BURN THE HORSEThe early season surprise for UALR has been the play of junior Marlon Louzeiro.
"I think he's really making hte most of his minutes. When you get six minutes, when you get eight minutes you maximize your minutes. He got eight minutes at St. Bonaventure where he was 3 for 5 from the floor and 2 for 3 from the free throw line and had 2 offensive rebounds," said UALR Coach Steve Shields. "That's what you're looking for from a team standpoint."
Louzeiro, who is from Brazil, has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. His role on his junior college team was to set screens and rebound. And his statistics were unimpressive when he signed with UALR.
Louzeiro has worked hard and done what the coaches have asked of him. But the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit too.
Louzeiro could have played and contributed last season. But his degree plan was going to require him to be at UALR for three years and a decision was made to redshirt him. There's no doubt that Louzeiro could have helped when Mike Smith went down with an injury in December. Louzeiro and Smith are somewhat similar players (Smith is a little quicker, but Louzeiro probably shoots the ball better). But the coaches decided to keep the redshirt on Louzeiro to preserve his two seasons.
And Louzeiro made the most of his year off with the help of strength coach John Barron. Louzeiro practiced with the team everyday, but he also went through tough, tough workouts with Barron in the mornings. These included strength and agility drills. Louzeiro wasn't great at them when they started, but he worked hard and got better. Each day when he finished he was covered with sweat and Barron was more and more encouraged.
His hard work has paid off with his start to the season. And the coaching staff will benefit from his improvement over the next two years.