Memphis Tigers coach Josh Pastner put a lot of focus on increasing the teams rebounding skills during the preseason. The rebounding focus was set to change a trend that the Tigers had as a below average rebounding squad in his first three seasons. The extra work is paying off.
Over the last three seasons, Memphis had never been better than plus-1.3 (in 2011-12) in rebounding margin for a season. This season, the Tigers are plus-4.7 and averaging 36.8 boards per game.
“I do feel we’re getting more gang rebound opportunities. That means our guards are rebounding more,” Pastner said to the Commercial Appeal. “We are a better rebounding team than we were last year, and Shaq has obviously helped that as well.”
Freshman forward Shaq Goodwin is averaging a team-high 5.3 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. In the last game against Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks, Goodwin recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Goodwin is not the only person contributing to the increase in rebounding. It’s an overall team effort.
Junior forward Tarik Black is right behind Goodwin averaging five a game.
Senior forward D.J. Stephens playing time has increased from 8.3 minutes a game to 18.7 from last season and has contributed to improvement in his rebounding average from 1.8 to 4.7.
From the guard spot, junior Chris Crawford grabbed a career-high 12 boards in the Tigers’ win over Northern Iowa Panthers. He averages 4.7 a game.
Sophomore forward Adonis Thomas has also increased his rebouding from 3.2 last year to 4.5 this season.
Patosha Jeffery is the Memphis Tigers Featured Columnist at Rant Sports. Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @patoshajeffery and add her Google + to your circles for all of her latest articles and thoughts.