- Clutch – DJ proved this last season, coming up with some big plays down the stretch. He really seems to have the ‘grab-an-offensive-board-then-get fouled-and-drain-2-pressure-free-throws-with-under-2-minutes-left’ move down to a T. He made some huge plays in home wins against MN and Illinois, and also on the road @ Florida.
- Strong Finish – Despite struggling throughout the year, DJ turned in a solid postseason. In the BTT and NIT (7 games), DJ averaged 8.1 points (56% from the field) and 4.7 rebounds in 24 minutes. Those figures probably would have been better if he didn’t bruise his tailbone against ND. We can only hope his postseason play will be a springboard for a much better season from DJ next year.
- Foul Shooting – Easily our best free throw shooter. Really, the only time he has failed from the line was when he missed two front ends @ Georgia Tech in the 2nd half. Otherwise, he’s been money, especially in late-game situations. I say this, though, and DJ has a pedestrian 76% career FT%.
- This is all you need to know about DJ’s season. Below are DJ’s conference stats from his first 2 years here for comparison purposes.
There is absolutely no way in the world I would have said PSU had a chance to win 27 games this year if DJ put up those numbers. His whole conference season was an enigma. There were no off-the-court issues that we know of, so why DJ’s production plummeted after November will forever be a mystery. His lackluster performance this season has also brought a few clouds over the once-bright potential of his career. I really thought DJ was going to take a big step forward and come close to averaging 10 points a game. He’s a very smart player who has enough athleticism at this level to be a consistent starter. Will he ever become one? DJ returning to form is crucial for PSU’s success next season. He will also be looked upon by coach D to fill the leadership void left by the graduated seniors.
Best Performance of the Year
- @ Florida – 14 points, 5-7 FG, 4 rebounds
Jamelle Cornley was the star of this game and PSU wouldn’t have won without his performance. But I don’t know if PSU could have won with Cornley’s effort if it wasn’t for DJ, either. This game displayed the role I feel DJ needs to fill consistently for this team. He’s never going to be a go-to option. But he can put himself in a position to be a threat on offense. He made open shots that forced Florida to pay attention to him, opening up space for the rest of the team. He eefended and rebounded well, which is his MO. And he came up with a huge, short jumper as the shot clock buzzer went off near the end of the game. The shot saved a wasted possession and extended PSU’s lead from 63-59 to 65-59 with less than a minute left.
Final Grade: D
Unfortunately, a D might be a little too generous here. A third year sophomore, who played a significant amount his freshman year (started half of the games), has got to put up more than 1.7 PPG in conference play. The conference season is easily the most important part of the schedule for any team and is generally used as the best indicator of player performance and ability. DJ failed horribly during the Big Ten season.