Rodney Pryor has been great, but…

Robert Morris senior guard Rodney Pryor is averaging 21.8 points and 7.3 rebounds on 47.0 percent shooting from the floor. He was recently awarded NEC Player of the Week after averaging 21, 7 & 3 over a three game span. Unfortunately, Robert Morris was able to grab just one win during that stretch.

If there’s one complaint about Pryor, it’s the small dip in three point shooting. He’s at 33.3 percent from beyond the stripe this season, a year after shooting 42.9 percent.

Even the dip in three point shooting shouldn’t be a surprise, for a few reasons. As Pryor established himself as the premiere go-to scorer, teams were going to work more to challenge him on shots. There’s a keen awareness when Pryor is moving without the ball to make sure he doesn’t get a good look from deep. When he does have the ball, you’ll see random defenders come for doubles or stay with him on the pick and roll.

Looking at the splits, I’m sure Pryor and the staff are encouraged with how his three point numbers are trending. Last year, Pryor’s started catching fire from three in conference play, when the competition just wasn’t as good. He shot 41.7 percent from three last year in NEC play. I would expect him to hit around a 40 percent mark again. Hell, in his last five games he’s 15 of 38 from deep (39.4 percent).

The shooting numbers are great. For a guy to score the way he does, at his usage rate, on an offense that is otherwise super inefficient… it’s impressive.

The scoring isn’t even what’s impressed me the most. How about his rebounding numbers? Finding a wing rebounder to replace Lucky Jones, the school all-time’s leading rebounder, seemed like it was going to be a near impossible task. But guess what! Pryor has done exactly what Jones did, grabbing 18.4 percent of opponents misses. By comparison, Jones was 17.3 percent for the season.

Pryor has literally done it all. He has at least three assists and six rebounds in five of his last six games. If you look at KenPom’s most frequently used lineups, Pryor has registered time at point guard, small forward and power forward. This is like taking Draymond Green and putting him on the Lakers.

And that’s the overall, large looming point that everyone kinda knows but doesn’t really say. Rodney Pryor has been great, but he needs some help from his fiends.

RMU has one other player (Elijah Minnie) averaging double figure scoring. No other player besides point guard Kavon Stewart and Pryor averages more than 1.6 assists per game. There isn’t a 35 percent three point shooter on the team, which isn’t awful, but becomes a problem without a true post presence or guard who can finish at the rim.

Seeing super duper stars in the NBA playing iso ball late in games can cloud the judgement of fans. Basketball is a team game. The myth that basketball is a game dominated by superstars might not be wrong, but it’s never been the complete case. It’s the same reason why Shane Gibson never was on a team with more than 14 wins at Sacred Heart while Jamal Olasewere was a conference player of the year.

So Pryor’s been great. Outside of his weird habit to travel, there’s nothing else you could really ask from the guy. Who wants to join him?

–Chris Cappella
@C_Cappella

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