Transfers help lead Pirates to 2-0 start
Newcomers to the Pirates basketball team, juniors Eugene Teague and Brian Oliver, have helped lead the team to a 2-0 record. They have finally made their long awaited return to the court, after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
“I felt bad all last year,” Teague said. “I just wanted to be out there. But I’m here now, so let’s go.”
Oliver’s choice of words to describe his return resembled his play early in the Pirate’s opener against UMKC, excited.
“I mean I felt good, you know coming out early, I was too excited honestly,” Oliver said. “But that’s going to happen coming back from a year and a half, just being excited to be out there.”
While they may have been excited to get back to basketball, Teague and Oliver have shown few signs of a year and a half layoff. Throughout the first two games of the regular season Teague ranks second on the team in scoring and rebounding, recording 15.0 points and nine rebounds. Head coach Kevin Willard is embracing this new asset to the Pirates game plan.
“It’s great,” Willard said. “It gives you an added dimension, you know last year again (Herb Pope) was a power forward who never got to play with a center unfortunately. But with Eugene, even though he’s a little undersized he’s a man. He wants the post; he wants to be in there.”
Willard said how often Teague has been getting the ball so far this season, and how that will continue, that is, of course if Teague can improve in one area.
“He will get it, as long as he starts making his free throws.” Willard said.
Teague is shooting just 8-20 from the line this season, good for 40 percent and second lowest on the team. No matter Teague’s struggles from the foul stripe, the big man isn’t always looking to go up and get fouled. He said he looks to kick the ball out to his wing players too.
“When I get the ball down low I’m always looking to kick it out, and with them being good shooters, that’s a plus,” Teague said.
All of those good shooters add the opposite dimension of what Willard described as inside scoring with Teague, which is the dimension of outside scoring. Oliver, a transfer from Georgia Tech, made 99 career 3-point field goals in 58 games for the Yellow Jackets. The swingman not only acknowledged his capability to score, but also his teammates’ as well.
“It’s a great thing,” Oliver said. “Everybody on this team can score. You know one night someone might be off, but the next four guys might be hitting. It’s just that any night anybody can go off, that’s what’s nice. We have a lot of options.”
Oliver also said that both he and Teague will have a joint role in generating offense for the team this season.
“With just me and him, we’re going to be a big part of the team, a big part of the offense,” Oliver said. “I mean, we already are, but at the same time, we have to get that chemistry with everybody else, so that they can know what spots on the floor to find us.”
So far this season, Oliver is averaging eight points per game and is actively taking 3-point shots, however he is only 2-10 from beyond the.
Despite the low percentage, Teague said he and Oliver will play physically and bring “it” to help win games for the Pirates.
“We can bring the physical aspect to the team,” Teague said. “Because we’re both going to bring it. We’re both going to try and help this team win the best way that we can.”
Dennis Chambers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.