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Josh Swan adapting to new role as point guard

December 14, 2011

By Scott Gierman
Saluki Media Services

With a roster that features nine newcomers, Saluki Basketball has undergone some major changes this season. Change is something that freshman guard Josh Swan certainly knows all about.

In a matter of months, he has gone from a senior shooting guard at Pace Academy in Atlanta, where his graduating class totaled less than 85 people, to the starting point guard at SIU.

“It’s completely different,” Swan said. “I’m from a school where we had maybe 400 people total in the high school. Now, I’m here with 20,000-plus students. I’m used to classrooms with maybe 10 or 12 people, and now we have 200 kids in one class. It was a big adjustment, but I’m definitely getting used to it now.”

Swan was getting used to life as a freshman and coming off the bench early in the season. After just two games, Coach Chris Lowery informed Swan he would be moving to point guard and making the first start of his young career.

“He just said I’m going to give you this opportunity to go out and play because you’ve been showing that late in game situations, you’re smart with the ball, you’re calm, and we need somebody to make good decisions,” Swan said. “He said we’re going to give you the opportunity, and you just have to make the most of it.”

Josh Swan has started four-straight games at point guard.

He did make the most of it, dishing out six assists and committing just one turnover in his first two games running the point. There have been some bumps in the road since then, but that hasn’t deterred the coaching staff.

“The hardest part for him is that he’s playing with a lot of new guys, too,” associate head coach Ron Smith said. “If he were coming in and taking on that role with a veteran team, it probably would’ve gone a little bit smoother.”

One of those new guys, freshman forward Treg Setty, believes Swan has brought some stability to the court, alleviating some of his teammates’ concerns.

“When you’re not worried about the ball coming up the floor, you can just play,” Setty said. “A lot of times we get worried about where the ball is or what’s happening, but with Josh, he’s been doing a good job of keeping the ball sound and within himself and not trying to do anything crazy.”

While the stats may not always reflect it, after just four career games as a point guard, Swan continues to improve as he learns the intricacies of his new position.

“At first it was tough just trying to get the feel of the offense and being the vocal leader on the floor,” Swan said, “but now I have a couple games under my belt, and I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable on the court.”

It remains to be seen if the move to point guard is permanent, but his time spent at point guard will only help him down the road.

“We see him as a really good basketball player, a really quality individual, a character guy, a tough guy,” Smith said. “I think that (Lowery) knows that when the day is done, Josh may be more of a 2 than a 1, but right now he’s a great alternative for us as a 1, and I think that any basketball player his size needs to be versatile.”

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From → Men's Basketball

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