Ge'Lawn Guyn's initial instinct was to blame it on
the stat crew.
After a home win over Temple on January 14th, the junior point guard was called into Coach Cronin's office for a one-one-one meeting where it was pointed out that Guyn only had four steals in the Bearcats' first 18 games.
"I was like, 'There's no way!'" said Guyn.
"We looked at the stats in a staff meeting and said, 'This guy only has four steals - this can't be right,'" said assistant coach Darren Savino. "So we sat down with Ge'Lawn and went over it with him and he couldn't believe it either."
In truth, the conversation with Coach Cronin wasn't quite as calm, cool, and collected as pointing out a number on the stat sheet.
"I can't tell you what he really said, but Coach got after me and told me that I was too athletic, too quick, and too smart not to be getting any steals," said Guyn.
"I said, 'You're the lowest steal guy on the team and you're the guy around the ball the most. You're supposed to be our defensive point guard,' said Cronin. "I give him credit. He's taken it to heart and tried to be more aggressive in the passing lanes and getting to loose balls."
Since that conversation, Guyn has had 13 steals in eight games - that's 1.6 per game in an average of 23 minutes of playing time. That average (for an entire season) would put him in the Top 10 in the AAC.
"Now that I'm actually looking to get steals it's
made a big difference," said Guyn. "Coach
always says, 'Read the play or read the guy's eyes.' It's all about anticipating. I'm quick enough to get the steal, I just
have to ready and be alert."
Guyn's contribution hasn't been limited to the defensive end of the court. In the same eight-game stretch, he's been one of the Bearcats' most accurate 3-point shooters by knocking down 11-of-28 treys (39%). Toss out an 0-for-3 night at SMU, and it rises to 44%.
"It's a great feeling to finally see the hard work paying off," Guyn told me. "I shoot well in practice and in drills and I haven't been able to transfer it to the games. Now I'm finally doing that so it's a blessing.
"I try to take as many shots as I can until my arm gets sore."
In Saturday's win over Houston, Guyn turned a 3-point nail-biter into a comfortable 9-point Cincinnati lead with less than 2:00 to go, by drilling back-to-back threes off assists from Sean Kilpatrick.
"Every time that one of us passes him the ball we yell at him to shoot because we know that he's a guy that can really knock down threes and open the gap for us," said Kilpatrick. "Especially when teams are collapsing on the guards that are penetrating - they're going to leave him dead open."
"My confidence level is on a high," said Guyn. "It's really a blessing and I just want to thank God for being able to play this great game of basketball."
With his improved play in the last month, Ge'Lawn can thank his coach for making good use of the stat sheet.
"I obviously should have brought it up to him a lot earlier," said Cronin with a laugh.
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