VALPARAISO | Will Bogan followed one of his best shooting performances of the year against Cleveland State with his worst shooting display in a Valparaiso uniform on Wednesday night against UIC.
It’s been that kind of year for the senior guard.
Bogan, who topped 40 percent from the 3-point line last season in his first year with the Crusaders, is shooting just over 35 percent (20-of-57) from the perimeter and is going through a roller-coaster year that would play games with even the most confident performer.
“Mentally I’m still 100 percent confident in myself,” Bogan said. “My coaches and teammates give me confidence. They’re around me every day in practice and they’ve been very encouraging.”
Bogan has shown flashes of greatness in his 49 career games with the Crusaders. Last season the Ole Miss transfer connected on seven 3-pointers in a 73-71 win at Detroit. Last Friday he knocked down three triples in a nationally-televised game against Cleveland State and appeared to be out of the woods in regards to his shooting woes.
Then Wednesday happened. Bogan missed two 3-pointers within 52 seconds of each other early in the first half, with the second attempt sailing several feet over the rim. The Idaho native would miss three more long distance attempts before the night was through, but that didn’t keep Bogan from being on the floor during the deciding moments of Valparaiso’s 75-70 road victory against the Flames.
“Will might miss his first three or four shots, but we still believe he’s going to hit the next one,” Valparaiso assistant coach Jake Diebler said. “On any given night we know that Will is capable of going off and our opponents know that as well.”
Bogan is a tireless worker when it comes to his preparation, something that will be aided by a relatively light schedule in his final semester of graduate school — he is just two classes away from earning a MBA. He is smart enough to know if his 3-point shot isn’t falling, there are other things he can do to help the team. The coaching staff praises his defensive intensity and Bogan wants to get to the free throw line more. The senior has made 9-of-10 foul shots, but he has attempted the lowest amount of free throws of any regular rotation player on the roster.
“Will has really dedicated a lot of time in the gym this season and he’ll reap those benefits soon,” Diebler said. “Any guy can tell you there are times when you feel like you’re shooting into an ocean and times when you feel like the ball just doesn’t fit. If you’ve put in the work like Will has done, it will take care of itself.”
Bogan knows time is running out for not only himself, but the majority of his teammates. The Crusaders (12-5, 2-1) travel to Milwaukee this afternoon and are more than halfway through the year. With just 15 scheduled games left in his college career, Bogan is ready to put his shooting struggles behind him.
“It’s definitely becoming more of a reality,” Bogan said. “Before it was something that was always in the distance, but now we’ve only got so many games left. Valpo has provided me with a great opportunity to start and contribute in college basketball.”