Sophomore basketball player improves his skills on and off the court
Philip Zoppi – Special to the Southern News
Most college students are either working, traveling, or attending classes during the summer. Michael Mallory wasn’t doing any such thing.
Instead, he was working with professionals from his hometown, Waterbury, Conn. playing in summer basketball leagues to improve his game.
“I’m just trying to elevate my game to get where they’re at,” Mallory said. “They’ve all reached the top of the totem pole.”
Mallory won the 2013-2014 Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Year award in his freshman year. On top of that he was selected to the 2014 Division II Bulletin All-Freshman team. A very prestigious honor. He ended up appearing in 33 games and averaging 15.8 points per game.
Mallory’s hard work over the offseason is clearly paying off this season. Many college freshmen experience a sophomore slump in their second year of action, but not Mallory.
The 6’1” sophomore has played well for the Southern basketball team, averaging 18.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and shooting an impressive 41 percent from beyond the arc, including a 7 for 7 from 3-point range against Saint Anselm.
Head coach Michael Donnelly said Mallory was just in a zone that game and that it was special night from him.
“I didn’t even realize he didn’t miss a three. I just knew he was red hot,” said Donnelly. “When Mike gets going he can make virtually any type of shot. He’s got the ultimate green light. I really don’t think any of those threes hit the rim, it was just nothing but the bottom of the net.”
Donnelly and Mallory have had a very special bond. With both of them being from Waterbury, Donnelly got a chance to see Mallory play during his prep school season at Marianapolis Prep.
“He came to one of my games at Prep school. That’s how I met him,” said Mallory. “I never heard of him before. He came up to me and was a nice genuine guy. We just clicked off the bat. Whenever I do something wrong he lets me know and I work on it right then and there.”
Not only is Mallory improving his skills on the court; but he’s also improving his leadership skills according to Donnelly.
All the captains before every game go out to mid-court to shake hands. A couple games ago Donnelly saw Mallory walking off the court before the game and pointed at the captains and said, “Hey, is that going to be you next year?”
Mallory said, “I hope so.” Later on Donnelly would say that the basketball program really sees Mallory taking the next step next year and becoming a captain on the team. With three seniors expected to graduate this year, Mallory will definitely be forced into a leadership role next year.
Now that Mallory has become a starter all of his statistics from his freshmen year have improved dramatically. He shot 44 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free throw line as a freshman. This season he has shot 51 percent from the field and 83 percent from the line.
Mallory is quickly becoming one of the best shooting guards in Division II. He said that he tries to model his game after some of the best shooting guards in NBA history.
“I try to model my game after Dwyane Wade and Allen Iverson just because they’re so exciting. Watching Iverson drop 50 back to back nights makes you want to be like him,” said Mallory.