We're in Texas, so it's only fair that we shine the spotlight on some Lone Star hoops. Because of Texas-Pan American's longstanding independent status and virtual unlikelihood of making the NCAA Tournament, you don't hear much about them in the mainstream press... and with the 15th smallest
athletic budget in Division I, the Broncs are always bucking long odds. But the UTPA men's basketball team has reeled off six straight victories to go 13-10, and are just one shy of last year's win total (which they can achieve with a win at Chicago State tonight
). And we'd just like to take a moment to appreciate the team's heartbeat, the point guard who makes the whole operation tick. Paul Stoll is our 12th Mid-Majority Baller of the Week.
The 5-10 junior guard saw his basketball-playing week start on Wednesday against Houston Baptist, and he played a key part in an 82-68
beatdown of the transitional D-I re-entry Huskies. In 36 minutes, Stoll shot 7-for-9 from the floor, all of which were 3-point attempts. During time stoppages, he would occasionally step to the line and shoot some free throws... making all 16 of his tries. That's 37 points, and he found time to dish nine assists as well. Then, on Saturday against New Jersey Tech, he crushed the Highlanders' dreams of a first D-I win this year by showing off his skills on the other end. His nine steals were tied
for the most against a D-I opponent this season.
On the season, Stoll is ranked quite high in some key statistical categories. He's a marvelously efficient shooter, especially at the line, where he's made 94 of 110 (85.5 percent). In True shooting
, a measure of how often shots find the goal in all game contexts (FG's, 3's and FT's), Stoll ranks 10th nationally with 71.4 percent. The guy can flat out shoot it, but he'd rather distribute. At 7.2 assists per ballgame (including five 10+ assist games), he ranks fourth in all of Division I on average, and number 1 in volume (165).
He's from Michigan, he's Mexican
, and is the son of a former Michigan State player with the same name. He attended Lansing Community College before transferring to UTPA last year (in the great Rio Grande Valley) and is now the little guy from the small school at the bottom of Texas who's at the top of his game. Congratulations, Paul, you're our 12th Mid-Majority Baller of the Week.