GW's Luke Eddy is the Mountain State Athletic Conference's leading scorer, averaging 26.6 points.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Becoming the unquestioned go-to scoring option and leader of George Washington's boys basketball team has left senior guard Luke Eddy to walk a razor-thin line.When to shoot, when not to shoot. When to take the ball to the rim, when to shoot open jumpers. When to take the game into his own hands and when to distribute and get teammates involved.These are dilemmas that face Eddy nearly every time he brings the ball over halfcourt, but so far he's walked the tightrope beautifully while leading the ever-improving Patriots through a successful first half of the season.Eddy leads the Mountain State Athletic Conference in scoring (26.6 points per game) and has George Washington off to an 8-3 start, a mark that's borderline overachieving considering how much the Patriots lost to graduation and injuries from last season.Indeed, he hasn't faltered while walking this on-court balance beam, and GW and coach Rick Greene are reaping the benefits."I think it's probably a little bit of a struggle," Greene said. "It'd be easy for him to think, 'I feel better with me going to do this,' but he really doesn't do that. If we hit a spot where we're struggling, he might go to the rim, but from day one until now, that's probably been one of his biggest improvements on the year. He's not forcing it; he's letting the game come to him."He doesn't panic, he plays for 32 minutes and realizes that he's going to get his looks and get to the line."Eddy prefers to look at it from a simpler point of view.
"Basically every time I have the ball in my hands, I try to create something," Eddy said. "Whether it's a shot for me or a shot for someone else, it doesn't matter. If [a teammate] has a better look than me, I have no problem getting them the ball. I'm going to be playing point guard on the next level and that's my job."The next level will come at Elon University in Greensboro, N.C., a place where Green fully expects Eddy to thrive."I think he's going to be fine," Greene said. "He's very intelligent - it's literally like having another coach on the floor. I think he'll be fine. He's long and he's stronger than people give him credit for. I think he's going to make a quick adjustment to that level - he's got all the qualities."GW came within a point of claiming its second straight state championship last year with Eddy playing a huge role, but then there were other options like Dustin Crouser (injury), Tino diTrapano (graduation), Darian Williams (graduation) and Thomas Francke (graduation) to help shoulder the load.It's not that the Patriots aren't talented this year, but most of the other players on GW's roster, outside of fellow senior Austin Breeden, hadn't logged significant varsity time before this season and are still settling into roles within Greene's system. Breeden, in fact, was the top returning scorer aside from Eddy with a mere 55 points all season.
But Eddy has thrived in picking up the slack while the team continues to solidify and improve."He's really making everyone else better," Greene said. "With him scoring that much, you would think he's the only one, but in the last couple of games, we've had four different guys score in double figures. I think what's being overlooked is his shot attempts. It's not like he's shooting it 35 times. His shot selection for the most part is outstanding and his percentages are very high. I've seen a lot of scorers that shoot it 35 or 40 times a game that average 28 points, but he's very efficient and a very complete player."
Eddy credits his postseason experience over the past couple of seasons for contributing to his leadership skills."It helped me a lot," Eddy said. "I've played in the state championship and won a state championship, so I've been in big games. Every game this year is a big game and I know I need to be ready to play every time we hit the court. I know what's coming up in the second part of the season and so does Austin, so we need to be able to get everyone prepared for that."Not only has Eddy been able to handle the challenges of leading a young team, he has done it in the face of double teams more often than not.In fact, Eddy said he has not faced a double team in only one game this year. That game was against Winfield and the senior guard poured in 44 points."It's a good challenge," Eddy said. "I take it as a sign of a respect. Plus, if they're doubling me, that means we have someone without a guy on him and it's my job to find him." So far, Eddy has done his job and has the offensive statistics to back that up. However, when it comes to his team's improvement, he claims the real evidence is on the defensive end.
"The biggest improvement that we've made is getting our defense set," Eddy said. "We played Capital [in the first game of the season] and we were winning with four seconds left and they went down and made a layup and beat us. Coach Greene has really stressed getting back on defense and making them attack all five of us at once."Green said it's an ongoing all-around change."We feel like we're getting better and better, like a lot of other people," Greene said. "We're pretty happy with the progress we've made and we hope we keep getting better and closing the gap."Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.