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Senior Week Highlight Reel: Jabril Trawick

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Think the Hoyas aren't tough enough? He played with a broken jaw.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Can you remember that infectious smile Jabril Trawick had his freshman year? Maybe. It's been awhile. Or that he beat out Patrick Ewing Jr. to win the 2011 Dunk Contest? Unlikely. Do you recall that he played in every single game that season? You should. Our transplanted Philly native has been bringing his own brand of intensity to the Hilltop since day one.

After an attention-grabbing performance in Kenner League over the summer (Trawick appears at 1:30, but you will want to watch this whole video - on mute), the freshman was picking up substantial minutes beside experienced guards Markel Starks and Jason Clark. Out of necessity, his role in the backcourt expanded even further during his second year. Things got off to a memorable start, as Trawick dunked over the 6'9" Tyler Adams at Midnight Madness.

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In-game performances were attracting more attention as well. The increased playing time improved his handle significantly, leading fans' collective stress level to decrease (somewhat) and allowing us to enjoy those moments where he was showcasing that flair for the dramatic.

Trawick does not do anything tentatively. He is not afraid of contact. Any defender who dared trespass into his path to the basket did so at their own risk. His comportment was occasionally less-than-refined...so, naturally, that all-out fiery part of his character that made him immediately beloved.

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That fire could be a double-edged sword...but it's when used against Syracuse, we're f&$%ing ecstatic to see them get burned. In a game where the evil Orange had been held to a mere 39 points, this dunk was more than a standard garbage time basket. It plainly declared, "We're done here."

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Junior year he took the pre-season theatrics one step further. This time around, he borrowed the head from the Jack the Bulldog costume for the dunk contest. Why not?

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That touch of whimsy is not something you will ever see from Jabril during a game. His sense of humor gets left in the locker room, because smart play frequently involves (among other things) intimidating the other team. If a look won't suffice, emphatically dunking over their asses can send an effective message, as Jabril demonstrated against Michigan State during Super Bowl weekend at MSG in 2014.

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The tendency to pick up a couple of quick fouls (ahem, Wells Fargo) is easy to criticize. Hell, it's deserving of criticism. Mercifully, those "2 quick fouls before the U-16" games have been few. Lately we have seen the other side of the coin and should note what Trawick is doing right. This driving layup shows him slashing to the basket, finishing the play, getting the call and avoiding the potential offensive foul. He does not raise his elbow, drop his shoulder or ever take his eyes off the defenders. He has learned to find the line between aggressive and intelligent basketball.

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One thing that Trawick never needed to be taught as a Hoya was how to be tough. Credit it to his Philly roots or whatever you wish, but nothing short of catastrophe was going to keep him off the court. For the second time in three years, catastrophe appeared to be spelled "C-I-N-C-I-N-N-A-T-I". Cashmere Wright struck again; Trawick had a broken jaw. He was sidelined for the minimum amount of time the medical staff deemed prudent, then re-entered the lineup. It was a show of leadership and solidarity from the upperclassman at a point where post-season hopes were tenuous.

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Another glorious evolution in Jabril's game has been his increasingly accurate 3-point shooting. The beginning of this trend was witnessed last year and this season he is hitting greater than 43% from beyond the arc. While he can be oh-so-frustratingly selective about taking those outside shots, his emergence as a legitimate threat from deep makes the Hoyas a substantially trickier team to defend.

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Senior Year. Something was in the water in 2014. The announcers magically forgot how to pronounce a 4-year player's name. Trørck, Treywick (at least this one makes an error sound like a compliment) and Trawreck were among the new monikers bestowed upon Brilly by FoxSports1's crack team of sideline personalities. While announcers and the freshmen were still getting their sea legs, upperclassmen D'Vauntes Smith-Rivers and Jabron Trotwig were fully in-sync.

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Adding finesse and control to his formidable slashing skills? Check. Showing love for his teammates' accomplishments? Check. Nailing outside threes regularly? Check. Imposing glare that can melt glass? Check. Knowing when to make the extra pass? Check. Knowing when to keep the ball and finish the play? Also check. All of these elements have become part of his identity as a player.

On top of it all, Jabril knows how to set the tone by inducing a little bit of modern-day Hoya Paranoia. He looks perpetually three seconds away from pulverizing an opponent, but he channels that into his game. A one-handed slam 30 seconds after the tip sends a clear message that this team has come to play. Hard.

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Not one ounce of energy is held back, and that sets an excellent example. Trawick wants to win. If that means he needs to get strong so that he can be aggressive in the paint, work on his agility to out-maneuver defenders in a half-court set or practice outside shots till they turn out the lights, he will do it. From the look of his play this season, he has done it. Meet the Brilldozer. He'll find a path to the basket or he'll make one. These aren't wrecking-ball tendencies. It's a cold, calculating destruction of our opponents' defense.

Jabril is the type of player who thrives on the big moments, and he knows exactly which ones they are. He has elevated the levels of both his skill and his intensity over the course of his college career. That makes for one scary (good) individual.

Be glad he's on our team.