Heading into this season, coach G.G. Smith – and perhaps every opposing coach on the schedule for the Loyola Maryland men’s basketball team – knew that the backcourt of senior Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons) and junior R.J. Williams (St. Frances) would anchor the squad.
And the emergence of sophomore Eric Laster has furthered strengthened that unit, which makes the team’s lack of production from the frontcourt somewhat puzzling. The trio of senior Jordan Latham (City) and sophomore Jarred Jones (John Carroll) and Franz Rassman has not contributed to help support the backcourt, and Smith didn’t mince any words about the frontcourt’s ineffectiveness.
“So far, our frontcourt had been a major disappointment for us this year,” he said Thursday. “… Our big guys have to get us something. They’re not dominating the post, they’re not rebounding in the post like they should be. They’re playing hard, and they’re getting a little bit better. But those guys have to do more, and they have to dominate. Jordan Latham should be dominating this game, and he needs to play like it. Franz Rassman is getting better. … And Jarred Jones, I think when he gets healthy, he’ll be fine. Our frontcourt has been a disappointment, but it’s not over. We’ve got to be positive and keep pushing our big guys and hope that this will change.”
Jones, a Havre de Grace native, ranks third among the Greyhounds (6-8 overall and 1-2 Patriot League) in scoring with 8.5 points per game, but Rassman and Latham are averaging 5.6 and 4.9 points, respectively.
Latham, a Baltimore native, and Rassman are two of the tallest players on the roster at 6 feet 9, and Jones stands 6-7. But Jones and Rassman have collected just 4.1 rebounds per game, and Latham has grabbed 3.4 boards. Cormier, a 6-3 shooting guard, leads the team with 5.9 rebounds.
Rassman has started 13 games, Latham 12 and Jones three. Smith said he has no problem tinkering with the frontcourt rotation in an effort to find more consistency.
“We have not started guys, we have not played guys,” Smith said. “As a coach, it’s my job to find that button and push that button to make these guys go, and we haven’t found that button yet. It’s a little bit concerning, but we’re not in panic mode. It’s still a long, long season, and we have some opportunities with two games in three days against Lehigh and Lafayette. After those two games, if we’re still the same way, then it’s time to press 'panic mode' and make some major changes. But right now, we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”