Graduate guard Kyle Smyth will be an impact player for the Pirates this season. In the team’s exhibition game against Wilmington Smyth scored 16 points on 5-11 shooting including a 3-pointer from half court at the buzzer to end the half. He dished out eight assists, grabbed three boards and recorded three steals.
Using a stat line from an exhibition game may not be the best indication of a player’s potential, but it was how he conducted himself on the court that really highlights his abilities. He’s smart, thinks fast, and knows what the opponent is trying to do. He can be a true leader of this young team.
People are saying the Pirates have no seniors on the team and that Smyth doesn’t count because this is his first year at the Hall. Those people forget that he transferred from Iona and played for head coach Kevin Willard for two seasons, so he knows what Willard is trying to teach on the court. He can lead by example.
Smyth is one of Iona’s all-time best 3-point shooters, holding the single-game high of eight 3-pointers made. In 2010-11, Smyth made 75 3-point field goals, the third most in Iona history.
This team will be very difficult to stop offensively. The 6-foot-9 290-pound redshirt junior Eugene Teague is a brick house down low. Unlike Pope he won’t be anywhere near the 3-point line. Teague will surely demand double teams, which can open up the Pirates’ plethora of 3-point shooters.
Brian Oliver, Haralds Karlis, Patrik Auda, Freddie Wilson, Brandon Mobley, Aaron Cosby and Smyth can all hit big 3-pointers. Then you have Mobley, who rarely misses a free-throw line jumper and Auda who makes shots from mid-range when teams guard the perimeter.
The reason Smyth is overlooked as a potential star for the Pirates is because of how deep this team is at every position. They can play big or small and not skip a beat. Before the season I didn’t know who Smyth was, but after seeing the clinic he put on in the exhibition game he might be the hero of this team come March.