Here's some proof that statistics don't always do justice to the worth of a player: Patrick Bouli is averaging a mere 0.7 steals per game.
Now a senior at Manhattan College, Bouli has been the Jaspers' best defender this season. He might not be a notorious pickpocket, but his tenacity and ability to suffocate his opponent are unmatched by any of his teammates.
Although it wasn't the first instance, Wednesday night's game against Hofstra proved that Bouli cannot sit on the bench when the Jaspers' opponent has an established scorer.
Charles Jenkins was that scorer on Wednesday. The junior from Queens, NY entered the contest averaging 24.8 points in games in which he played 33 or more minutes. He scored nine points in games against Farmingdale and Elon, but saw limited playing time because the Pride were on the winning end of a blowout.
Kansas and UConn did not have an answer for Jenkins, who scored 23 against the Jayhawks and 25 against the Huskies.
By the end of Wednesday's game, Jenkins' statline read: 3-14 FG for nine points in 36 minutes. Bouli only played 25 minutes—don't ask me, ask Barry Rohrssen—but in that span, Jenkins' sole field goal came on a Jasper turnover in the open court.
Jenkins simply could not get a high percentage shot against Bouli, who fought his way through picks set by the burly Miklos Szabo and Halil Kancevic to stay with Hofstra's star. Most of Jenkins' shots were forced.
When Bouli sat on the bench, Rico Pickett and Antoine Pearson struggled to keep pace with Jenkins. They couldn't get through the picks that Bouli so easily evaded, and the defense needed to shift to help them. As a result, Jenkins was able to total four assists by passing to an open big or wing.
Jenkins' other two field goals fell when Bouli was on the bench. The junior scored three of his points on the line in five attempts, two of which were awarded to him after the referees called a questionable foul against Bouli on a three-on-one fastbreak—you can always count on Bouli to be back on defense.
The Cameroon native has averaged a meager 25.3 minutes per game for the guard-heavy Jaspers, but Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen should consider increasing Bouli's playing time—it's alright to sacrifice offense for defense, especially against teams with scorers like Jenkins.
Morgan State and Reggie Holmes, who is averaging 24.8 points per game, will host Bouli and the Jaspers on Saturday. Holmes is in for a long day if Rohrssen lets Bouli play the 32 minutes that Morgan State's star averages.