BURN THE HORSE
Unless something changes, UALR will either start a freshman or a walk-on at point guard the entire 2012-2013 season.
|Josh Hagins (left) and John Gillon (right) are|
among those competing for minutes at the
point guard position.
All the apparent candidates for that position are either freshmen (Josh Hagins and John Gillon) or walk-ons (Ted Crass and Casey Wilmath (redshirt freshman)). Typically, that’s a recipe for disaster. It remains to be seen whether or not this season can buck that trend.
I was trying to find something comparable in Steve Shields’ time at UALR. About the closest thing I could come up with was the 2006-2007 season. That season UALR started sophomore Buddy Harding and freshman Steven Moore at point guard all season. And it ultimately didn’t work out. UALR finished 13-17 overall, 8-10 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Moore and Harding were very different types of point guards who brought very different games to the court. When Moore was in the game, UALR scored more. But the Trojans also gave up more points. The opposite was true for Harding. UALR scored less with him in the game but gave up fewer points.
In fact, this was the first time I really started looking into plus/minus ratings. Of course, these plus/minus ratings are now a Burn The Horse staple. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but Harding’s plus/minus was a little better than Moore’s.
So how does any of this relate to this season?
It is likely point guard duties are going to primarily fall to one of the two freshmen. Both were highly touted point guards in high school. And both will have to make adjustments to play at UALR. I’d also say both were rated higher out of high school than Moore or Harding.
But here’s the biggest difference: Supporting cast.
The Moore/Harding supporting cast was Terrance Akins, D’Andre Eggins, Byron Ray and Rashad Jones-Jennings. Who of those would you take over Ben Dillard, Taggart Lockhart, Will Neighbour and Michael Javes/Gus Leeper? Maybe Jones-Jennings for his rebounding? And that doesn't even include the new players added to the roster.
Taking that into consideration, it's clear the inexperienced point guards have a lot more to work with this time around. We’ll have to wait to see if they take advantage of it.