Following our recent discussion on themes to keep in mind for this year’s Friar squad, let’s take a look at the players.
Vincent Council (Jr – PG): The leading returning scorer will likely be relied upon to blow away the 13.7 points per game he turned in last year, but Council is truly at his best when he is not forcing his offense and when he is getting into the paint. He improved to become a capable outside shooter as a sophomore but he needs to resist the urge to fire when he can get himself, or a teammate, something better. Council should see some time at the two as well particularly if newcomer Kiwi Gardner is ready to take on significant minutes at the point. Council is their best player and he will have to perform despite being a focal point for opposing defenses.
Gerard Coleman (So – SG): Look for a breakout year for Coleman both statistically and as an emotional leader. The talented slashed was an afterthought offensively last year and still managed to average double figures despite long stretches without quality touches. This year his workload will increase and the empowerment will only help his confidence. While it is reasonable to expect an improved jumper (23.5% from 3 last year) Larry Bird is not coming through that door fans. While he is not a natural jump shooter from downtown, Gerard shot a solid 47.2% from two-point land a year ago, and that’s where he needs to live this year. Coleman should also improve upon his disappointing 53.7% from the free throw line simply by getting to the stripe more often with his explosiveness to the rim and developing a rhythm. Hopefully we will also see improved strength and ball handling. If so, Coleman will be tough to stop.