If there’s a team in the GLVC that has bedeviled USI in the Rodney Watson era, it’s Bellarmine. The Knights pass the ball so well that Watson’s sophisticated defenses are sometimes reduced to irrelevance. The Knights also usually have a mid-sized player who is almost impossible to guard. This season, that player seems to be 6-foot-6 Jake Thelen. He was named the GLVC Player of the Week this week after missing only three shots in three games last week. The rest of his stat line went like this (quoting directly from the GLVC news release because, frankly, I don’t feel like paraphrasing it, although I did perform some minor editing; besides, the release does a good job describing what he did):
“The Edgewood, Ky., native opened the week with a career high 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds in just 24 minutes as the Knights cruised past West Virginia Tech 86-51. Thelen was 10 of 11 from the field, missing only a rare 3-point attempt. On Friday, Thelen’s scoring dipped a little as he made four of five shots and totaled 12 points, but he found teammates for open shots, dishing out five assists on the night. The 6-6 forward ended the week with a solid effort against Ohio Valley. After the Knights struggled in the opening minutes, Thelen asserted himself and helped the Knights turn the game into a rout by pouring in 15 points (on 6-of-6 shooting) and hauling in nine boards in the first half. With just limited action in the second half, he still managed to finish with a double-double, netting 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
“For the week, he was 21 of 24 (.875) from the field, 10 of 15 from the free-throw line (.667), and averaged 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in just 24.3 minutes per game.”
And Thelen’s a junior. I figure 6-6 senior Orlando Rutledge — he of the long arms and quick feet — will get the privilege of guarding Thelen come the first meeting between USI and Bellarmine, at Knights Hall on Monday, Jan. 20.