One of my favorite parts of the NCAA tournament is the way relatively unknown players raise their national profile because of their awesome play on the court. Stephen Curry is probably the best example of a kid from a small school who exploded in popularity when he shot the lights out and carried Davidson to the Elite Eight three years ago. Anthony Johnson of Montana threatened to be that guy when he single-handedly carried the Grizzlies to the Big Sky championship by scoring 42 points in the title game including 34 in the second half. Of course, Montana flamed out in the first round against New Mexico, leaving the the door open for someone else to become the tournament darling. Through one week of March Madness, it’s fair to say that darling has become St. Mary’s center Omar Samhan.
Samhan already captured my attention with his dominant play against both Richmond and Villanova, and then he forced his way onto LBS with his funny remarks about his mom. If you couldn’t already tell, Samhan is just oozing with personality. The guy has a hilarious YouTube account, he’s on the media’s all-quote team, and then there’s this video shared by Andy Gray of SI Hot Clicks where Samhan clowns around with a Comcast broadcast team. In the video, play-by-play man Jim Kozimor joked that Samhan might be running for mayor of Moraga — the city where St. Mary’s is located. With that, a perfect nickname was born. From now on, Omar Samhan will be The Mayor of Moraga. Let’s just hope we can keep saying it beyond this weekend. Here’s the aforementioned video:
A celebration of Marys [SI Hot Clicks]