En Guard: An Analysis of EMU’s Guard Play
Quantity, not quality. Maybe that is a little harsh, but if our guard situation could be summed up in one phrase that seems appropriate. We have no less than six guards for three positions, and it seems like each night Rob Murphy is making gumbo with this group. A sprinkle of Quintin Dailey on one night mixed with J.R. Sims, or maybe Austin Harper and Derek Thompson the next game. It seems like only (a healthy) Darrell Lampley is the consistent ingredient.
All have strengths, but more noticeably all have serious shortcomings. Lampley is the best offensive player in the group. After that, you just got to ride the hot hand. Dailey has played well of late, but still lacks consistency. Antonio Green can hit a big shot for you, and believe me that is valuable and appreciated, but his offensive game consists of hitting an open three on occasion. He should not be driving to the hoop. Derek Thompson is a better shooter with more offensive game than Green, but has not been at the level he was last year and has faced reduced minutes. J.R. Sims is all-out on defensive effort, but also cannot string together any kind of offensive consistency.
Which brings us to the two point guards, Darrell Lampley and Austin Harper. Lamp can score, no question. He can hit a three and is also pretty solid driving to the hoop. But his ball handling leads to too many turnovers. Enter Harper, who for the most part makes good decisions with the basketball, but cannot drive to the hoop and is not a reliable shooter. The decision by Murphy to start these two together does make sense, and Harper’s ability to protect the rock negates the turnovers from Lampley and allows Lamp to focus a little more on scoring. Ben Braun use to slide Earl Boykins to the two every now and then for just the same purpose. Not to equate Lampley with Boykins…
Overall, we need a talent upgrade at all guard positions. The hope is that Murphy will bring in some recruits to do just that. In the mean time, EMU fan can appreciate the defensive effort given on a nightly basis by this group. If Coach Murphy can add the right ingredients, we just might end up with a first place bowl of gumbo at season’s end.
Note: In both analyses I did not include Anthony Strickland. Strickland is kind of a tweener, a reliable effort guy who fits the mold of what Murphy likes to do defensively. Strickland is athletic and brings enthusiasm, but I need to see more before I can really gauge his value. It is worth mentioning that his stock went up after his performance against Bowling Green yesterday.