From the very first time he stepped on the floor for the Miami Hurricanes, freshman PG Manu Lecomte has shown the ability to run a team.
Blessed with tight handles, lightning quick speed, and a smooth reliable jumper, his offensive game was never in question.
After all he had no trouble creating shots for himself or his teammates in the European Under-20 (Division B) championships this summer, earning a spot on the All Tournament team.
But in the highly competitive basketball world that is the Atlantic Coast Conference, it takes more than offensive skill to excel. You need to play both ends of the floor.
In fact, despite Manu's comfort level with the ball, a big part of the reason for Miami's well documented switch from man to zone this year, was due to Lecomte's struggles on D.
Midway through the season he even lost some of his aggression on offense.
To his credit he adjusted.
"I think he has just become more accustomed to what is expected of him," coach Jim Larranaga said. "He’s a very conservative young man, and he would probably prefer to just be distributing the ball to other really good scorers."
On the season he has very respectable numbers of 7.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.4 apg and 43% from the floor as well as a very solid 41% from deep.
This past weekend he had a very efficient 9 point, 5 rebound, and 6 assist performance Vs Wake Forest.
2 games back he sliced and diced NC State to the tune of 15 points and 3 assists.
But numbers only tell half the story.
More than at any other point in the season he is playing fast and looks comfortable on both ends of the floor.
"At the beginning of the year he was playing European defense," added Coach L. "Basically just playing safe. As the season progressed and we started playing zone, it was almost to accommodate him. But as then we even went to a box and one and had him be a chaser, and he was fantastic doing that. He really used his quickness to apply pressure. And we encouraged him to to that when he's guarding the ball as well. He's learned, and he's really improved his defense. He's a far better player on both ends of the court then he was in November and December. I expect him to have a very good ACC Tournament."
Additionally he's starting to make plays that are on bordering on spectacular at times (see highlights below).
If Lecomte can keep up his improvement it will play huge dividends in the ACC Tournament, and future seasons to come.
Some great D by Garrius Adams leads to a perfect lob from Lecomte to Erik Swoope.
Check out the Beautiful Dime from Lecomte to Rion Brown for the two-handed flush.