Receiving balanced production from throughout the roster has been a big reason for the Shippensburg University men’s basketball team’s 6-1 start to the season.
Three different Raiders are averaging double-digit points, led by junior Jake Biss’s 16.3 points per game. Biss is shooting 48.9% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range.
Senior John Castello has continued to provide a steady presence on both ends of the floor for the Raiders. He is averaging 16.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
One of the things to watch for the Raiders so far this season has been the play of sophomore Carlos Carter. Carter, who was a defensive specialist in his limited minutes as a freshman, has undergone an offensive explosion to the tune of averaging 13.1 points per game. Of the team’s main shot-takers, he leads the team in field goal percentage (50.8), although he has not been able to get his shot going consistently from beyond the arc.
Carter is doing all of that while continuing to play good defense for the Raiders. He has recorded 11 steals and his four blocks are tied for the team lead.
Redshirt sophomore Dom Sleva has stepped into the role of being the main scorer off the bench this season. He is averaging 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, but arguably the most important part of his game this season has been his ability to hit shots from 3-point range. He is shooting 39.1% from beyond the arc on 23 attempts so far this season.
The Raiders also have a pair of transfers this season, sophomore Luke Nedrow (Marist College) and junior Kiyon Hardy (Kutztown University). Nedrow is averaging 8.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as he is making the adjustment to playing as the starting center for SU.
Hardy, whose stats don’t stick out, has been one of the more important players to this team. Head coach Chris Fite said Hardy’s ability to do a bit of everything on the floor, as evidenced by a balanced stat line that includes 16 assists, six steals and three blocks. He plays starter’s minutes for the Raiders (25.1 minutes per game) and Fite has said he could start on most other teams in the conference.
A couple of team stats that could prove crucial over the course of the season are 3-point shooting and free-throw shooting. The Raiders are shooting only 29.8% from beyond the arc, a troubling sign for a team that takes 3-pointers on a consistent basis. However, the team does get to the free-throw line at a high rate and is taking advantage. The team is averaging 14.4 free throws per game and is hitting them at a 76.5% clip.
The Raiders are in a good position, sitting at 6-1, as the season begins to ramp up heading into December and January. Conference play is just around the corner, and coach Chris Fite’s Raiders appear set to head into that portion of the schedule with positive momentum. The team should be able to continue its high level of play if they receive this balanced production throughout the rest of the season.