It seems that Larry Shyatt has had his starting five figured out from the very start of this season. Only a small injury or two has forced him to alter the lineup. By now we're very used to seeing this group hit the court to start the game and see a majority of the minutes.
PG - JayDee Luster
SG - Francisco Cruz
SF - Luke Martinez
PF - Leonard Washington
C- Adam Waddell
There are also only a few players on the bench that see significant minutes. That group includes Larry Nance Jr, Derrious Gilmore, Arthur Bouedo and Rob Watsabaugh. All have stepped up this season and made good use of their minutes. Let's take a closer look at each one of these players and see if one stands out yet as the sixth man.
F Larry Nance Jr - Freshmen
3.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks per game.
Nance has played in every game this year and is averaging over 15 minutes per game. With his size and athleticism he has been able to contribute all over the court. He is the second leading rebounder on the team with 64 on the year. That is ahead of Luke Martinez who has 55 and Francisco Cruz's 43. Despite playing 10 less minutes per game. Adam Waddell somehow only has 42 rebounds on the year. Nance is also second on the team with 12 blocks.
The versatility of Nance allows for him to play the three or the four. That means Shyatt can sub Cruz, Martinez or Washington and put in Nance. Martinez can move to shooting guard if Nance and Washington are on the floor together. Nance also only missed one free throw attempt this year (17/18). His hustle on the court is always great to see.
PG Derrious Gilmore - Junior
4.2 points, 1.2 assists, 1.1 rebounds, 0.6 steals
When JayDee Luster is not on the floor then that must mean Gilmore is on the court. The Cowboys have kept a pretty tight rotation between the two and Gilmore has done well with his 14 minutes a game. He got the ball plenty against Idaho State on December 22nd and finished with a career high 18 points. He's fourth on the team with 10 three pointers on the year. His assist to turnover ratio has not been great: 18/17. Still if Luster gets in foul trouble then Gilmore can certainly come in and do the job.
SG Arthur Bouedo - Senior
2.8 points, 1.1 rebounds, 47.2 FG%
Bouedo is playing less minutes this year but his productivity has actually increased. While he is only averaging 10 minutes a contest he is making the most of that time. A perfect example of that is in the game against Utah Valley on Tuesday he played four minutes but hit the one shot he attempted which was a three pointer. He got the start against South Dakota due to Luke Martinez dealing with concussion symptoms. In that game Bouedo erupted for 14 points.
Last year Bouedo shot just 32% from the field.
F Rob Watsabaugh - Senior
1.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 68 FG%
It is amazing that Larry Shyatt has found over 11 minutes a game for Rob Watsabaugh to play. He didn't play at all last year under Schroyer and in 2009 he only saw limited action in nine games. With the Cowboys not having a lot of depth upfront Watsabaugh has gotten the call from Shyatt and used the most of that time. I find it amazing that Shyatt has been able to get so much out of a player that the former coach had at the end of the bench.
Hopefully we'll be able to add another candidate to this list later in the season. Afam Muojeke is still working his way back slowly from his knee surgeries. He has appeared in 11 games this year and is averaging 2.36 points in seven minutes. His experience and talent would be a great addition to the Cowboys for conference play if his body can take the pounding.