When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Gates Center
Records: IPFW (9-6), Olivet (4-4)
Radio: ESPN 1380 AM/100.9 FM
There have been glimpses throughout the season where IPFW's Dylan Carl has shown his true potential.
Now, in the final week of nonconference play with a game today against Olivet and Saturday against Concordia (Michigan), the Mastodons hope to see more.
The 6-foot-11, 225-pound redshirt freshman used last year to build his skill set, gain weight and adjust to the next level. And he showed it in a big way at Assembly Hall on Dec. 18.
Carl finished 4 of 5 from behind the arc in 24 minutes.
“What we saw against Indiana is what we recruited Dylan to do,” coach Jon Coffman said. “It's the next phase we add offensively, being able to stretch defenses.
“He's a very skilled big, I think we're really going to see his post game evolve. Right now he's been more of a dump down, offensive rebounder, showing glimpses of what he can do around the post but he also showed what we know we have. He's a guy who can step out and shoot the 3.”
The Alma, Michigan, native has appeared in all 15 games this season and averages 5.1 points, 3.3 rebounds in 14.7 minutes and has made 50.8 percent of his shots from the floor (31 of 61).
“Coach always tells me I can shoot (the 3),” Carl said. “I just had more opportunities that game (at Indiana). I kept getting in the corner and I'd screen them and they'd hedge and I'd pop. Some games I don't get many opportunities, and some games I do and that just happened to be one and they found me and I made them.
“It helps because a lot of post players, I'm quicker than they are, so if I set it and they hedge, I can pop it really quick and my shot's already going on its way or I'm at the top of my shot. In the post, I like facing up and getting angles to go around them, but I haven't really shown that, yet.”
The three-time all-state selection in Michigan had Brent Calhoun and Xzavier Taylor to help him last season and added Cameron Benford to the mix this year.
“He makes me feel like I'm his dad just because we have been in the gym together constantly,” Taylor said. “Every day after practice, we work on post-move shots. Sometimes it feels like when it's not my game, it's his game and when it's not his game, it's my game. But no matter whose game it is, we always pick each other up. We've been in the gym together and worked on it, and we have faith in each other and ourselves.”
Coffman, the coaching staff and his teammates have seen the progress and have confidence in Carl, but it's the constant adjustment and confidence in himself that the coaches feel is the biggest hurdle.
But if Carl and his teammates can play with the focus and confidence as they did against Indiana, the team will continue to win.
“Indiana was having to change matchups. They went away from (De'Ron) Davis, who helped them beat Notre Dame the game before,” Coffman said.
“They were shifting up and trying to find guys that are going to guard as we stretch them out, and that's good. When you can make people think less about what they have to do to be good and more about surviving, guarding someone else, that really helps you.
“That's what Dylan stretching the floor will do for us on a consistent basis. He showed us what he can do and now it's about putting that on the floor every single game.
“We've really seen the progression of it, and every day he gains more and more confidence. That's the only thing standing in his way. He's got the body, he has the skill set, bringing the juice and confidence in himself, that's really going to progress his game.”