Evaluating the Penguins
By Steve Porter
Although it’s early in the season, a look at the Youngstown State basketball squad indicates the team needs to develop and mature if it is to be competitive in the Horizon League this season. While the team has shot very well from the free throw line (81%), their shooting from the field has been extremely inconsistent. As a team they’ve hit just 41% of their field goal attempts. Even more disconcerting has been their effectiveness from beyond the arc. They have knocked down just 24% of their 3-point attempts. But their opponents have not fared much better: 42% from the field including 33% of their 3-point attempts. On a positive front, the team is out-rebounding their opponents by more than 2 rpg and they have made 2-1/2 less turnovers per game than their opponents. Thus far the Penguins have averaged 67.8 ppg while their opponents have averaged 66.6 ppg.
Here's a quick position-by-position look at how players have performed thus far:
Tim Lostetter is averaging 25.6 mpg, 10.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, and 4.4 apg. He’s hitting 37% of his FG attempts and just 18% of his 3’s. Levall Hart is his backup with 9.6 mpg, 2.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, and 0.8 apg. He has hit just 27% of his FG’s and 25% of his 3’s. While adequate, neither is yet a standout. But both are sophomores so there is hope for substantial development and maturity as the season progresses.
Senior Josh Jones, a second year starter, has yet to play up to his level of last season. While playing 26.0 mpg, he’s averaging just 7.8 ppg and hitting only 32% of his FG’s and 17% of his 3’s. On the positive side he is averaging 5.0 rpg and 2.2 apg. Meanwhile Lonnie Holt has been a pleasant surprise. Rarely used last season, the junior has played 14.4 mpg and averaged 8.2 ppg, hitting 54% of his FG’s and 44% of his 3’s. But he’s only pulled down 0.6 rpg and dished out 0.4 apg. He’s been a valuable reserve and is developing into a valuable 6th man who can come in and provide a quick offensive spark. Together the two are contributing 16 ppg.
Chad Delzell returns as a second-year starter and is the team's top rebounder. He is averaging 25.2 mpg, 7.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, and 1.4 apg. He is shooting well from the field (46%), although his 20% from 3-point distance is subpar. His 17 points and 12 rebounds in the Penguins’ last game reveals he can be dominant, but he has also disappeared in a few games. Another junior Rick Martin is Delzell’s relief. Martin’s play has been inconsistent, but he’s averaging 14.4 mpg, 4.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, and 0.8 apg. While he’s not a strong rebounder like Delzell, Martin has hit 50% of his FG’s and 40% of his 3’s. The Penguins could use a little more offensive output at this position.
While junior Rich Braswell has started 4 of the team’s 5 games at this position, freshman Aaron Tice, who has started the other game, has been on the court a little more time. Braswell is averaging 17.6 mpg and Tice 19.4 mpg. Braswell averaged 5.6 ppg while Tice hits for 6.4 ppg. Braswell has knocked down 42% of this FG’s and Tice 46%. Neither has attempted a 3-pointer. Braswell is the stronger rebounder (4.8 rpg) to Tice’s 3.6 rpg. Braswell has 0.8 apg and Tice 0.6 apg. As Tice develops, he is likely to get an even higher percentage of playing time.
Jamal Grady played well as a freshman last year, moving into the starting lineup midway through last season. This year he is averaging 23.0 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, and 2.0 apg. He is only scoring on 41% of his FG attempts and hasn’t shot a 3-pointer. Expected to star on the team this season, his performance thus far is close but not quite as strong as last season. The Penguins need him to be more aggressive on the boards. Freshman Kent Jones has been his main backup. Jones is averaging 11.0 mpg, 3.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg, and 0.4 apg. So there’s a drop off in performance when Grady is off the court, but Jones should develop as the season progresses.
Freshman small forward William Worley and two walk-on sophomores, center Kevin Anderson and power forward Charlie Paben, have combined to play about 9 mpg and score 1.2 ppg.