JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Wayne Brent is a subscriber to the age old theory that defense wins championship. But even the JSU men’s basketball coach knows that how well you defend your opponent doesn’t much matter if you cannot make them pay on the other end.
“Scoring,” Brent said quickly when he was asked the biggest improvement he wants to see from his team this season.
“We were 60 to 61 points a game last season and that put too much pressure on our defense, trying to hold teams to 58 points.”
Instead, the Tigers held teams to 65.4 points per game in 2018-19 which led the SWAC by more than three points, however they still averaged a deficit in games due to an offense that ranked second to last in scoring. Brent has high hopes that changes this season as the Tigers get set to open things up next week at California Baptist.
“From day one we spent a lot of time working on scoring the basketball,” Brent said of the offseason. “Making sure that we were in the right places and push the ball up the floor.”
One player that plans on leading the charge of this new offense is Venji Wallis. The 6-foot-6 forward returns after leading the Tigers with 12.5 points per game last season and is the driving force behind a seven-man senior class that is chomping at the bit to improve on their third place conference finish a season ago.
“Just trying to be able to put the ball in the hole, that’s the absolute goal” said Wallis. “Getting in the gym shooting jumpshots, working on our touch. Just trying to score and score more.”
JSU’s season opener is next Tuesday at California Baptist which begins a five-game road trip. The Tigers first game at home is November 22 against Southern-New Orleans.