After slow start because of a stress fracture in his foot, sophomore point guard hits his stride in final half of Big Sky Conference season
It goes without saying that the 2010-11 season got off to a rough start for Eastern Washington University sophomore point guard Glen Dean.
But the 2008 graduate of Seattle's Roosevelt High School has made up for it as of late, and he was rewarded Thursday (March 3) with second team All-Big Sky Conference honors as selected by the league's head men's basketball coaches.
After missing seven games and nearly two months of practice time with a stress fracture in his left foot, Dean has helped lead the Eagles to their first postseason appearance in five seasons. The Eagles will play at Weber State Saturday (March 5) in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament at 6:30 p.m. Pacific time at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah.
Dean enters the Weber State playoff game averaging 18.3 points per game in his last six outings, making 21-of-39 three-point attempts for 53.8 percent. He scored all 17 of his points after intermission -- including a go-ahead three-pointer with 55 seconds left in overtime -- to propel Eastern to a 59-55 victory over first-place Montana on Feb. 26. Dean didn't even attempt a shot in the first half, but finished 6-of-8 from the field and made all three of his shots from behind the arc. He also had five assists, three steals and four rebounds in 40 minutes of playing time.
"We saw a big step in the development of Glen Dean against Montana," said Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine of his point guard, who had seven of EWU's 14 turnovers one game earlier on Feb. 24 in a 60-56 loss to Montana State. Dean also scored 12 points, six assists and one steal versus MSU. "He played his worst game of the year against Montana State, but he did so in trying really hard. He took too much on his shoulders and felt pressure to make all the plays."
For the weekend, Dean made 10-of-20 shots from the field, including 7-of-10 three-point attempts, to go along totals of 29 points, 12 assists, five rebounds, four steals and 11 turnovers in 73 minutes of action.
He followed the Montana game with seven points and two assists in EWU's stunning 75-59 victory at Weber State on Wednesday (March 2). He only took six shots as a trio of Eagle teammates combined for 50 points in the 16-point rout.
"Some nights we need Glen to take shots and score points, and other nights we need him to run our team," the fourth-year EWU head coach continued. "That is a very difficult thing for a young player to learn. Glen was spot on against Montana as to when to shoot it, when not to, when to run our team and when to get the ball to the post. I thought he was outstanding."
In 22 games thus far, Dean is averaging 13.9 points and 4.3 assists per game to lead the Eagles in both categories and rank ninth and fourth, respectively, in the Big Sky. He is also fourth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.7 per game with 95 assists and 55 turnovers), is seventh in three-pointers made per game (2.1), eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.420) and ninth in free throw percentage (.792, 76-of-96). He has led the team in scoring 11 times, and has scored in double figures on 16 occasions, including 23 in his first game back.
On Eastern career lists, he has a career three-point field goal percentage of .424 that currently ranks fifth in school history, and his 95 treys made are 12th. Dean's 224 attempts are still 33 away from ranking in the top 12 in that category.
He had a career-high 31 points at NAU on Feb. 16, eclipsing his previous high of 29 on Dec. 31, 2009. Dean made 8-of-18 shots from the field, including 4-of-9 from the three-point arc, and made 11-of-12 free throws as no other Eagle scored in double figures. He had a season-high eight assists against Sacramento State on Jan. 22 and scored 57 in back-to-back losses against Weber State (26 on Feb. 12) and Northern Arizona (31 on Feb. 16).
He also had 26 points and six assists in an 80-68 home loss against Weber State on Feb. 12, with 14 of his points and four assists coming in the first half. Dean kept the Eagles within striking distance most of the way with 7-of-12 shooting from the field, including 6-of-9 from the three-point arc.
"There is a little extra pop in his feet when he comes to a stop. He's just crisper," explained Earlywine following the Weber State game on Feb. 12. "We saw it in the last three minutes against Idaho State (on Feb. 5), we saw it all week in practice and we saw it for a full 40 minutes against Weber State. It looked like the Glen Dean of last year, and that's encouraging."
Dean, who averaged 12.2 points and 4.4 assists per game year ago, was finally cleared to practice on Dec. 8 after missing nearly two months due to a stress fracture in his left foot. Despite missing valuable practice time, Earlywine made certain the two months off the floor weren't a total loss.
"Sometimes it is good when players have to step back and take a look at things from the bench," explained Earlywine. "It was very noticeable that Glen sat very close to me during games so he could hear the decision-making process and what happens during games. As a coach on the floor, hopefully that will help him in the long run."
Dean made his debut on Dec. 12 against San Jose State and finished with 23 points, four assists and just one turnover in 30 minutes of action. Dean made his first appearance of the season at home at Reese Court in Eastern's 95-91 win over Seattle on Dec. 15, and finished with 11 points, four assists and a steal in 28 minutes of action.
Prior to making his debut, he practiced just twice prior for an hour each after getting cleared to play. With the 2009-10 Freshman of the Year back in the lineup, Eastern could concentrate on building its team around a player who averaged 12.2 points and 4.4 assists a year ago.
"It goes to show the amount of time and work he put in on a bike, the stair master, in the swimming pool and in the training room," Earlywine said in December. "It's quite a tribute to him and he has an unbelievable work capacity. The reason I feel good about our direction right now is that Jeffrey Forbes, Kevin Winford and Glen Dean know how to work. They know how hard and how long, and that's rubbing off on our other guys."