Austin Cooley is talented. Really talented, if you ask those who see the Niagara men’s basketball team on a daily basis. But with a glut of guards ahead of him, are the Purple Eagles in danger of losing the potential star?
Let’s hope not. Joe Mihalich has never been one to worry about his bench — his starters get big minutes unless they’re in foul trouble.
It’s understandable why Cooley, who’s currently behind Tyrone Lewis, Bilal Benn, Rob Garrison and Anthony Nelson, might become disenchanted.
In the Purple Eagles’ last three games, he’s played six, nine and four minutes, respectively. The reason is simple — there are lots of good players ahead of him. Benn has been a wrecking crew most nights, doing it on both ends of the floor. Garrison has been every bit as good as advertised, and hasn’t let poor shooting nights affect him at the defensive end.
But here’s the hard part — none of the aforementioned guards are leaving. Lewis, Benn and Garrison are juniors. Nelson, incredible considering his court presence, is only a sophomore.
Keeping Cooley calm this season is one thing, but how will Niagara appease him next season?
If he is, indeed, that talented, Mihalich needs to find a way to keep him included. That won’t be easy.