By Dan Huang, Campus Correspondent
One of the players that I was really looking forward to seeing before the start of the season was Niels Giffey. At that point, our incoming recruiting class was not looking all that great, at least not compared to the other top programs in college basketball. We had lost out on the top players we had been chasing, such as Josh Selby, Brandon Knight, and CJ Leslie.
Of course we now know that Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, and Roscoe Smith are pretty good. However, at the time Giffey seemed like the one freshman that could be an x-factor for our team. Fans expected that he would be a stereotypical European player and be able to shoot lights out. That hasn’t been the case so far though. Giffey got good playing time early in the season and had his best performance against Kentucky in the Maui Invitational, scoring 14.
However, his role has diminished greatly as the season has progressed and he was virtually nonexistent in big games against Texas, Villanova, Tennessee, and Louisville. Giffey has been mired in a shooting slump it seems ever since he cut his hair and informed broadcasters his name was pronounced “Giff-I”, as opposed to Giffey. My suggestion would be for everyone to call him Giffey again. It sounds so much better than Giff-I.
In all seriousness though, I really hope Giffey turns it around. Playing against German high schoolers and bigger, more athletic American collegiate players is a huge difference, and the transition has not been easy for Giffey. He just doesn’t look comfortable on the court and it is affecting his game, especially his shooting. He’s still just a freshman though and has plenty of time to develop.
He did make his first three in a month tonight in the loss against Syracuse, but that was about all he did. We have Lamb, Roscoe, and Coombs manning the two and three right now, but with nine regular season games left, my hope is that Giffey can work himself back into the rotation and be a contributor in the Big East and NCAA tournaments.