive NCAA championship game. As improbable of a run the Bulldogs are on, it may be equally as improbable that Mack is still not as well known to college basketball fans in comparison to players who receive more attention.
Mack is the point guard for the team that has advanced to the NCAA tournament championship for the second straight season. He has not accomplished this feat for Duke, or North Carolina, or Kentucky or UCLA. He has done it at Butler.
Not exactly a traditional powerhouse.
Mack is an offensive catalyst for the Bulldogs. Gordon Hayward got the credit last season. Matt Howard receives the attention this season. While both are very deserving, Mack often gets overlooked.
But not by his opponents and teammates.
Mack teamed with college stars including his opponent tonight, Kemba Walker, as well as Duke guard Nolan Smith, against the USA national team that competed in the FIBA World Championship in Turkey last summer. Walker certainly is aware of the type of player Mack is on the floor.
Andy Katz of ESPN reported: "I put him right up there," Walker said of Mack. "He doesn't get the recognition that myself and Nolan and Jimmer [Fredette] and us got, but his team is playing in the national championship game. What more can you say? He's a great player and he definitely deserves a lot of attention."
Katz says that "Mack has indeed emerged again, proving to be the player that he was a year ago in leading Butler to the national title game with Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard. He's done it again this tournament with 30 points against Pitt, 27 against Florida and 24 against VCU."
Mack has been the consummate professional. Actually, with all of the violations and rules being ignored by so many programs nowadays, I guess I should rephrase that sentence. He has been the ultimate amateur, I suppose.
He shows up every game and leaves it all on the court. He doesn't complain about calls. He doesn't let the media attention that other players receive get to him because he plays in the Horizon League. He just shows up and wills his team to victory.
If Mack can continue to play the way he is capable of, Butler has a chance to defeat Connecticut tonight. But if Walker and his Huskies can get the better of his former teammate, it will be Mack who continues to fly under the radar.
That is, until he reaches the NBA next season or in two years and lets everyone know just how much game he has on the court.
For more on Howard and the Bulldogs, make sure to check out Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Doug Brodess, who takes a look at the NCAA Championship Game 2011: 5 Keys to a Butler Victory.
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