First, I hope everyone has had a Merry Christmas and will have a great 2019 upcoming. We took a holiday break here at the wire to spend time with friends and family, but a lot of news is still coming out of Commerce, America. Focusing on Basketball, and once again, our Men’s team is out to a great start. Here are a few thoughts.
- So far, so good. 9-2 overall and 2-0 in LSC play. This group was picked to win the LSC, and I still think that is a valid prediction. In Basketball, how well a group meshes and plays together is something you cannot coach. There are instincts and just some intangibles that come with playing the game together, and that is why team chemistry is so important to have. Last year, Jaret Von Rosenberg had that on his squad and the result was a 20 plus win season and another trip to the NCAA D2 tournament.
- The core of last year’s team returns, and they have not had any Senior slumps. Reggie Reid and Willie Rooks are leading the team in scoring with 16.3 and 12.1 PPG respectively. Srdan Budimir is lighting up the nets from long distance again as he is knocking down nearly 50 percent of his attempts from behind the arc and has filled in nicely into the starting rotation.
- Rebounding, especially offensive rebounding, is always what will give you a leg up over the teams you play. Bob Knight calls is blue collar basketball, which means teams are vultures around the goal. That is how great teams put up the points, not with the first shot, but with the second and the third. They bang in junk buckets by grabbing second chance shots. Those are also mentally taxing on a defense that might run into a hot shooting team but cannot give a team one shot and go the other way. Robinson is exhibit A. He has 64 total rebounds, nearly half are offensive rebounds.
- Offensively, this team averages about 83 points per game. No complaints there, and they are scoring by shooting well from the outside, hitting free throws and penetrating inside and grabbing offensive rebounds. However, what makes that such an encouraging number is the fact 5 players average double figures in points per game, and another two that are just below that number. Having a balance of scorers is what you need to have to compete at a high level in Basketball, and not just rely on one guy.
- The Lions face Texas A&M-International December 30th in Commerce to close out non conference play. Then, it starts with a trip to Wichita Falls against the
belovedMidwestern State Mustangs. Then a trip to an always Dangerous Cameron Aggie team, before the Lions return home to take on Tarleton State, and then hit the road again for two big trips to West Texas A&M and Eastern New Mexico. After that stretch of games, we should get a bigger picture of how good we can expect this team to be.