Freshman guard continues to impress

By Tom Burton

In a season filled with disappointing losses, under-achieving player performances and big lead surrenders, freshman guard Eugene German has played like someone the Huskies will be able to depend on for this season and hopefully the next three years.

If anyone was to say at the beginning of the season that they were looking forward to what German could bring to the team, a strange look may have followed. This is one of those strange, breakout scenarios nobody expected.

Coming into the season, the key players for the team were anticipated to be the team’s seniors — forward Aaric Armstead and center Marin Maric. Head Coach Mark Montgomery went on the record when saying the success of the ball club begins with the seniors on the team.

However, the success of the team this year and for the coming years depends on the play of a six-foot, 19-year-old point guard averaging nearly 21 points per game in his past four games and playing around 30 minutes per game in that span.

It is hard to imagine anyone expecting this kind of output from German as a freshman.

In the beginning of the season, German was stuck on the bench as he averaged just over eight minutes per game and only scored three points per game through the team’s first seven games but has seen his role increase throughout the season, especially as of late.

German was named a starter on Feb. 14 for the first time in his Huskie career and has logged nearly 30 minutes per game since.

Montgomery has realized he needs to keep his young point guard on the floor as the season has progressed.

“He’s a hard worker because he is always in the gym and watching film,” Montgomery said. “He is probably a little ahead of the [learning] curve right now because he definitely leads us.”

Saying he may be ahead of the learning curve might be an understatement given German’s recent stretch of games. However, Montgomery applauded the recent stretch that German is on, saying he is not playing like a freshman right now.

“I’m just doing whatever coach asks me to do, whether it’s working hard in practice or getting into the gym more,” German said. “I just let the game come to me and let the offense flow.”

Whatever German is doing, he needs to keep doing it. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working because it is putting him in the spotlight as the Huskies’ point guard of the future.

My apologies to sophomore guard Laytwan Porter, freshman guard Justin Thomas or anyone else who may be buried at the end of the bench, but German is just a step ahead of the pack.

German is the no-brainer starting point guard for the future and will soon be a player whom other teams will have to plan for, if he hasn’t earned that respect already.

Even with his rapid rise of play, German is still a freshman and has some kinks to work out. For example, last week, when the Huskies were playing Ball State University and gave up a huge lead, the ball was in German’s hands to end the game. In crunch time, German missed a layup and committed a costly turnover, leading to a basket on the other end.

German is still adjusting to basketball at the collegiate level, but the NCAA and Mid-American Conference opponents better be ready for when he does make the adjustments. That’s a tough cover, and I’m glad I won’t have to be the one to guard him.