All the talk is about Ohio State's backcourt play. It's about Mike Conley Jr.,
the poised freshman point guard who has excelled despite playing in Greg
Oden's shadow. Or maybe Ron Lewis, the senior transfer from Bowling Green who
continues to make huge shots.
When the chatter gets to the Georgetown Hoyas, it centers on the 1-2 punch of
Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. Green is Mr. Underrated and Hibbert is the most
improved big man in the entire country.
Forgotten in the equation are Georgetown's guards.
But the Hoyas wouldn't be in Atlanta without their underrated backcourt of
Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp.
Wallace is a 6-foot-1 junior from Alabama who many didn't even think would be
able to make it at Princeton. However, when John Thompson III left the Ivy
League for Georgetown, Wallace followed — as a walk-on.
It took the reserved Wallace one semester to earn a scholarship.
``His character," Thompson said. "Just the kind of person that he
is, is why I wanted him when I was at Princeton, why I wanted him when we got to
Georgetown. Just the person he is. You win with good people. Jonathan Wallace,
and I wish I could take some credit for the person that he is, but it's his
family, his parents. He's a person that I wanted around our program."
Wallace has started every game since stepping foot on campus and will likely
become the program's all-time 3-point shooter by the end of his career. His
long-range shot has continued to be on the mark in the tournament — he is
17-of-31 for a sizzling 54.8 percent.
None have been bigger than his trifecta with 31.2 seconds left against North Carolina that sent the game into overtime and ultimately helped Georgetown
advance to the Final Four.
``We knew we were going to get the shot at the top for Jon," Thompson
III said. "That's what we were looking for. We were fortunate that our guys
executed, we were fortunate that the ball went in. Jon has been making those
shots for three years now. So we put the person that we wanted to get the shot
where we wanted, and we're fortunate that it went in."
Wallace's backcourt mate is Sapp, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore from
Harlem, N.Y. who played his high school ball at National Christian in Maryland.
Sapp is putting up 12.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the four NCAA
Sapp also brings a vocal presence and intensity to the equation. In fact, the
duo couldn't be more different off the court. Wallace is the good 'old southern
boy while Sapp is all about city life.
But they have both proven they can play with anyone.
While it was Wallace's shot against the Tar Heels that has gained national
props, it was Sapp who came up with a career-high 20 points in the Hoyas'
first-round win over Belmont.
Both have done a terrific job in the Princeton offense of taking care of the
ball and running the system to near perfection.
Wallace has 27 assists and just five turnovers this postseason while Sapp has
29 assists and nine turnovers. That's a 4-to-1 turnover-to-assist ratio between
the two since the Big East tourney began, which is a number that most coaches
would kill for.
Including Ohio State's Thad Matta.