Chris LinMercury Staff
Pablo JuarezSports Editor
Four players currently averaging double-digit points per game
The mantra ‘pick your poison’ is often heard in the scope of organized sports in reference to a potent, multi-faceted team. The men’s basketball team is the true embodiment of that phrase.
The Comets (8-3, 2-2) are currently tied with the ASC East favorite, East Texas Baptist, for first place in the division.
The Comets’ early season success can be attributed to their balance as an offensive unit and, in particular, the playmaking ability of the plethora of weapons at their disposal.
Currently, four players on the team average double digit points on a nightly basis. However, none of those players rank in the top 25 among leading scorers in the conference. Among the team’s 11 games thus far, there have been five different leading scorers and no single player has led the team in scoring in back-to-back games.
“I think it’s a characteristic of our team,” said head coach Terry Butterfield. “We have very solid players, but I don’t know that we have one player that’s exceptional above the others. We have good balance and anyone can be a leading scorer on any given night.”
Since any given player can heat up on any night, Butterfield said the team tries to exploit that occurrence as much as possible while keeping the nightly game plan intact.
“Well, we try to be aware of who’s producing offensively for us,” he said. “Obviously we want to try to get a lot of shots for a guy that’s sort of ‘his night.’”
However, behind the balanced attack is the team’s ability to make the extra pass, fully confident in each other’s prowess to make a play or knock down an open shot.
The Comets only trail Ozarks in the ASC in assists per game, averaging 17.9 per outing. Also, they are posting a 1.2 assist to turnover ratio — third best in the conference.
“I’m very pleased with our passing,” said sophomore forward Reagan Keogh. “When we can execute and are all on the same page, we’re pretty much unguardable. Everybody’s so together on and off the court. We have a lot of chemistry and we know where guys’ best spots to score on the floor are.”
As a forward, Keogh possesses the unique ability to facilitate for his teammates, averaging 2.5 assists per game, the second best mark on the team.
Keogh likes to operate mostly from the free throw line and at the elbows, giving the offense an added dimension whenever he’s involved in the pick-and-roll, or even when working out of the low post.
“I’ve always tried to be an unselfish player,” he said. “I know a lot of teams have those post players where they get the ball and it’s never coming back out. Just based on how our offense works, we get a lot of back cuts and cuts from the rim, so when I have the ball at the elbows a lot of times I’ll be skipping the ball to open shooters.”
Butterfield said some areas where he would like to see improvement are in the number of turnovers committed, sustaining early leads and the team’s overall defense.
However, he feels that in order to be successful, continued growth must occur in all aspects of the game.
“As the season progresses, your team has to evolve to a higher level of performance,” he said. “All of our good teams that we’ve had in the past have been able to look at the beginning of the season and seen how we’ve grown towards the end of the season. It’s not about how you start … it’s about where you are at the finish of the season.”