USC Trojans junior forward Chimezie Metu is coming off a sophomore campaign that saw him average 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Now the 6’11” forward looks to be the centerpiece on the 10th ranked Trojans, which leads to the question: Can he continue to be a night in, night out difference maker?
Looking at his game last season, he was a strong force in the paint and did a great job playing the boards. His length allowed him to make for a difficult player to shoot contested jumpers against and clogged up passing lanes. He was a reliable scorer scorer and as well as an efficient one, shooting 55 percent last season.
Last season, Bennie Boatwright looked to be the best player on the team, but was only in 19 of the 36 games the team played. With Boatwright, Jordan McLaughlin and Metu all back, the top three players return to the Trojans.
McLaughlin was the assist leader last season, with 5.5 per game and is a great facilitator to his big, scoring forwards in Boatwright and Metu. While there has been some shift oh the bench, the Trojans are returning the bulk of their roster that went two rounds deep in the NCAA Tournament. But can they be better?
Here is where Metu comes in. If this team is to meet expectations and exceed them, he needs to continue to be the long problem on both side of the floor he was last season.
The Building Blocks
Metu is building off a great season, posting double digit numbers in points, while grabbing nearly eight boards a game. Picking up at least a steal and block per game are also great ways to show his knack at being around the ball and making plays.
He also is a great shooter, granted he did not stray out to the three point line very much (this point comes up later, do not worry) but he still is shooting efficiently. Shooting 55 percent through the season shows an ability to find a rhythm and get back to his spot. He is going to be good for at least a 13-6-1 average as his floor, which is not bad, but if the team is going to take the next step, Metu’s growth needs to take the next step as well. He needs to get to his ceiling.
The Rest Of The House
Three point shooting, three point shooting, three point shooting. Metu only took two threes last season, which is a number that has to make a big jump. He has already surpassed that number in two game, going 2-3 from deep in the young season. He needs to keep this up to help spread the floor. He is paired with a solid outside shooter in Boatwright, who averaged 6.8 attempts last season as a 36 percent shooter from downtown. This spaced the floor nicely for Metu, time to return the favor.
Metu will become a better defender and probably see his rebound average go up, but the biggest way to help his team is forcing opposing defenses to defend the whole floor. His spreading the floor, even for just three or four shots a game will keep a defense honest and help out Boatwright down at the net. That is Metu’s ceiling.
The reason Metu is the key is because the jump for him is fairly simple. This is a good roster that one big games last seasoned showcased their talent on a big stage. The bulk of this team is also returning, giving the expectation that the Trojans can run this back. Now Metu adding another layer to his offensive game will be key in spreading the floor more and upping his point total for USC success.