As the Redbirds’ season began, many wondered just what this basketball team’s expectations would be following the departure of all but two players from last year’s team.
With no definitive star on the roster, many thought this would be a lost season for the Redbirds. But following a few rough outings, they have started to pick up momentum, winning their final two games of the Golden Gate Challenge over the holiday weekend. This included a 90-76 victory over host-team San Francisco.
They exploded for 56 points in the second half of that game, just two points fewer than they scored in their season-opening loss against then-No. 14 VCU. They got to 90 on the strength of 22 assists on 31 field goals made, displaying team basketball of the highest level.
That’s what will keep this team moving forward this season; it will be able to reach its peak by exhibiting a high willingness to pass the ball to the open man in whatever situation.
Daishon Knight and Zach Lofton are the only two players who have enjoyed double-digit scoring averages, but in their last game, the Redbirds had six players with 10 or more points, something they have not done since 2008.
Similar to the Chicago Bulls last season, and now this season, the Redbirds will have to share the ball unconditionally in order to reach their peak. With no superstars to give the ball to, it will be crucial for them if they want to win games in the MVC.
While I am a fan of the traditional superstar, I absolutely love team-oriented play. It’s so much more entertaining to me to watch the ball fly all over the court to a wide-open three-point shooter or a big man for an easy slam dunk, and watch the defense get over too late to do anything to stop it.
No one on the Redbirds currently has an assist average of over three a game, but many have somewhere between two and three, which shows the players’ willingness to play this style of basketball.
It’s truly a selfless effort when this team is on the court, and its only aim is to win, whether it’s Lofton, Knight, Bobby Hunter, Lee Paris or anyone else out there putting the ball through the hoop.
Another thing to note about this team is that no players are going to graduate until next year, so no matter what happens this year, this core is going to be together, similar to the last core, so there is no telling what the future holds for the young squad of Redbirds.
Team-oriented play can go a long way in college basketball, especially in the MVC, so who knows how far this team will go this season. With that being said, this team isn’t going to go out with ease, as it’s going to bring everything it has.