Daily Egyptian

SIU offense runs through true point guard

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

SIU men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson has put an emphasis on unselfish basketball this season.

The Salukis have the highest scoring offense in the Missouri Valley Conference in ten games averaging 80.2 points per game.

Hinson brought in six new faces, including junior guard Mike Rodriguez, after five players transferred last season. Rodriguez has started in all ten games for the Salukis and leads the team in assists with 40.

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“Seeing the banners with all the things [SIU] did in the [NCAA] tournament, you know that’s a dream for me,” Rodriguez said.

The Salukis finished last season with 274 total assists and 423 turnovers, making a .6 assist to turnover average. Through ten games this season the Salukis have 130 assists and 139 turnovers, making their assist to turnover ratio just less than one.

Hinson said Rodriguez has a knack for stealing the basketball. Rodriguez leads the team with 14 steals.

Rodriguez is the only starter with fewer turnovers — 11 this season — than steals. 

Rodriguez transferred to SIU from Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. He started in all 32 games during his sophomore season at Marshalltown and averaged 22.5 points per game, which ranked No. 8 in the country for NJCAA Division I. He also shot 43.8 percent from the field.

Hinson said usually there is an adjustment period at the beginning of a player’s first season.

Jalen Pendelton is the only guard who transferred last year that had more assists in the entire season than Rodriguez does now. Pendleton finished the season with 51 assists, second only to junior forward Sean O’Brien.

Hinson said the team had to take time to get used to playing with a true point guard.

“We share the ball. Everybody has figured out what everybody can do,” he said. “The first three or four games [Rodriguez] was hitting guys in the face. Bola was coming down the lane and no one has thrown him the ball before — [Rodriguez] is hitting him in the face.”

Junior guard Leo Vincent has come off the bench to run the Saluki offense as point guard along with Rodriguez and Beane.

“When you come into the game with a guard like [Beane] who knows how to put the ball in the basket, I just try to come in and stay aggressive,” Vincent said. “I look to come into the game and play my role.”

Vincent has played in all ten games coming off the bench. He is shooting 50 percent from the field and has nine assists this season.

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or at (618) 536-3304

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