It’s fun for me to see when the light finally comes on for younger players, particularly freshmen. Their game appears to the fans as though it’s blossomed out of nowhere, when, in fact, it’s just starting to bloom.
It takes each player a different amount of time to be successful. There are a number of factors that go into this process that are fascinating to me.
Two players that are currently seeing the light are Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr., and Indiana’s Stanford Robinson. Both have contributed to their teams on the offensive end and are making clutch plays in late-game situations.
I’m surprised the Wolverines are off to an undefeated start in conference play without Mitch McGary. I thought the added pressure for Nick Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III would be too much to overcome. They have been stellar in Mitch’s absence, and Walton’s been a reason why. His emergence gives the Wolverines another scorer, facilitator, and possible threat in late-game situations, similar to what we saw in their win at Nebraska.
Robinson, meanwhile, has career highs in scoring in two of his last three games. He scored 11 points against Michigan State and 13 in the upset win over No. 3 Wisconsin. This tells me he elevates his game when competing against the best. I like that Stanford has taken only 6 3-pointers out of his total 73 field goal attempts this season. That indicates he already knows his game well and stays within himself, something that is rare from freshman getting consistent playing time.
I look forward to watching other freshman like Kendrick Nunn (Illinois), Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin), and Marc Loving (Ohio State) to see when the light comes on for them.
Remember this Walton shot?
Robinson shows off his all-around game:
|About Stephen Bardo
||The BTN basketball analyst and former Flyin’ Illini star is a regular contributor to BTN.com. Follow Bardo on Twitter @stephenbardo, read his past posts right here, and use the form below to submit your questions to his Big Ten basketball mailbag.|