Of any current Duquesne player, none has been more highly criticized than Derrick Colter. As Jim Ferry’s first recruit and TJ McConnell’s replacement, Dukes’ fans set a high bar for him. Colter had an outstanding statistical season as a freshman didn’t help matter for him, but the entire offense ran through him. This year, he’s morphing his game into a more traditional point guard and at times the change has looked rocky. Still, when the offense sputters for stretches, he seems to get the lion’s share of the blame, but when it does well, he gets nearly none of the credit.
1) He’s a Sophomore
I think it’s important to keep in mind that Colter is only in his second year as the Dukes floor general. Only three other starting A-10 points are sophomores and one red-shirted as a transfer. Joe McDonald of George Washington is the best of the bunch while Colter is arguably better than Dayton’s Khari Price and URI Biggie Minnis.
Not a single point guard starts this year as a freshman.
2) He works his ass off
When I see people close the program talking about Derrick Colter, rarely do they bring him up without mentioning his work ethic. According to one account, Colter outworks everyone else on the team. In a video of Colter recreating his game winning shot against St Bonaventure, the most striking thing wasn’t that he hit the shot again unguarded, but rather how he was the only player left in the gym.
3) His entire game is getting better
Contrary to popular belief, Colter has gotten better. His scoring and assists totals have decreased but much of that has to do to better depth behind him taking minutes and a decreased possession percentage. His ball handling, three point,and free throw shooting have improved and his assist to turnover ratio is among the best in the conference. With the exception of a few glaring mistakes, Colter has taken very good care of the ball and ranks among the top A-10 point guards in terms of fewest turnovers. Only his finishing around the basket seems to have taken a step back.
4) He’s playing a more mature game
Colter has taken on a more traditional point guard role this season. He has attempted four fewer shots per game this year. Many are coming later in the shot clock and he has played off the ball more often. Again, he’s also valuing possessions and taking better care of the basketball cutting his turnover rate in half while improving his shot selection.
I think it’s important to note that Colter is adjusting to a very different role than he is used to playing this year. Throughout his high school career and his first year at Duquesne, Colter served as the catalyst for his team’s offense. This year, the coaching staff asked him to take a more subdued role. He hasn’t always seemed comfortable out there, but he seems like he’s getting the hang of it.
5) He’s been clutch
Generally, Colter has come through when the Dukes have needed him most and he provided us with two recent examples including his buzzer beater against St Bonaventure and his two key three’s late against NJIT. Of course, I won’t mention his late game free throw shooting.
I think the Colter hating needs to end as I think the expectations for him at this stage in his career are absurd. I don’t believe he’s a great player and I doubt he’s a future all conference member. However, he’s an average point guard now and really his offense isn’t hurting the team. His defense is another story though its rapidly improving. Oddly, it goes unmentioned in critiques of the PG.