Sir`Dominic Pointer has been the steady defensive force for the Red Storm since he set foot on campus - willing to defend all 94 feet, athletic enough to create steals, willing to play every position, the swiss army knife of the team, the Cost Co/ big box score of players.
And Coach Steve Lavin plans to continue to utilize his versatility. "We can play big with me at the one or small with me at the 5," Sir`Dominic said, and Lavin certainly delivered in the preseason game. Pointer brought the ball up through much of garbage time in the blowout over Humboldt State, but switched defensively to guard the paint.
Pointer played a version of power forward his first year, battling inside because that's what the team needed. Now, with a full roster, where will he fit in?
Anywhere coach wants, it seems. But Pointer hopes his ability to fit in includes more offense; he is one of the most devastating finishers on the team, but gets lost in the scoring shuffle. Can he find his offense with even more offensive weapons around him?
The sneaky Pointer improvements
Pointer is so reliable that there seems little need to focus on his improvements. His scoring average remained around the same as the year before, remaining just under 7 points per game (his average went up .3 points per game).
Masked in that catch-all number are a number of improvements.
Pointer was less of a dunk machine last season than in 2011-12, but he was far more effective despite an uptick in his turnover rate. His offensive efficiency rose from 87 points per 100 possessions to 102.6 - not as weaponized as one hoped the athletic Pointer would be, but he was the most efficient player on the team.
It took the 2012 version of Sir`Dom Pointer 6.5 shots to achieve that average; this Pointer did it in 5, leaving shot opportunities for his teammates. His two-point shooting percentage rose from 45% to 55%; his three-point average rose from 19% to 33%; his free throw average moved up from 55% to 66%.
Always room to grow
St. John's lost D`Angelo Harrison last year to his own personality issues; the team sent him away to manage his anger. It was a great opportunity for players like Sir`Dominic Pointer, who would have to pick up the slack.
But lost in the imagination about what a player can do with more time is the reality that after years of training, practice, visualization, and learning a role, it's very hard for a player to go from "the one who makes the pass" to "the one who hunts for scoring opportunities."
Sir`Dominic Pointer wasn't wildly different with new opportunity; he remained the player who took what the defense gave him while grabbing rebounds, blocking shots, and picking up fouls.
St. John's could use him to be more confident on the attack, and he has worked on his mindset and skill. "I'm working on making open shots," Pointer said. "Everybody knows I'm a good defender, but I want to be a threat on the offensive end, too."
Pointer had a chance to drive the lanes in preseason games, showed a shot fake or two, and looks to be more confident.
How will that play out in games?