Saturday, December 20, 2014

Flying from the Bench

Kyle Reid photo from AP
(AP photo/John F. Rhodes)
Earlier today I posted about the fabulous starting five for the Eagles, now it's time to take a look at their reserves.

Tournament play relies on quality depth, playing in multiple high intensity games over a short period of time will wear out anyone.  These 4 Eagles will need to shine when they hit the court if Eastern wants to be a serious contender for the Big Sky Conference this season.

Click through to find the who, why and how.

Junior Forward Kyle Reid is proving himself a quality rebounder and defender in the post.  In 9.1 minutes per game he's averaging 1.8 rebounds, .3 steals and .3 blocks per contest.  He's been very limited offensively, taking just over 1 shot per game.  Coach Hayford would like to get him more minutes because he is such an asset on the boards and in defense, but he's not going to be able to do that if Kyle can't show him some offensive threat to keep teams honest while he's on the floor.

Sophomore Forward Felix Von Hofe can shoot the ball from anywhere, but disappears to easily on defense.  He also fouls in bunches, most likely trying to make up for being out of position.  Last night at Cal he wracked up 5 fouls in just 18 minutes on a night when the Eagles really needed some quality minutes to recharge.  Felix is young and talented and should continue to grow, but Eastern will need to see some steadier minutes as they go forward.

Freshman Guard Sir Washington is going to be a very good player in the Big Sky.  He gave the Eagles 13 solid minutes in their win over Indiana and as the Eagles starters wore down over the last two games Coach Hayford leaned upon him to give the team a spark.  He shot just 33% in those two games, but also wracked up 6 rebounds 3 steals and 1 assist in 39 total minutes.  His defense is tenacious, though a bit over aggressive at times as he adjusts to DI play, and offensively he looks capable of shooting anywhere.  He can get up and jam and he can hit it from 3.  Keep an eye on him as he grows in the system and look for the Eagles to lean on him more and more as the season progresses.

Freshman Forward Bogdan Bliznyuk has the potential to be a great offensive player.  He has a lot of developing to do in the rest of his game but he's hitting 57% of his shots including 75% from beyond the arc.  If he can start defending close to the level of his shooting he will be called upon to play long stretches this season.  Along with Sir Washington, Bogdan is a player to watch and could develop into a top player in this conference.  In the meantime, he will continue to get time spelling "OG" and Venky so hopefully he will continue to take and make a lot of baskets.

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