[Promoted for Front Page Friday!]
For those not getting the sports report thing emailed to them from the school:
Official Sports Report: September 09, 2009
Miguel Paul Ready for Year Two at Mizzou
Florida native excited for sophomore season
by OSR Staff
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Some of the greatest gains a basketball player can make come between his freshman and sophomore seasons. The surge of success that comes late during a player's freshman campaign leads them into a highly productive off-season. We saw those strides with J.T. Tiller after his freshman year and the poster child for off-season growth on the court may have come from Matt Lawrence, who average 11.2 points as a sophomore, after scoring just 1.5 points per game as a rookie.
Now sophomore Miguel Paul is enjoying a tremendous off-season and is poised to continue the trend of players improving mightily under Head Coach Mike Anderson.
Last season Paul struggled at times to find his rhythm in the rugged Big 12 Conference. After seeing success early as a rookie, Paul realized his focus needed to start in the weight room and continue on the basketball court. While his assist/turnover numbers were solid, the Lakeland, Fla., native knew he could do more as he looked to develop his overall game and become a dangerous complement to backcourt stalwarts J.T. Tiller and Zaire Taylor.
"I think I noticed it most at the start of Big 12, but there were times in the non-conference that it was more difficult to get in the lane and still make a play," Paul said. "Without question I noticed it in the league, but over the last 10 games I think I was able to adjust and improve. I was able to get in the lane, take some of the physical punishment and make a play. I just listened to Coach A and the staff and adjusted how I played."
And often times that included kicking the ball to an open teammate for a jumper. Paul had seven assists compared to just one turnover through his final five games (all postseason) including two big assists in the win against Marquette in the round of 32. He also had an assist and a steal against Memphis, a game that saw him play 13 minutes with Taylor in early foul trouble.
"It was all a big confidence booster heading into the summer," Paul said. "You want to take the lessons you learned from the season and make yourself better. I had a chance to go home for a few weeks and work with my dad on my shot. I was able to lift weights at home and back here with Coach Deets to work on my strength, and I did drills to help my quickness and defense. I got a taste of what it'll take to succeed in the Big 12 and that was where I kept my focus."
Included in the 6-1 guard's area of focus was athleticism. While one of the team's quickest players, Paul wanted to improve his leaping ability -- not only to enhance his jump shot, but to also make him a better rebounder on the defensive end.
"I have been getting more lift on my shot and that has helped make me more consistent as a shooter," Paul said. "And of course the stronger you are, the better you'll be able to hold up throughout the year."
And for Paul, that new year has already begun.
Chad Moller is the Managing Editor of Missouri OSR. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments or story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.