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The second coming (cont.)

Posted: Friday February 23, 2007 9:55AM; Updated: Saturday February 24, 2007 10:58PM
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One thing Stuckey has not done well is shoot the three-pointer. He has played mostly point guard at Eastern Washington, and has not been able to extend his range much beyond 15-feet, shooting just 27 percent from long range this season.

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"The concern with Wade coming out of college was how well he would shoot from the perimeter," says the NBA source. "I would say that is Stuckey's biggest drawback right now. He is an 85 percent free throw shooter. The contention is, at some point, if he works at it, he'll be a better than average shooter."

Stuckey says he had no plans of entering the NBA Draft after his first season, but things are beginning to change after his second year.

"I've been getting a lot of looks [from NBA scouts]," he says. "That's always good."

Despite Stuckey's success, the Eagles have struggled in the win-loss column. At 7-8 in the Big Sky (14-14 overall), they're in danger of missing the six-team conference tournament. Following Thursday's 82-79 win over Idaho State, in which Stuckey had 23 points and 10 assists, including the game-winning dime on a Marcus Hinton three with two seconds left, the Eagles were still stuck in seventh place and needing some help to climb into sixth with just one game to play.

Should EWU play its way in, Burns believes the team could ride Stuckey through the weekend.

"We have the one wild card that nobody else possesses," Burns says. "We have a guy that can go get you 30, 35 points with seven or eight assists and seven or eight rebounds. I don't know of anybody else in the league who possess that weapon. It is definitely an X-factor if we get that opportunity."

Once the season ends, Stuckey says he will sit down with his family and coach to plan the next phase of his basketball career.

"We'll try to make the best decision for him and his future," Burns says. "If that opportunity is there, it is something he's going to have to pursue and we are very much aware of that."

Avoiding The Buster Hangover

The three teams that pulled off the most significant BracketBuster wins were able to sidestep potential land mines in their first games following the weekend.

Appalachian State, sky-high after its last-second win at Wichita State, went on the road Tuesday and won at Western Carolina. Nate Cranford had four threes as the Mountaineers held off a second-half charge.

Southern Illinois clinched the Missouri Valley regular-season title by winning a grind-it-out affair at Indiana State. The Salukis were in a fight most of the way before pulling away in the final seven minutes behind Tony Young's 15 points.

And Winthrop, fresh off its win at Missouri State, came from behind to beat High Point and clinch the Big South championship. High Point built a 39-28 halftime lead before Winthrop turned on the jets behind seniors Craig Bradshaw, Torrell Martin and Phillip Williams.

Drexel was another squad who was able to sustain its BracketBusters momentum, avenging a stinging loss to William & Mary four days after winning at Creighton.


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