One of my first interviews as part of the Hustle Belt team was coach Huger a few years back. I remember looking at the roster and thinking, “this is a work in progress, but I see a lot to be optimistic about.” Nothing in the two seasons has changed that opinion. Last season they finished 16-16 overall, and 7-11 in conference play. At times they looked really good, but then a slump late may have Falcons fans feeling a bit pessimistic on the season.
I would disagree.
Demajeo Wiggins has been a project, and I believe his senior season will be something special. Dylan Frye came in with spunk, but looked like a high schooler playing D1, and has grown. After a streaky end to last season, he is filling into his D1 uniform. Justin Turner is a superstar that was trying to find his way last season. This core trio has the makings of a special group.
The Falcons also have some other players that may take them to the next level. Antwon Lillard is a streaky, but those bursts of points in a big game can make a season. Derek Koch was raw last season, but showed flashes of the player he could become.
The talent isn’t supreme, but there are solid players on this team. Where I believe the difference will come in is the coaching. For two years now, I have seen this team fight when it would be easy to give up, for the most part. I have seen some miraculous free throw turn arounds, most notably from Wiggins. The talent is trickling in. This hasn’t been an overnight transformation, but from the outside, it looks like coach Huger is building this team up the right way, and I believe they turn a corner this season. This is going to be an exceptionally tough league this season, so I am not going to say this is a 20 win team, but I believe their 17-18 win campaign will be a huge improvement over their .500 record last season. If Wiggins, Frye, and Turner all make bigger leaps than I expect, which is more than possible, this team could reach 20+ wins.