Not just an average Joe
Kiely turning into a leader as Mavericks' point guard
The point guard has many responsibilities on the basketball court: Bring the ball up the court, run the offense, stop dribble penetration, and in many cases be a team leader.
In the past, the Colorado Mesa men’s basketball team has split those responsibilities between two players.
This season, sophomore transfer Joe Kiely (pronounced KY-lee) has filled the role so well, he plays a majority of the game, coming out only to catch his breath.
“That’s what point guards do, they set the tone,” CMU coach Andy Shantz said. “Joe’s done a really good job. Joe had a bad game against Colorado Christian. Everyone has a bad game once in a while.
“Joe can bring an energy to us on and off the floor. I’ve asked him to do that. He’s got a good personality, and people respect him. If he can do that, it is advantageous for us.”
Kiely is leading the team in minutes played with 31.1 per game, 12th most in the RMAC. He’s averaging 9.7 points per game and 4.5 assists per game.
“I like it ... a lot,” Kiely said with his infectious laugh. “Nobody wants to come off the court. Sometimes it gets tiring, but you’ve got to fight through it. I think Coach Shantz does a good job of getting me rest when I need rest, but normally I don’t say I’m tired.”
Kiely has played more than 30 minutes in nine of Mesa’s 14 games.
Before the break, returning point guard Daniel Estes would give him a breather, but Estes left the team by his choice, Shantz said. Kiely was averaging 30 minutes per game before the break.
That doesn’t mean Shantz expects Kiely to play the entire game at the demanding position.
“Joe plays heavy minutes, but we can put Clay (Kame) in there,” Shantz said. “We feel comfortable doing that. He played point guard when he first got here. I also think Jerry (Duckworth) could. It’s just a matter of him getting more comfortable.
“Joe was playing a lot of minutes before Danny (Estes) decided not to play, so I don’t think it is much of an issue.”
The times Kiely hasn’t played more than 30 minutes, he was in foul trouble or had a bad game.
“You do want to be conscious about keeping him healthy and making sure he has enough left in the tank for the rest of the year,” Shantz said. “We’ve got to be mindful of it and make sure we get him some rest, too.”
Shantz said Kame and Duckworth are playing more minutes at point guard in practice now.
“We can also go by committee if we have to,” Shantz said. “It’s not much of a concern for us.”
Kame had nine assists in the Mavs’ two games last week, two less than Kiely had.
“They’re doing a good job,” Kiely said of Kame and Duckworth. “They challenge me in practice. Clay does a good job when his head is in the game. I’ve always told Jerry we need Jerry for us to win. When Jerry has a good game, we win. He’s a good impact player. He can dominate the game.”