Senior Hector Harold has noticed something new this season. He has a lot more freedom in Vermont’s offense.
“I think that playing with such a good group of guys last year it’s easy to get lost on the offensive end because there are so many talented and assertive guys on the court at the same time,” Harold said. “Now that we have some freshmen, that we kind of have to string along a little bit, I think that having more of a role on the offensive end is something that I’m pretty excited about. I’ve been waiting for it, to be honest, I’m happy I got it.”
Last year, the Pepperdine transfer scored a career-high 24 points in the Catamounts’ one-point loss at Duke. It was easy to see that he would break out in November after putting together three double-digit scoring games, but over the course of the season he touched double-digit points a total of six times. Now with a six-man senior class having left, Harold realizes that this year will be his time as one of two seniors.
“This year coach has a lot more confidence in me now, that I’ve been with him for two years, and he’s ready for me to step into this role,” Harold said. “I think I have a lot more freedom and that helps me play better.”
Harold, senior Ryan Pierson and junior Ethan O’Day will be the Catamounts captains this season. For the 6’7″ senior, the task to take on the leadership role started on the team’s five-day Canada trip.
“Being more assertive on both offense and defense is something the coaches have really raised their demands for me and it’s been a challenge,” Harold said. “I think [the Canada trip] definitely gave us a good chance to work with them and feel pretty confident. I feel like I’m ready for the role.”
Freshman Ernie Duncan said that the younger group has looked to Harold often to lead as they transitioned from summer workouts, practices and a Canada trip to now.
“Hector’s in the weight room telling us to pick it up and on the court and in the locker room,” freshman Ernie Duncan said. “He’s really the guy that’s leading all of us and all of us freshman are looking to him.”
Returning leading scorer O’Day said that he has seen Harold make that adjustment and become a leader in a short period of time.
“He’s become a leader for the younger guys, whether it’s on the court or off the court, talking to guys and helping through the adjustment to playing college basketball,” O’Day said. “As far as playing, he’s taken over the role being a lot more aggressive on offense and finding that balance of when to settle and drive. He’s definitely taken over the role of being a go to guy and a leader this season.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the America East conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.