Flowers to blossom as March Madness nears

It may have taken him awhile, but senior guard Leon Flowers has found his groove, as the only senior on the men’s team one would think that his experience would give him a leg up on the competition right out of the gates, but that wasn’t the case this year.

The 6’ 5” guard averages about 2.7 points per game last season, and started just one game. This season looked like fans would see much of the same from Flowers: good on ball defense, a hesitant shooter and scorer, and a strong rebounder for his size.

That was the case early in the season as he scored over ten points just once in the team’s first 11 games. But on Jan. 4 in St. Joseph, Mo. Flowers scored 26 points against the Griffons of Missouri Western.

After scoring just two points on two shots in the first half Flowers found the confidence coaches and fans had been looking for his entire career as an Ichabod.

In the second half he missed two shots from the field going 5-5 from behind the three point line and 3-3 from the charity stripe. He scored 24 of his 26 total points in the final 19 minutes of the game, leading the Ichabods to a 79-69 win on the road.

“I worked on a lot of my game this past summer,” Flowers said. “I’ve been practicing harder and playing with more confidence.”

Since that game, his new found confidence has shown on a consistent basis. In his last ten games he has scored fewer than 10 points in only two games. After averaging 6.5 points per game before the Missouri Western game, he is now the team’s third leading scorer putting up 10.3 points a night.

The scoring increase has only added to Flowers’ already impressive versatility, and he hasn’t forgotten what got him on the floor in the first place.

“My biggest strength is being versatile and being able to guard and play multiple positions,” Flowers said. “As a team out biggest strength is our shooting and being able to take advantage of mismatches.”

Being able to take advantage of mismatches has been important for the Bods all season, and a well-chronicled part of their success so far.

Flowers is one of three Ichabods shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc this season. With the 6’ 5” guard covering taller small and power forwards all season, his ability to stretch the floor and bring opposing bigs out of the paint has been the only way they’ve been able to create driving lanes to score inside. Without an inside scoring presence, his assessment of the team’s strength is spot on.

His off-season work is perhaps most noticeable at the free-throw line as he leads the team, making over 84 percent of his chances there. While that is the only statistic that Flowers actually leads the team in he still shows up all over the box score.

He is in the top 5 in nearly every statistical category including points, assists, steals, blocks and rebounds per game even though he has only started 11 of the teams 21 games this season.

Flowers will be back in action on the road in Edmond, Oklahoma on Thursday, Feb. 13 as the 15-6 Ichabods take on the 14-7 Bronchos of Central Oklahoma.