Yeah, Coastal Carolina guard Anthony Raffa has heard a number of times this week about how he’s leading all NCAA Division I players in scoring through the early part of the season, but he insists he isn’t caught up in any of that.
Averaging 26.0 points through five games and coming off a career-high 34-point effort over the weekend, the standout senior guard has certainly found his rhythm offensively – but the same cannot be said for the Chanticleers as a whole.
So he’s not looking to bask too much in his individual success just yet.
“I’ve got friends from Jersey, people from here just telling me, ‘You know you’re the nation’s leading scorer right now?’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah,’ ” Raffa said before practice Monday. “But I don’t worry about that too much. I don’t want that to get in my head. I just want to play ball. I want to focus on this team trying to win games.”
Coastal is off to a 2-3 start as it heads north to play Boston (0-5) on Wednesday night inside Case Gymnasium, and CCU coach Cliff Ellis said he too is more concerned about the collective development of his squad than any individual scoring marks.
“Right now, we’re focused on our team as a whole – fundamentals,” Ellis said. “I’m proud of Raffa for scoring, but at the same time we’ve got to get his defense and our other guys fundamentally sound in both areas because we’re giving up as much as we’re getting. But without him, it would be tough.”
That’s been one of the Chants’ problems thus far with a young roster. Senior point guard Kierre Greenwood and sophomore guard Warren Gillis are each averaging 12 points per game, but for the most part the team has relied heavily on Raffa to put points on the scoreboard.
Consequently, he acknowledged that opposing defenses are taking notice of that.
“I just play my game,” Raffa said. “I’ve been with Kierre for four years, and he knows how I play and I know how he plays. We try to look out for each other. … I know defenses are going to try to key on me the most, but he knows how to get me the ball in the right spots to be successful.”
Raffa’s 34 points Saturday in a loss to Florida International came on 12-of-23 shooting (4-of-10 from beyond the arc). He’s also had games of 18, 25, 26 and 27 points. He’s shooting 47.7 percent from the field overall and 40.5 percent from 3-point range with 17 3s already.
It was expected all along that he and Greenwood – the Chants’ two proven veterans – would have to lead the way this season, but Ellis remains confident the rest of the roster will continue to progress and increase their contributions
“I think we can get there,” Ellis said. “As I told our team, I think every team we’re playing – and I’m not including teams that are not Division I – could win our league. We’re playing nothing but teams that could be at the top of our league.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318, or follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/RyanYoungTSN.