Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Helping hands

There are a lot of reasons Jacksonville State is taking a 4-1 record into tonight’s game at Norfolk State. Perhaps the biggest is the Gamecocks’ ability to get the ball in the hands of the players who can put the ball in the hole.

Going into tonight’s action, the Gamecocks rank third in Division I in assists. They average 20.6 assists per game, right behind Sam Houston State (21.8) and North Carolina (21.3).

The Gamecocks have 145 buckets and 103 assists. No telling what that figure would be if they counted “coach’s assists,” getting the ball to a guy who doesn’t get the basket but gets fouled in the process.

“We preach about sharing the ball,” JSU coach James Green said. “Obviously, we’re better when we play well together.

“For it to be early in the year and us to be able to play very unselfish and share the basketball and move the basketball and get it in the hands of people who can score and in the position they can score it is a credit to our guys.”

And to senior guards DeAndre Bray and Jonathan Toles in particular. Bray leads the OVC in assists at 7.2 per game. Toles is tied for second at 5.0.

“I’m sure our last game against VMI probably helped that, in the fact VMI is a team that was pressing and trapping full court, half court, and we were able to get through that and find people around the basket,” Green said.

But the Keydets haven't been the only team to turn up the pressure on the Gamecocks. Georgia State, Umass and South Carolina all trapped them as well.

“For a team that’s young overall, having two senior guards who have handled the ball fairly well for us I think has been our strongest deal to be able to combat the pressure,” Green said. “We could easily be 1-4 instead of 4-1 for a lot of different reason, but the biggest reason (they're 4-1) is we’ve been able to play against a little pressure and handle it.”


Michael Amberson said...

I like the "split the road games" mentality that Coach Green preaches. If JSU drops one, hopefully it will be tonight. That TTU game on Saturday is a biggie. How big would it be to open OVC play, on the road, against a pretty good team. JSU beat them at Pete last year, and almost got them in Cookeville.

And I agree, Bray and JT are big keys for this team. JT is playing with so much more control this year; and Bray is being Bray. He has got to be a nightmare to opponents point guards. Now if Amadou can only get it going.

Enjoyed the podcat...as always.

al muskewitz said...

I would think tonight's would be the easiest of the two to get, even though Saturday's is much bigger. And they're leading by six at the half. Forget the split this week. Go for two.