Vander Blue, the leader of the Marquette Golden Eagles, is having a good season. The junior guard is currently averaging 14.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists. Although Blue ranks 13th in scoring in the Big East Conference, numbers do not explain his importance to his team.
Although his numbers declined in rebounds and assists, Blue has managed to do better in every other category. Blue has increased his output each year. Last season, Blue averaged 8.4 points per game. This season, he averages 14.6 points per game. There have been several games where Blue finished with at least 20 points (Butler, Florida, Pittsburgh). He also scored 30 points once this season (against South Florida).
There are a few areas in Blue’s game that need improvement. He averages 2.1 turnovers a game, which is good. In addition, his three-point field goal percentage is 29.1%, coupled with a 45.3% field goal percentage and 74.1% free throw percentage.
As the leading scorer for Marquette, Blue is going to have the ball in his hands a great deal, and he needs better shot selection. Forcing shots brings down an individual’s field goal percentage, as well as hurting the team’s flow, and the better Blue becomes as a shooter, the less pressure is placed on his teammates to pick up the slack. Shooting below 30% from the arc means that he is not a threat from the perimeter. Anyone who scouts him carefully will dare him to hit jumpers from the outside.
The same remains true, when it comes to free throws. Although Blue leads Marquette in scoring, I would prefer to have the ball in the hands of Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson, due to their free throw percentages being 85.6% and 81.8%. Blue’s selection on the Big East’s all-conference first team will be influenced by how well Marquette finishes in the standings.