Every good team has one: the guy who will play tough defense, get a key offensive rebound, take a charge, and get some garbage baskets around the rim. Usually those guys don’t ever need to become go-to-guys.
Yet for the Red this season, junior guard David Lisle will need to become just that — one of the team’s go-to-guys.
Head coach Steve Donahue knows that because the team lost a unanimous All-Ivy first-team selection in Ka’Ron Barnes ’04, that everybody needs to step up and be ready to take a big shot at a big moment, including Lisle.
“We were 0-7 in games under five and in overtime last year,” Donahue said. “I just need the guys to be balanced every night, and not have to rely on one guy.”
Lisle, who will be called upon to take a larger role, played in all of the Red’s 27 games last season, but started just two, averaging 3.0 points per game and 1.7 rebounds per contest. Donahue believes that Lisle felt disappointed in his play at times last season.
“Last year, I think he was disappointed as a whole with his performance,” Donahue said. “He had a pretty good freshman year, and I don’t know if he took that big step that he wanted to.”
In his freshman campaign, he averaged 4.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in 27 games played and improved as the season wore on. In his final 10 appearances, he started nine contests, and averaged 7.2 points and 3.9 boards per contest.
Yet this past season, Lisle struggled to find his niche at times, and because of it, his confidence suffered.
“Of all our guys, he really relies on playing confidently,” Donahue said.
Part of Lisle’s lack of confidence was because he struggled to make his shots at times last season. Lisle shot just under 38 percent from the field and was just 8-for-29 beyond the arc, but Donahue believes he can improve in this area.
“He’s put hours and hours of time into his shooting,” Donahue said. “When you shoot the ball well, you have confidence. It makes you a better defender, and it makes you a more confident ball handler.”
Defense is the name of the game for Lisle, who is tenacious when covering his man. He had four blocked shots on the season, while his 22 steals were good enough for fourth-best on the team. Yet stats don’t count the numerous dives for loose balls, or the number of charges taken on defense. This season, though, Donahue believes Lisle will have the physical attributes to match his intensity for the game.
“He’s always been a good defender,” he said. “Now he’s a very good defender. He’s worked real hard on his body and his strength and his quickness.”
Quickness will be a vital characteristic for Lisle on the offensive side of the ball because he will be called on the handle the ball more often and create for other players with the loss of Barnes.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Assistant Sports Editor