It’s been an up and down season for the sophomore transfer, Joe Retic, in his inaugural Liberty campaign. In his debut game against Randolph College, Retic recorded 4 turnovers and no points, not exactly a dream start. Coach Layer kept faith in Retic after his early season struggles, and we are starting to see glimpses of the player Joe can be.
After averaging 2.0 points and 2.0 assists per contest through his first seven games, Retic is averaging 8.3 and 3.2 in the last six. Joe told us a lot of the early problems came with the transition to the D1 level of play. “In the beginning I just had to adjust to it (D1 basketball), but I’m getting better at it. I know the team believes in me and the coaches believe in me.”
One of the keys, Retic told us, has been getting the chance to learn from two of the best guards in the Big South, John Caleb Sanders and Davon Marshall. “They’re experienced, they’re veterans, I’ve just been listening to them,” He told us. “They try to help me out the best they can, so I’m just trying to be a young student for them.”
So far turnovers have been Retic’s biggest problem, but we’ve seen improvement there as well. In the first seven games he averaged 2.9 turnovers, and in the last six has cut that number to 1.8. There is still plenty of work to be done though, as he leads Flames with significant minutes in turnovers per minutes.
On December 20 Joe had an impressive 16 point performance with no turnovers. He showed the ability to slash through defenders and get to the basket and made some key plays for Liberty down the stretch that gave the Flames a shot to win the game. He followed that with 12 points against Southeastern, and will be looking to continue his high level of play.
The Flames will desperately need Retic as Big South play begins. He adds depth to a somewhat thin backcourt, and with Davon Marshall struggling, Retic will have to pitch in to fill the void if Marshall’s woes continue. I believe Flames Fans are going to see a lot more of what Joe is capable of over the second half of the season.