Notre Dame boasts one of the top point guards in the nation in Eric Atkins. How can he improve his game and help the Irish this season? His 12 points and 4.1 assists per game last season were excellent, but if the Irish are to reach the Final Four and contend for the NCAA championship, Atkins must step up his game this year.
With his driving quickness and his ability to take his man off of the dribble, he must become the go to guy this year. He certainly has the shooting range to do this, as evidenced by his three point shooting success. Atkins needs to be more than a game manager, he needs to raise his point production in order to put the Irish on their way.
Certainly, he accomplished this at times last season, so it is just a matter of will and the decision to unleash his scoring potential. Imagine how 20 points per game from Atkins would boost Notre Dame. The Irish are at their best when they can sit back in their zone defense. It tends to keep them out of foul trouble. Plus, it allows them to stay fresh down the stretch of the physical games of the Big East. They seemed to wilt down the stretch of their recent loss to St. Joe’s, who is tough but not as physical as some of the opponents Notre Dame will face in the Big East.
Should the Irish rely more heavily on the fast break and less on three point shooting, Atkins of course would have to be the catalyst. He could augment his assist production by taking the ball all the way to the rim, and by stopping at the free throw line to sink jumpers. In any case, it is time for him to become the scoring threat he is capable of becoming. Twelve points per game is good, but he has the ability to be a prolific scorer.