Number 10 on our top 25 MAC Basketball players countdown is a 6 foot 6 inch, 220 pound junior from Seattle, Washington, who can sometimes shoot the lights out and other times try to dunk his way onto a poster. His name is Tucker Haymond, and he's entering his third season as one of the most interesting members of the Bronco back court.
Haymond has established himself as a primary threat on the offensive end for Steve Hawkins' Broncos, and he didn't take long to do so. In the 2013-2014 season, he earned All MAC Freshman honors for his efforts, to the tune of 7.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. His sophomore campaign was even better, averaging nearly 12 points per game, improving in every major statistical category, and ultimately proving he belongs in the conversation as one of the MAC's best guards and a player the Broncos simply cannot be effective without.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened in 2015. Haymond was sidelined with illness for four straight games in late February, a stretch that saw the Broncos go just 2-2 and struggle offensively. Who knows what could have been for both Haymond and the entire team had the junior guard not fallen ill, but one thing is for certain, the Broncos best be helping him stay healthy if they want to capitalize on the talent in this back court in 2016.
It's no question the Broncos are a better offensive team when Haymond plays. He carries an offensive box plus minus of 3.9, which essentially means he is 3.9 points better than an average player over 100 possessions, which is just over a game and a half for a team like WMU. And with Tava's injury placing yet another hole in the Bronco's starting five, Haymond will likely see even more of the ball in 2016, providing opportunity for increased touches on the ball. Haymond is not only an above average player on paper, he also passes the eye test:
Haymond is the Broncos basketball equivalent to a "five tool" player. With a smooth shooting stroke and impressive range, Haymond is a chore for any defender. He hits shots from just about anywhere on the floor, and is always a threat to pull up for three, even on the break. He may not handle the ball like Thomas Wilder, but he is excellent at getting into the paint off the dribble from the wing, and is great when he gets to the middle of the floor. Haymond's uses his size and athletic ability to play above the rim and finish plays with the best in the MAC, making him equally as dangerous in the open floor as the half court.
Haymond's strength will always lie in his jump shot. He can go from full speed to a complete stop in an instant to hit a deep three. He can shoot off the dribble over a defender or he can spot up in the corner. He even shoots well coming off of screens. Haymond makes the most of what the defense is giving him, and even if he's given nothing he's never afraid to take the space he needs and take tough shots. The junior is an invaluable weapon for a Bronco team that must be wondering where it's points will come from, considering it lost 17.6 points per game to graduation or injury before the season tips off. It will be exciting to watch Haymond showcase his talent and confidence - both things he absolutely does not lack for - in his third season. The opportunity will be there for the veteran, who will be taking on an even more expanded role than anticipated in 2016.