The Returning Players -- BJ Monteiro

By Steve DiMiceli
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This is a the first of a series of entries where I'll look back on the seasons the returning players had and discuss what they will need to do moving forward. Each post will be accompanied by poll on the message board.

BJ Monteiro (Career Points: 808)

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Blah Blah Blah. Once again BJ Monteiro's season seems to be defined by his inconsistency between hot games and his games where he simply disappears. Even inconsistencies within the same game where he had one monster half and one mediocre. His ups and downs on the score sheet seem to have lead a stagnation in his points per game improving a meager .3 increase over last season.  His regression at the free throw line didn't help either. You have to take the bad with the good though. His season also should be defined by his overall improvement and his increased value to the team. Some might think I'm crazy for saying this, but BJ may have mattered more to this team than any other player in spite of his inconsistencies, in spite of his struggles at the FT line.

Allow me to explain. The Dukes were 4-7 when BJ failed to score 10 points and 15-6 when he did. For the sake of comparison, the Dukes were 3-1 when they Clark failed to break into double figures. Damian was .500 at 3-3. A big game from BJ was a pretty good predictor of whether or not the Dukes would win or lose. In some ways he was a deciding factor. You could count on Damian and Bill for 10 for the most part, but when they got BJ going it  took the team to the next level.

While BJ got better only marginally in terms of his scoring, his overall game was improved big boast to his basketball IQ. Let's be honest for a second. BJ played dumb in 09-10. Lots of forced passes, lots of ill advised shots, lots rushed 3's and too many idiotic fouls. This year, his assists are up, his turnovers are down somewhat, and my favorite stat, assist to turnover, shows a .51 increase from .95 to 1.46. That's a pretty impressive turnaround when your A/TO increases by more than you average scoring. I'll take improvement like that. Fouls are also down in spite of him having to play against bigger/stronger post players with Damian often defending guards. His defensive improved based on the eyeball test and statistically with steals per game increasing slightly and his blocks tripling. His shooting seemed smarter in my opinion, however, if I have one criticism, I feel like he still did rush too many of his 3's. Thankfully, he proved to be a much better 3 point shooter this year. Finishing from around to hoop seemed to be his downfall. He missed a lot of shots he should have easily converted. Think about it. If you're taking better looks, shooting more three's at a better percentage but your overall shooting percentage goes down even ever so slightly like it did for BJ , you're missing shots you need to hit.

Moving Forward

Next year, BJ is going to be called upon to be the leader of this team.  He won't be the 3rd factor, he'll be the 1st. The Dukes will be counting on him to carry a lot of offensive load in '11-12. He's going to have to start making more of the bunnies he's been missing. He's going to have to improve his FG and FT%. He's going to have to improve his offensive output by at least 3 points per game for the Dukes to have a crack at maintaining what they did this past season and probably by 5 points for the team to improve. Of course, he is going to have to do all this and just to increase the difficulty factor, he's going to have to deal with being the target of every opposing defense next year. He's also going to continue his smart play with the ball and find his teammates more often in the space he is going to create for them. Bill and Damian were able to do it this year, but couldn't last year after AJax left and defenses keyed in on them. As a result, the Dukes record floundered in '09-10 and rebounded this season.

BJ should be rewarded with playing a defensive role he should be more comfortable with next season. With Derrick Martin, and Cheick Fall joining the team next year and Joel Wright minutes likely to rise, we could find BJ matching up more with wings or playing the passing lanes that Damian used to prey on. Still, BJ will need to match the gains he made on defense this year again next year for the Dukes to maintain the progress they made defensively this year.

BJ meant a lot to The Dukes in '10-11 and he will mean even more next year. He will have to tackle his inconsistency and he will be expected to carry the team at times. I do think he will be more willing to put the team on his back but he needs to maintain the smart play that allowed him to improve this year.

10-11 grade: B

What he needs to do to get the A next year.

15.3 PPG
1.2 SPG
< 1.2 TOPG
Maintain 3PT%
50% from field
60 FT%