The rollercoaster year of Dwayne Smith began with the confidence gained from a satisfying sophomore campaign. Dwayne started 20 games that season after failing to start a single contest as a freshman. His minutes increased by 6.5 minutes per game, his scoring rose from 5.1 to 9.3 per game, his rebound totals increased from 2.8 to 5.1 per game. Last summer, this confidence was evident during Kenner play. Dwayne's play was aggressive, not just his tendency to take the ball hard to the basket, but also in his desire to take shots during big moments in the game. Dwayne went from wondering whether he was among the best players on the court to believing that he was. Along with Lasan Kromah (specifically due to his coming off of an injury) and Bryan Bynes, these were the Colonials I was most look forward to seeing play last season.
Unfortunately, an injury that created "concussion-like symptoms" derailed Dwayne's season. Already faced with learning the playbook of a new coaching regime, Dwayne fell further behind due to being unable to take the court with his teammates. When he was cleared to play, Dwayne often looked unsure of himself. He was caught out-of-position at times on defense, and his inability to grasp the flex offense was apparent. The irony of course was that Dwayne's game, specifically his ability to catch and shoot from midrange, ought to be tailor-made for the flex. However, when Dwayne's confidence went away, his perimeter shooting went along with it. Dwayne went from attempting 98 three point shots during his first two seasons to taking only 6 such shots last season. No longer a threat from three, Dwayne appeared to press on his midrange shot as well. Although his overall shooting percentage was very much in line with his past two seasons, this could be attributed to a number of putbacks and easier two point shots that Dwayne, to his credit, was able to manufacture down low.
Once A10 play began, Dwayne began to round into form. For a 12 game stretch (which included the OOC game against Harvard), Dwayne averaged just over 23 minutes a game, averaging nearly 9 points on 51% shooting from the floor. His final 6 games were far more disappointing. His minutes were cut to under 17 per game and his scoring fell to 5.5 points on 33% shooting during this stretch. Clearly, ML and staff had lost some confidence as well.
So the call to make is an obvious one: Do you anticipate Dwayne Smith bouncing back to have a productive senior season, or with more competition for minutes this upcoming season, would you anticipate more of the same inconsistency that he experienced last season?