Truly a remarkable team this season. Picked to finish sixth in the GLVC East Division by the league’s coaches, the Rangers have put together a run that would seem impossible. Lately, it has won its last six games, its last four by averaging 84.3 points per game. It has seven players averaging more than 20 minutes and another averaging 17. Four players are scoring in double digits.
And they probably have the best player off the bench in the conference: Colt Grandstaff. Overall, this 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior is averaging just 10.5 points. But in league play — which is really what matters — he’s averaging 13.1 points. His most amazing stat is his 3-point shooting. In GLVC games alone, he’s averaging 47.2 percent, with 17 3-pointers in just 36 attempts. I’ll bet most of his shots come with a hand in his face because Parkside’s opponents know all about him by now, yet he still makes them. USI was practically draped over him on Saturday, but Grandstaff went 3-for-4 anyway from behind the arc.
I have a feeling that some USI fans watched Grandstaff and thought about someone the Eagles have who could be their Colt Grandstaff off the bench: Travis Jones. Jones is taller than Grandstaff (6-3) and heavier (200 pounds) and perhaps could be just as deadly. Jones is averaging 35.1 percent (13-for-37) from 3-point land this season. However, he’s only been in 16 of USI’s 21 games — and didn’t play at all in the Eagles’ last two defeats — and is averaging only 4.8 minutes. Yes, he’s a walk-on, and coaches are often loathe to use non-scholarship players over the players they recruited. Still, this might be his moment, but he’s going to need more moments than he’s been getting.