The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.
Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.
I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.
No. 15: Improved Pollard
A year ago, Dayton coach Archie Miller said, matter of factly, about Kendall Pollard’s free-throw shooting, “He’s not a good free-throw shooter. He knows it. I know it. All 13,000 people here know it. Here’s the thing: he can only go up. He’s got to continue to work, and we’ll continue to work with him.”
Pollard brought up free throws on his own Thursday when I talked to him at the Cronin Center. I asked what he wanted to improve about his game. Free throws and jump shots, he said.
Pollard hit the occasional mid-range jump shot last season and did take major strides at the line (33 percent as a freshman to 58 percent last season) but still fell well short of where he needs to be if UD wants to depend on him at the line in close games. He wants to shoot in the upper 70s this season.
“I think I’ve progressed at the free-throw line,” Pollard said. “The jump shot’s been falling in practice lately. Those two areas are definitely where I’ve been focusing this offseason. I’ve been getting a lot of free throws up before and after practice. That’s helped me improve.”
Pollard said he has worked with Miller and graduate assistant Brian Frank to eliminate what he called the weird spin on the ball he had in the past when he shot free throws.
“I changed that up,” Pollard said, “and it’s going in.”
Point guard Scoochie Smith has seen the proof.
“When we do our little scrimmage games, Kendall’s been knocking down some free throws,” Smith said. “He knocked down two for us to win a game yesterday in practice. He’s been really improving a lot. I know he’s shooting them every day after practice. He gets fouled a lot, and he’s taken pride in improving that part of his game.”