Give more touches to Hinton, and LHU could have a dominant season

Sophomore Amir Hinton (22) of Lock Haven University drives the ball against Kutztown University. (Photo courtesy of LHU Basketball)

LOCK HAVEN — So, now that the Lock Haven University men’s basketball team has officially kicked off the season and have a few games under their belt, let’s take a look at what happened during the first week of the new year.

The Bald Eagles kicked-off things on Friday, November 10 against Virginia Union, this game being apart of the Wolf’s Bus Lines Classic hosted by Shippensburg University. It was a closely contested game from beginning to end, and neither team was able to gain an edge in a matchup that came down to the last second. After a missed layup from Panthers’ James Paige with just a few seconds left, LHU’s Tarojae Brake took the ball down the court and missed a miracle three-pointer that would have tied up the game. Virginia Union won 72-69. Amir Hinton had an incredible game for Lock Haven against the Panthers with 34 points while shooting over 50% (11-21), and also tallied up five steals for the Eagles. Brake added 12 points and Ra’eese Hunt added 11 for LHU.

The next day, Lock Haven University continued the Wolf’s Bus Lines Classic against Shaw University. Needless to say, this game would be an interesting one. In the first half, LHU came out strong – shooting the ball well and playing excellent defense. After the smoke cleared, the Bald Eagles went into halftime with a 38-22 lead, and it looked like this was going to be an easy victory to recover from the heartbreaker against Virginia Union the day before. The Bears had different plans, however. When the second half came, Shaw steamrolled to put an incredible amount of 56 points up in the second – while allowing 32 to the Eagles. The dominating second half from the Bears brought them a 78-70 record to bring Lock Haven to an 0-2 record to start the season. Hinton had another incredible game for LHU, putting up 28 points. Hunt had 12 and Matt Cerruti added 10.

After the season tip-off tournamaent in Shippensburg, Lock Haven University then traveled to Pittsburgh to take on Carlow University this past Tuesday. And not only was it all Bald Eagles in this one, but it was a collective win from the entire team. In points, Hinton had 19, Cerruti (18), Hunt (12), Brake (11), and both Christian Kelly and Alsmith Saintillius had nine. The dominating performance brought LHU an 87-67 victory for their first win of the young season.

So what are we looking at here for the 2017 Bald Eagles, so far?

Well, it’s obvious that Amir Hinton is the star of LHU, and he’s incredibly dominant averaging 27.0 points-per-game on the year. The closest player to Hinton in points is Hunt with 11.7 on the season.

If I’m head coach Mike Nestor, I’m feeding the ball to Hinton as much as humanly possible, and ride him as far as you can.

In Hinton’s freshman year, he averaged an amazing 23.8 points-per-game, and also tallied up 6.6 rebounds-per-game. So here in Hinton’s sophomore year, we can already tell that he’s ready to dominate at this level, and Nestor should take advantage of this opportunity.

Hunt, Barnes and Brake should be the main depth around Hinton, but Amir Hinton must not only be a centerpiece for the Bald Eagles in 2017, but LHU has to make Hinton a superstar this year, with a large amount of minutes and touches being pushed in Hinton’s favor – especially the minutes, because although I think Hinton is getting a pretty good amount of touches already, I feel like Nestor can increase the touches that Hinton gets by a good margin. The first two games were losses for LHU – a few extra touches for Hinton and Lock Haven could be 3-0 right now.

If Hinton is allowed to dominate with more handling of the ball, the Lock Haven University men’s basketball team could have an outstanding season this year.

And this is just in his sophomore year. The next two seasons, sky is the limit with this kid at the helm.

But let’s focus on 2017-18 first, we have some great basketball to watch this year from Amir Hinton – a star in the making, and all it starts with is just a few more touches.