Mid-season evaluations for Huskies

By Todd McMahon

Believe it or not, we’ve reached the halfway mark of the basketball season. Head coach Brian Hamme’s squad has come a long waysince last season and continues to improve from week to week.

Senior Randy Fens, after having a solid season for the first 12 games, has played extremely well for the Huskies in the past two contests. Fens is now shooting an even 50 percent on the year and has scored 34 points and grabbed 23 boards in the last two games.

In contrast to Fens is junior college transfer Randy Tucker, who was sensational early in the season scoring in double figures for six straight games. In NIU’s last two games, however, Tucker has struggled in his shooting from the field.

Hammel reasoned some of this many result from the increased responsibilities that the coaches have placed on him.

“It’s a little different for him now,” Hammel said. “We’re asking him to make a lot more decisions than he’s ever had to make before. Now we’re trying to make him a total player.”

“In fairness to him, some of his points have been taken away because he’smade a better conscious effort of getting the ball inside to Fens.”

With the bulk of the scoring in the last two games coming from leading scorer Mike Lipnisky, Hubert Register and Fens, Hammel is looking for others to step up and contribute with greater consistency.

“We’d certainly like to get a little bit more offense from (Steve) Oldendorf (6.0 ppg),” Hammel said. “Tucker, early in the year was our leading scorer … Randy sacrificed a little bit. Now it’s ‘when do I shoot; when do I pass?’ That’s growth. Hopefully he can grow through this and in another couple of games be better for the stretch run.”