One can't help but to notice the heroics of Oregon star Dillon Brooks. One buzzer-beater could be considered lucky. Two is very fortunate. Yet, three game-winning 3-pointers in one season? That is no coincidence, that is greatness.
The Wooden, Naismith and Erving finalist has unlimited potential. The passion he plays the game of basketball with is the reason casual supporters become diehard fanatics. It is the reason Oregon reached unprecedented heights in 2015-16. And it’s the same reason the Ducks are No. 6 in the land with 26 wins, and just four losses in 2016-17.
“Of course, we all want to take the last shot. But, if I’m going to give it to anyone, it’s going to be Dillon Brooks,” said senior guard Dylan Ennis.
People can talk all they want about the actual shots, but what is better than reliving the actual moment? Here is a look at all three of DB’s game-winning buckets thus far in 2016-17. He was born with ice in his veins.
Maui Invite, Nov. 22 vs Tennessee
Brooks arrived late to the party after offseason foot surgery. In his first return to action in Hawaii, the Ducks fell to Georgetown, 65-61. Yet, DB entered his second game with a vengeance. Oregon ended up defeating the SEC team by four, 69-65.
No. 24 drilled the huge triple against Tennessee with 24 seconds left in the game. It may not have been from the “buzzer-beater” variety of the next two, but it still left us speechless. He was slowly regaining his form with 17 points in the overtime victory.
Pac-12 Opener, Dec. 28 vs No. 2 UCLA
Clutch must be his middle name, because DB saved his best for the Pac-12. The lights were shining bright as No. 2 UCLA came to town for the conference opener. Eugene hadn’t seen a loss at Matthew Knight Arena since January, 2015 against Arizona, 80-62. Thanks to Brooks and Bryce Alford, nobody has witnessed a loss at MKA in 26 months.
Alford missed a free throw, setting the stage for Oregon’s finest. With UO down one point, Brooks took the ball in stride and rose over freshman guard Lonzo Ball. The No. 21 Ducks escaped with the win, 89-87, after DB buried the triple with 0.8 seconds left.
DB finished with a game-high 23 points. He successfully went 9-for-20 from the floor, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Oregon was the first team to defeat UCLA, handing them one of three losses this year.
The Comeback, Feb. 22 @ California
Down 16 points in the second half of a crucial Pac-12 road game, most turned the page on No. 6 Oregon. But, real Duck fans never lost hope. Fourth place Cal presented a great test for UO, yet Brooks and company were not going to be denied that evening. Brooks was incredible with 22 points overall, and 17 points in the second half alone.
The Golden Bears needed a “signature” win this season, and the Ducks were their prime target. With the help of Chris Boucher’s 18 second-half points, Brooks was once again thrust into the spotlight with his game-high 22 points on 9-for-18 from the floor.
Knotted up in a tie game, the Canadian took the contest into his own hands. Brooks drilled the buzzer-beater with 0.2 seconds remaining. UO won the game, 68-65, and secured the first part of their Bay Area sweep.
Brooks wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game, plain and simple. It is amazing to watch his basketball IQ unfold. As the game grows tight, he loosens up.
These type of players don’t come around often. The rest of the nation needs to do themselves a favor and start watching the greatness that is Dillon Brooks. If he’s not a household name by now, he will be in March.
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