44- PETER LYNCH, SENIOR CAPTAIN, FORWARD, 6’6″
2011-12 stats: 30 GP, 29 GS, 21.0 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 11 STL, 17 BLK, .763 FT%, .636 FG%
Peter Lynch has been developing into a very capable front court player, and he heads into his senior season with by far the biggest challenge of his career ahead of him. After playing a complementary role to Ryan Sharry last season, Lynch is now the best (and arguably only) big man who can score in the post for Middlebury. With Sharry gone, he will draw far more attention from opposing defenses, and will be called upon to consistently beat top defenders down low. Luckily, this is not unchartered territory for Lynch. At the start of last season, Sharry was sidelined with an ankle injury, and Pete stepped up. Over the course of five games, he averaged 15 points on 69% shooting in 25 minutes per game, and won MVP honors at the season-opening tournament. He continued to play well once Sharry returned, and while his scoring dropped (understandably), he finished the season tops in the NESCAC in field goal percentage (64%). The more you watch Pete, the more you understand why he is able to succeed offensively despite being undersized and relatively unathletic: his touch is soft, and his post moves are the class of the conference. Against certain opponents, he can score at will, and he is likely to put up a few 20+ point games this season. That said, it will be important for Lynch to avoid trying to do too much, especially against longer defenders. If he sticks to the hard work and smarts that got him this far, Lynch should average 12-14 points per game, and shoot around 60% from the field.
On defense, Peter won’t block a lot of shots, but he can match up with most fours and fives because of his fundamentals and strength. Peter is the strongest player on the team, and likely the second-strongest player in the conference (Amherst’s Peter Kaasila is as strong as anybody who will ever play in the NESCAC). The defensive adjustment this year will not be a big one for Peter, as he was already matching up against the top frontcourt opponents last season with Jeff Brown often trying to keep Sharry out of foul trouble. If anything, Peter will be helped by the increased presence of Jack Roberts and James Jensen, two defense-first big men, alongside him.