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Richmond Players to Watch

Which Spiders should you be watching?

NCAA Basketball: Las Vegas Invitational - California vs Richmond Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Now that football season is over (except our bowl game of course), it’s time to shift gears into a little basketball. The Deacs travel to Richmond to take on the Spiders tomorrow in a tough non conference matchup. Here are the Spiders you should keep your eyes on in that game:

T.J. Cline | Sr. Forward | #10

Cline is jack of all trades for the Spiders. He leads the team in points, rebounds and assists this season, averaging 18.7 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game, and 4.9 assists per game. He is clearly Richmond’s go to guy, as he has the highest usage rate on the team at 33.1%. In his last 2 games against Wake Forest, Cline is averaging 20.5 points and shooting almost 60%. One of the reasons he is such an effective scorer is because he has several ways he can score on an opposing team. At 6-9, he does most of his offensive work in the post. He has a nice touch around the rim that is helping him to shoot just over 60% from inside the 3-point line this season.

While he does most of his scoring inside, Cline is also fully capable of stepping outside and knocking down 3-pointers. In last year’s win over Wake Forest, Cline hit 4-7 3-pointers. He is shooting just 24% from outside this season, but he definitely has the ability to knock them down if he’s open.

Aside from his ability to score, he is also a fantastic passer. It is pretty uncommon in college basketball for a 6-9 Forward to lead the team in assists, but Cline sees the court well and is an unselfish player.

Cline is going to be a difficult player to defend. At this point, I’m guessing Collins will be the one defending him on Saturday. If that is the case, he will need be careful not to pick up early fouls, which could be difficult since Cline averages almost 5 free throw attempts per game.

ShawnDre’ Jones | Sr. Guard | #3

Jones in the second guy for the Spiders that the Deacs will need to slow down. He is averaging 18.4 points per game on 49% shooting and 3.4 assists per game this season. His usage rate is second on the team, right behind Cline at 27.2%. In last years win over Wake Forest, he scored 16 points on 5-8 shooting. Much like Cline, he also has several ways that he can attack a defense and score. To start with, Jones is an outstanding 3-point shooter who is shooting 43% from beyond the arc this year.

That being said, just 32% of his shots this season have been beyond the arc. He does his best work off the dribble where he can use his quickness and ball handling to probe the defense and get to the rim. He is averaging 5.9 free throw attempts per game as a result of his ability to get into the lane and create contact.

Adding to his ability to score the ball is his mid-range jumper. Jones gets great elevation on his jump shot, and can seemingly go from a full speed drive right into his shot with no trouble.

With so many ways to score the basketball, Jones is a handful to defend. Play off of him and he can hit the 3 consistently. Play him tight and he can just put the ball on the floor and pull up or finish at the rim. The Deacs haven’t played particularly great on ball defense all year, especially in the last game against Northwestern. They will need to improve from the last outing and not give up so many layups if they want to come out of Richmond with W. Jones getting by his man and getting into the lane could put Collins and the other bigs in foul trouble early, which, like in the Nortwestern game, would really hurt our chances at winning.