Basketball head coach Neil Dougherty teases shooting guard Henry Salter about being a Southern boy who never learned to shoot with the correct hand, but Salter’s performance through his first 15 games has both player and coach smiling.
Salter, a left-handed junior guard, leads the team in scoring and rebounding in his first season with the Frogs after spending two years at the junior college level.
“It was just exciting for me to be on a different level than junior college and just playing against better athletes and better competition,” Salter said.
Having started all 15 games, Salter is averaging 15.5 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game. Salter’s versatility, Dougherty said, is what caught his attention.
During his sophomore year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Salter’s 24.8 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game were both top 10 in the conference, the only player in the nation to do so.
At 6 feet 4 inches, Salter also filled the need for a bigger guard, Dougherty said.
“When you find someone that you have a chance to recruit and he also fills one of your big needs, that’s like an A+ in recruiting because it doesn’t always work out that way,” Dougherty said.
“It helped me in a lot of ways because the coaches put the ball in my hands in a lot of situations, and I was able to showcase my talent in a variety of ways,” Salter said.
The addition of Salter has helped to make the offense more versatile, Dougherty said.
“He was someone who could score from the three-point line all the way to the rim,” Dougherty said.
Kevin Langford, junior forward, said: “He’s our third scoring threat. He takes a lot of pressure off of me and Brent (Hackett) in the games because a lot of people have a hard time guarding all three of us. He just brings a whole new dimension to our team.”
Salter has adjusted well to the move from junior college basketball to Division I, succeeding both on the court and in the class room, Dougherty said.
Salter said he’s now more relaxed.
“I find myself more comfortable in the offense and I’m just playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Salter said. “I’m trying to be consistent.”
Dougherty said playing at the Division I level requires athletes to take it up a notch.
“There are gaps between high school and here and between junior college and here,” Dougherty said. “Bridging those gaps is what we’ve got to continue to work on.”