As a Baylor fan who regularly drinks the Kool-Aid for the Green & Gold, I am hesitant to criticize any coach or player on any of our athletic squads, especially when I don't have any inside knowledge that criticism is deserved.
That said, I am astonished at the statistical decline that has characterized shooting guard Brady Heslip's game. There are some glaring concerns about the change in his performance from 2011-12 season to the current season. I am aware that opponents were more focused on him this season after his very successful sophomore year, but it seems there must be something more to his performance decline.
He had a statistical decline from last year to this year in four out of the five categories relevant to his position:
Field goal shooting percentage dropped 8 points (from 46% to 38%)
3-pt FG shooting percentage dropped 9 points (from 46% to 37%)
Free throw shooting percentage dropped an unbelievable 14 points (from 92% to 78%)
Points per game dropped 1.9 (from 10.2 to 8.3)
On a positive note, his assist to turnover ratio improved from 2.18 to 2.36.
Given that Baylor dropped 8 out of 9 games that were decided by 5 points or less, how much of difference would an improved statistical year by Brady have made for this team? What if his points per game had gone up 1.9 rather than down 1.9? That would have been a positive swing of 3.8 points per game for our Bears.
As far as I know, Heslip may spend more time in the gym than anybody else on this team, but based on game results, it doesn't appear that way. While getting separation from defensive opponents has been tough for Brady, he's missed a lot of open shots this year. And needless to say--but I will anyway--no separation skills are required for free throw shooting.
I don't believe the blame for Heslip's decline falls on the coaching staff. It's up to Brady Heslip to re-earn the title "Sharpshooting Guard"* and help position this basketball program for success in his final year at Baylor.
*As quoted in the 2012-2013 Baylor Men's Basketball Media Almanac