With the Golden Gophers in town I know most of you are naturally concerned with the health of Robbie Hummel. When it came out yesterday that he was having some tendonitis in his non-repaired knee I couldn't help but think of the news as sphincter-tightening. Robbie should be wrapped in bubble-wrap for the weekend.
He's not the only player coming off of injury this year. John Hart is recovering from another foot surgery. His contributions early last season and in the infamous Illinois game cannot be overlooked. Terone Johnson also had knee surgery (not good for E'Twaun 2.0). We also have today's featured player, Jacob Lawson, recovering from a torn Achilles.
First of all, Jacob is a freshman, so he needs a nickname for our Open threads. I don't think he can be a Hanson. He's not the Hitman, TJ, Byrdman, Ryno, LewJack, or anything natural like that. We can't go with something long like, "I fought the Law and the Law won." I am proposing "The Lawman". It's short, rolls off the tongue, and hopefully represents the role he will play.
Jacob is a 6'8", 220 pound forward, and we need him to play exactly like a 6'8" 220 pound forward should. We don't need any of this, "guard in a forward's body" crap. We have enough of that with D.J. Byrd, Kelsey Barlow, and it seems like virtually everyone else on the roster. Coach Painter needs to pull no punches with him. He needs to go up to him today (if he hasn't already) and tell him he needs to anchor himself on the low block, rebound, and in general lay down the law in the low post. Only Travis Carroll, Sandi Marcius and Rob are true post players coming back. We need someone to play with an attitude, and if Lawson wants to embrace this role from day one he will get a lot more playing time.
I admit that I don't know a lot about Jacob other than what Andy has written about him. Andy says he often finishes with a dunking flourish and he glides down the floor. If this guy wants to, he can hustle to both ends of the floor, play with an attitude, and generally do the dirty work that will allow the Hansons to play on the other side and free up Rob to generally destroy anyone guarding him as a three.
I think how much Lawson plays relies on his attitude. If he is fine with working his butt off and becoming a run, rebound, and defend guy he will find a lot of minutes. If he thinks he can only play on the perimeter he will find himself anchored on the bench because we already have a ton of perimeter guys. Few players on this roster have his physical gifts for the post. How he chooses to use them will go a long way toward our success.