Colorado State’s J.J. Avila Looking for Shining Moments
A point forward has a multitude of different identities — whether it be from facilitating in the post or breaking down the defense off the dribble — but it has a new identity in the NCAA, of late. You see them all the time in the NBA.
In recent years, guys like Royce White of the Iowa State Cyclones and Kyle Anderson of the UCLA Bruins, have made a transition from being an undersized big guy to being a dominant ball handler with great vision. J.J. Avila of the Colorado State Rams is the next coming of the point forward. However, Avila is not a true power forward, he operates from the post like White and unlike Anderson.
The six-foot-seven-inch junior from McAllen, Texas is a transfer from the Naval Academy. On the season, he’s averaging a great mixture of rebounds, points and assists. At almost 20 points per game, six rebounds per game and nearly four assists per contest, Avila is having a coming-out party of his own this season.
The Mountain West Conference had five teams get into the NCAA Tournament last season and coach Larry Eustachy’s Colorado State Rams was one of those aforementioned five. With a senior-plagued roster, Eustachy has needed Avila to step up this season, and boy has he ever. His per game averages have bolstered him into a main focal point of many coaches’ nightmares and, for the most part, the Rams’ offense.
Guarding power forwards has helped Avila improve his game from a physical standpoint. It’s allowing him to focus his game from being in the post and on the drive, dishing out dimes and scoring tough buckets in the paint.
The one thing Avila needs to work on is his shooting. He’s shooting 33 percent from the arc this season. With Colorado State’s loss to the San Diego State Aztecs, it showed how good Avila really is. He competed throughout the game, putting a staggering 15 points, 6 rebounds and an assist.
The Rams’ season rests on its best player, Avila, to compete in the MWC. If he struggles, the Rams will end up being just shy of the tournament. However, he fouled out relatively early in the game and his team lost 71-61.
John Lloyd is a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII