GRU sophomore point guard Keshun Sherrill opened the season with 37 points in a home win over rival Anderson College. Impressive. He entered Wednesday's game against then undefeated Valdosta State with this stat line after the season's first three games (all wins): 22 ppg on 58% field goal shooting, 53% 3 point shooting, and 94% FT shooting. Very impressive. I thought that unless he is destined to rewrite the college basketball record books, this pace will have to slow. And it would seem that Wednesday's game would be as likely a time as any. Not so.
Sherrill scored 20 points and made 6 of 9 field goals, 2 of 3 three point attempts, and 6 of 6 free throws in the Jags' 92-61 thrashing of Valdosta State. And he was not the only statistical wonder Wednesday. Senior inside-out threat Devon Wright Nelson scored 17 points, making 7 of 9 from the field and 2 of 4 from deep.
The Jaguars essentially put on an offensive clinic in Wednesday's first half, making nearly 65% of their shots. A bunch of guys made an impact. Sherrill is consistently the most dynamic scorer of the bunch, dropping shots from deep (like the one he created all by himself as the Jags held the ball for the half's last shot); beating his man and pulling up for his soft jump shot or floater; or challenging at the rim:
Devon Wright-Nelson's offensive performance was on a par with Sherrill's, which says a mouthful. I especially liked the variety of ways in which he scored, and the ways he did it within the flow of the Jags' offense. He screened, opened up to the ball, and buried a three on the right wing in the first half. That possession was shortly after screening down for Sherrill, who received the ball and fed Devon in the post, leading to a sweet lefty jump hook by Wright-Nelson. But my favorite was in the second half when he caught the ball at the top of the key, ripped through and blew by his defender, stopped short and swished a soft floater in the paint. These possessions are stitched together in this video:
Senior guards Devonte Thomas and D'Angelo Boyce were hitting on all cylinders as well. Along with Wright-Nelson, these two have been connecting for baskets for four years. Every time Thomas catches and shoots I think it is going in. He made 4 of 8 from deep Wednesday. And Boyce always makes the right play. His three off the inside-out action with Henry McCarthy was a good example of his knack for providing whatever is needed at the appropriate time. But my favorite play from this veteran duo was the baseline drive by Boyce that ended in DA's pass to the opposite corner to Thomas, who drained the long ball. There is no telling how many times these two have executed such a play over the years of game, practice, and pickup action. Very fun to watch. See for yourself here:
Contributions from the four players featured above would probably be sufficient to take GRU on a fun ride. But newcomer Keith Crump and post players Henry McCarthy and Vlad Cobzaru all complement these veterans nicely. And I will surely be breaking down their strengths and contributions here soon.
Statistically speaking, it is difficult to imagine GRU executing more effectively than they did Wednesday, or even during the first four games of the season, all double-digit victories. The Jags face real tests this weekend at Shaw and at Mt. Olive before returning to Augusta to visit Paine at the HEAL Center next Wednesday (Paine knocked off rival and Division II power USC Aiken Tuesday).
But it is not difficult to imagine this GRU team being as good as any I've seen in a while. And that is saying a whole lot given the consistent success coach Dip Metress has brought to the school. The team is already a thrill to watch. Here's hoping they become as good a team by the end of the season as their stellar offensive statistics have been at the beginning.