Brandon Meawasige

Assistant Sports Editor

 

At first glance, McMaster rookie Adam Presutti, who stands 6’2” and weights 175 lbs, is not the most physically imposing point guard in the OUA and he is certainly not the most experienced.

That being said, the Marauders are in the middle of a five-game win streak, with Presutti’s own success right at the heart of it. The first-year business student is averaging 16.8 points per game over McMaster’s mini streak and has taken over as the straw that stirs McMaster’s offensive drink.

“It’s something in him. We have told him from the beginning of the season that he can play like this and the biggest difference now is that people are seeing his ability to score,” says head coach Amos Connolly of Presutti this week.

“He has been very consistent of late and that is not typical of a kid in February of his first year. He is starting to realize what the openings are. I think he is realizing that we are fine if he shoots the ball and his teammates are okay with that,” says Connolly.

Even in light the praise he has received for his great play, as a young player it is important that Presutti maintains his confidence while continuing to learn this season, something his coaches are keeping a close eye on.

“Adam is a first-year and the difficulty with first years is having them string games together without thinking it’s luck. It takes them a little while to understand that they can play like that and it is not luck. It is about what your mentality is going into the game and you have to be consistent,” something Connolly, a former McMaster basketball player, knows a thing or two about.

These concerns do not find their way in one ear and out the other either; Presutti deservces credit for his attitude towards his rookie season. His coaching staff has referred to him as a great student and it is easy to see why.

“It’s easy when your coach believes in you and your coach believes in you,” says Presutti. “Every step of the way I am going to make mistakes, they are going to continuously help me through it. I learned that early when I messed up against Windsor but as the season progresses and I just keep learning and people keep giving me instructions. The pressure slowly gets relieved.”

Though he is confident both on and off the court, Presutti emphasizes the importance of his teammates and staying grounded.

“For me it is a mindset. You need to stay humble and learn at every opportunity you get. Continuing to learn from the older guys and improving my game has been big.”

Speaking strictly about basketball, Presutti has now proven himself worthy of the hype he had entering the season as a highly touted recruit.

“Technically, he is very fundamentally sound on offense; he has a good handle, he can pass, plays with his head up, hit the pull up, hit the three and attack to the rim. For a point guard to have that skill set with both hands is not common,” Connolly said of his young point guard’s strengths.

After their most recent game, a 77-63 home court victory over Western on Feb. 8, Presutti demonstrated his awareness of the road ahead.

“From an offensive standpoint I’m streaky but there are times when I control the game. From a defensive standpoint I am very inconsistent, I need to get stronger which is the main goal for the summer and I need to get smarter,” he says of himself.

With McMaster sitting solidly in fourth place, with a record of 14-5, the road does not get any easier for Presutti as he will soon be leading his team into the OUA playoffs.

When asked if the freshman could handle all of the pressure, Connolly responded with an evaluation of his breakout candidate for conference rookie of the year.

“He has poise and he is a competitor with a natural competitive streak. Sometimes he doesn’t step back and realize that even though he is young he can take over the game. I wouldn’t call him over confident and he is not sheepish. Adam is a complex guy that has a chance to do some good things.”

I have no question that he can lead this team in the future.”

While Presutti represents a bright future for the program, the task at hand remains finishing the season strong and competing in the playoffs. The Marauders will have a chance to move one step forward as they travel to Guelph for a weekend game against the Guelph Gryphons.

The last time these two teams played Presutti scored a career-high 29 points en route to a 82-74 Mac win.

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