Illinois State Basketball's Reggie Lynch Shining In The Paint

By Demario Phipps-Smith
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Most college basketball awards are often awarded to those who score a lot of points or are exciting, playmaking athletes. It’s as if scoring the ball is the only aspect to the game of basketball.

His defensive talents have defined Illinois State freshman center Reggie Lynch’s inaugural season more so than his offensive capabilities. The 6-foot-10 freshman led the MVC in blocks per game (2.6) and was one of two players to shoot better than 60 percent from the field (62). Lynch has been more than a simple stopgap for the Redbirds’ interior presence; he appears to be the future of it.

This season, he has surpassed the mark for most blocks by a freshman at ISU by 27 and is currently ninth on the career-blocks list at the school. His timing on blocks is the key to his success. As most dominant post players, Lynch gets a lot of blocks as the secondary defender. Most of his victims feel his wrath as they are going up towards the rim and are unaware of the swat-machine lurking in the paint.

It is no secret Lynch is a defensive stud, but he is also no slouch on the other side of the ball. The Redbird center averages over eight points per game and is the second leading scorer for freshmen in the conference. His impressive field goal percentage is a result of his patience in the offense. It is through Lynch’s post presence that shooters are able free themselves up.

Like LeBron James, Lynch has been wearing a protective mask over his face and has been playing spectacularly despite it. Maybe the mask is to blame for his play this year. Maybe defense is just not as important as offense … but I doubt it.

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