At 7 feet, 2 inches and 260 pounds, Ian Chiles is not difficult to spot on the Morgan State campus. The senior center is beginning to get some attention outside of Baltimore, too.
Chiles was selected by College Hoops Daily to the website’s “Best of 2013” All Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team, which is composed of five players from the league for their performances in the non-conference portions of their schedules.
Chiles ranks second on the Bears (3-10) in points (14.5) and rebounds (5.5) and leads the team in blocks (2.9). He has converted 57.4 of his shots from the floor and has notched 10 double-doubles thus far.
Chiles’ emergence, however, is not stunning to coach Todd Bozeman.
“He’s definitely been progressing since he’s been here,” Bozeman said Monday. “Now you’re seeing the formation of his growth. I still think he has a lot more room to go. I don’t think you’ve seen the best of him yet. So I think he’s only going to get better. … He’s been great defensively. He’s going after more shots this year in terms of blocking shots. He’s a more productive scorer in the paint.”
Chiles’ production from the paint has trickled down to the rest of the offense. While he occupies the middle, opposing defenses tend to collapse on him, and that opens up outside opportunities for senior guard Justin Black (18.8 points per game, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals) and senior guard Anthony Hubbard (10.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists).
“The value of him playing so well is that he gives us an established presence as a low-post scorer and that in itself is the value that he brings – a low-post presence, a shot blocker,” Bozeman said.
While Black, Chiles and Hubbard carry the offense, the unit could benefit from a more supportive bench. During the team’s recent three-game slide, the bench added just seven points in an 86-80 loss to Cal State Northridge on Dec. 27 and five points in a 75-63 setback to UC Irvine on Jan. 2. The bench did score 33 points in a 97-76 loss to then-No. 10 Oregon on Dec. 29, but Hubbard did not start that game and scored 15 points.
Bozeman said he’s not surprised that the team has been paced by the senior trio of Black, Chiles and Hubbard.
“This team is going to go as far as Ian Chiles, Anthony Hubbard and Justin Black take us,” Bozeman said. “Our seniors are the core members. I think our bench can grow more and I think that we are getting there, and I think you’ll see that when we get to the conference play. You use the non-conference schedule to get yourself ready to prepare guys to play those roles.”