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Tuesday, 02 April 2019 22:18

Marauders Midway Report

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The Minnesota Marauders come into the All-Star break at 23-24, good enough for a 7th place tie in the National Conference. This is a major surprise not only to the fans but many pundits throughout the league.  As of right now it looks like 4 teams are battling it out for 2 playoffs spots. The schedule gets way tougher in the near future but gets slightly easier coming down the home stretch.  I don't know if this team will make it or not but I do know, Coach Layne Hensley, will have the Marauders prepared and ready to go.  Hensley, is in the last season of his contract and sources have told me that the front office wants to re-sign him this upcoming off-season. Let's take a look at the starting 5 and how they have fared so far this season.

Ervin Holmes

He's definitely the rock of the team and does a lot of the dirty work by playing D, rebounding and blocking shots. He ranks 2nd in blocks at 5 per game, 4th in rebounds at 11.3 per game and 15th in field-goal percentage shooting just over 50%. He finally got rewarded by making his 1st ever All-Star team as a reserve. In 34 minutes of action he scored 12 points, grabbed 6 boards and blocked 5 shots as the team won the game by 33 points.

"It feels great to be recognized as one of the league's best players and finally realizing all that work has really paid off. I had a blast out there playing with the league's cream of the crop and hopefully I can do it next season too. Now it's time to lead the Marauders to the playoffs."

Tony Pence

The 26-year-old has energized the team since coming over from the Lumberjacks in a trade. He's had 2 triple doubles so far and is tied for 2nd with Joey Short averaging 16.3 points per game.  It's just a matter of time before he passes George Ellis who averages 16.7 per game. He's averaged 17.55 per game as a Marauder, but the one criticism is that he needs to be more consistent.  The front office loves this guy and look for them to throw a big number at him in 2026 when his contract is up.

"I've been asked to do a lot more here in Minnesota but I'm up to the challenge. Coach wants the offense to run through me at times so I've been working very hard at that."

Joey Short

Definitely a breakout year for him and first year starting every game and having major success. Being hamstrung by the Americans front office he can finally let loose and let his game do the talking. Last season, he only averaged 12.7 minutes per game and now that's up to nearly 30 minutes per game. He's averaging 16.3 points per game while shooting over 46% compared to just over 6 points per game a year ago. His game is taking the ball to the rack but needs to work on his outside game if he wants to take it to the next level.

"It was a complete nightmare playing in Philadelphia for GM Jay Amado. I was promised more playing time along with other promises and not one was delivered. I'm so glad to be out of there and thankful for, GM Rouse, who's delivered on his promises and not having to worry about being traded every day."

George Ellis

He has struggled a bit after suffering a knee injury earlier in the season and the fact that he's getting less shots with Pence in the starting lineup. That being said he still averages 16.7 points per game in under 28 minutes per game. This is also a career-high as he's a full-time starter for the first time in his career. A huge bargain at $3 million per season and the team has an option next season to bring him back if necessary.

"I love being here in Minnesota and finally getting a chance to start. I really want to make the playoffs because at age 30 you just don't know how many more chances you'll get."

Stanley Bobo

He's been ripped apart by many pundits basically saying he's complete garbage. All of his shooting and scoring numbers have all went down but at least he can still pass the ball with a 3.10 assists/turnover ratio. His team option for next season has been declined and now he must prove to other GM's around the league that he's worth a contract next season.

"I'm beyond disappointed but the team didn't pick up my option and I completely understand why. I'm just having an off year so far and need to find a way to grind through the rest of the season."

Key Bench Players

Andrew Lawler

He has become the team's only 3-point assassin coming off the bench at SG as the team ranks dead last in 3-point percentage. He's made the All-Star Sophomore rising stars game shooting just over 41% from behind the arc and plays stellar outside defense. It was a major struggle going 1 for 6 scoring just 7 points, grabbing 2 rebounds and dishing out 2 assists in 15 minutes of action. He has 3 years left on his rookie contract and the front office have shown signs that they would like to keep him long-term.

"I'm not going to lie I would really like to start, but seeing veteran George Ellis out there I completely understand. I've been told next season that SG will be an open competition so this off-season I'll be working extra hard"

Mustafa Ranby

A career D leaguer, GM Rouse, finally gave him a shot in the big show and it has paid off. In just under 19 minutes per game he averages 10.7 points and grabs 4.8 rebounds while shooting just over 48 %. Just imagine if he actually got starters minutes what he could do for this team, but the lack of defense is why he doesn't. He's asking for a contract extension at 4 years/$13 million, but as of right now the front office isn't talking contracts extensions until towards the end of the season.

"This has been a dream come true and I would like to thank, Rouse, for giving me that chance. I think I've proven to myself and the rest of the league that I belong here."

Andrew Evans (D league)

The teams #3 overall pick has surprisingly spent the entire season down in the D league. Not a very popular decision with the fans and pundits throughout the league. According to the front office they would rather have him starting down there other than getting a couple minutes per game here and there in the OBWL. He will definitely be on the roster next season so he will be one and done with the D league. In just over 33 minutes per game he's averaging 20 points while shooting just under 48% from the field and 88% from the free-throw line. He's been struggling from behind the arc at 29% but excels at getting to the line which he has 320 free-throw attempts. He's been player of the month 3 times and is showing that he belongs in the big show. Also, won the D league's dunk contest and made both the All-Star team and Rookies versus Sophomores game.  He could not be reached for comment.

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