Saluki duo determined to bounce back

By Gus Bode

Carbondale’s Fourth of July celebration won’t be the only fireworks Saluki fans see this year if Justin Bocot and Ryan Hare have their way.

After a disappointing season, Bocot said the duo is ready to light up scoreboards and learn from last year’s experience.

‘We were just under a lot of fire last year,’ the junior guard said.


The left-handed shooting guard played a significant role off the bench last season for what was, at many times, a depleted bunch.

Bocot developed a reputation for his outside shot and athleticism, but said his coaches demanded more than just offensive production last season.

‘Toward the beginning of the season coach said to come in and give us a spark with my offense and my defense, as well as some energy,’ he said.

Assistant coach Lance Irvin said Bocot might have struggled early in the season because he did not play his freshman season, but said the absence allowed him to get bigger, faster and stronger.

Bocot averaged 5.7 points per game and three rebounds in more than 18 minutes a game for the Salukis. He shot more than 35 percent from 3-point range last season.

‘I think we had similar roles,’ sophomore Ryan Hare said of Bocot. ‘But I think the whole team has the same role.’

Hare said that role was to do whatever was needed to help the team win.


‘I’m an offensive player, but I’m also pretty good on defense,’ he said.

‘The biggest thing with Ryan is his consistency,’ Irvin said. ‘He can’t foul as many people as he did last year.’

Hare averaged 7.5 points per game for the Salukis in 24 minutes a contest, shooting more than 40 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from long range.

‘Some games we were going in to score, sometimes we were in playing defense,’ Bocot said. ‘I thought he did extremely well.’

The two guards are only separated in height by one inch as Hare has the edge at 6 feet 4 inches tall.

But there does not seem to be any inside rivalry going on between the two.

Hare said Bocot and the rest of the team is ‘just doing everything we can to get the W’s.’

The Salukis had only 13 wins last year, the least amount of wins since the 1996-97 season.

But Bocot said’ the young team would grow next season.

‘We have a much better understanding of the college game after just one year,’ Bocot said.