I had three reasons to go watch Howard’s visit to Navy yesterday afternoon.
One, an eagerness to see as many area teams as possible.
Two, to figure out if Howard could get to 2-0 after surprising Oregon State on Friday.
Three, to witness just how Navy plays without Greg Sprink around.
Sprink was the Patriot League player of the year, a reliable shooter with a perpetual green light who alleviated pressure off just about everyone else. He was the one starter lost for the Midshipmen, but it was a big loss.
“Greg Sprink was a major focal point of what we were doing,” coach Billy Lange said. “Well, obviously; I’m not telling you guys anything you don’t already know. We still have a lot of other guys who can score and shot a great percentage last year, but the way they’re going to come is going to take a little time. Right now, our focus is just on the defense.”
But a look at the offense will come in time. Chris Harris, last year’s No. 2 scorer, is playing off the ball more this season and had some impressive moments in Sunday’s 66-55 victory. Kaleo Kina is probably the second-best option, though he’s had better days than the five-turnover outing against the Bison.
It looks like the process of figuring things out won’t always be smooth. The price of moving Harris away from the point is handing it over to someone else. That someone is O.J. Avworo, a transfer from Idaho who quietly had five assists and four rebounds on Sunday.
One guy to keep an eye on in the longer term is freshman Jordan Sugars, who was both a reliable rebounder and perimeter shooter against the Bison.
Nine Mids played at least 10 minutes, and slick sophomore guard Romeo Garcia (hamstring) wasn’t one of them. Once he gets back, that’s another option for Navy – which figures to take all the help it can find in determining how to best fill in the blanks left with Sprink’s departure.
“We’re trying to find ourselves and our offensive harmony, because he was a major point of our offense,” Harris said.