Joe Willman has breakout season

Scott Padula

Staff Writer

When you think of the men’s basketball team, the first players that come to mind are Mike Muscala ’13, Bryan Cohen ’12 and Bryson Johnson ’13. These three have always held key spots in the lineup. But one of the most unnoticed, yet integral, members of the Bison team this season has been Joe Willman ’13. This season, Willman has seen his minutes, points per game, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals all increase. At the same time, Willman has decreased his personal fouls and turnovers per game this season.

“Willman has been a key player since day one at Bucknell. He is a prototypical ‘4’ man who can score both inside and out,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “He has become quite a weapon with his ability to knock down mid-range jumpers from anywhere on the court. Joe can score in every way, with dribble penetration inside and the 3-point line. In addition, he works well with classmate Mike Muscala when teamed together in the frontcourt.”

On the offensive end, Willman is a big, versatile player who knows how to use his body like a savvy veteran creating off the dribble from the wing. He moves well without the ball and utilizes screens to free himself. After the catch, Willman utilizes his great shot fake and quick first step to successfully drive to the hoop and assist others. Willman has increased his assists this season to 1.6 assists per game. What makes Willman a particularly valuable asset, though, is his size, length and range. Willman is 6’7” and has range out to 25-plus feet, allowing him to stretch the defense better than most. He can score in a variety of ways, hitting mid-range jumpers or going to the hoop with a quick dribble-drive. Willman’s points have increased to 10.8 per game while he has improved his efficiency, making 53.2 percent of his shots.

Willman is also a tough-minded defender. He plays with great energy on the defensive end and can cover guards or forwards. Willman’s length allows him to alter shots, make steals, and pull down rebounds. This season, Willman has seen his rebounds increase to 4.9 per game, while he has also recorded 0.6 steals and 0.5 blocks.

“Willman is a ‘throwback’ type player who loves to compete. He is a very smart player who picked up the Bucknell system quickly. As a senior next season, I expect him to be a leader and tremendous asset to the team,” Paulsen said.


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