The Atlanta Hawks have taken the NBA by storm, cruising to the best record in the league thanks to an offense that can rely on anyone, any given night. Georgia Southern plays with the same style.
“We’ve got the kind of team where anyone can lead us in scoring,” center Trent Wiedeman said.
Senior Jelani Hewitt leads the team in points per game with 19.6, but it was the freshman Mike Hughes that put up 18 to beat Louisiana-Lafayette in front of a sellout crowd to claim first place in the Sun Belt on Jan. 15.
Eric Ferguson has led the team in scoring twice this season, including his 19 points last week over then-No.1 Louisiana-Monroe, and he isn’t even a starter.
“I think one of the things we’ve done well…we’ve had different guys step up on different nights. Sometimes those guys are not starters. And in my mind, I don’t have just five starters. Curtis Diamond and Eric Ferguson come off the bench. In my mind they’re the same thing as a starter. To us we have seven starters,” head coach Mark Byington said.
‘Find a way’ has been a catchphrase for the team this year. Byington said they talk about it all the time.
“No matter what it takes, find a way to win,” he said.
“They give us tremendous energy, especially Curtis [Diamond], Eric Ferguson, Kyle Doyle. Those guys are tremendous on the glass,” Hewitt said.
Six different players (Wiedeman, Coye Simmons, Angel Matias, Hughes, Ferguson and Diamond) have led the team in rebounds in a game this year. Also, six players average more than seven points per game for the Eagles.
And they’re happy to spread the wealth.
If you watch the players on the bench, they get more excited about their teammates making a big shot than whoever shot it did.
“What I like about this team is they get happy for somebody else’s success. Somebody else makes a play or makes a shot, they get happy for them,” Byington said.
Teams that have success, and specifically postseason success, have to be able to rely on more than one player to score. So, who will it be tonight?