We're continuing to roll through our player evaluations for the 2014-15 basketball season, and next up is junior guard Mike LaTulip. After this post we'll be moving on to the freshman and sophomores in that order; you can expect the segments to be published about every two to three days.
Mike LaTulip | Junior | SG
LaTulip played quite a bit during the non-conference portion of the schedule thanks to Illinois' offensive explosion; overall he saw playing time in eight of the first twelve games. His first two performances of the year were by far his best as he scored 7 points in 10 minutes against Coppin State and followed that up with a career-high 9 points against Austin Peay.
As expected, LaTulip's playing time was almost non-existent during the start of Big Ten play, but that changed as the Illini suffered injuries and suspensions. He never became part of the rotation, but LaTulip did see minutes in a total of eight conference games this season.
LaTulip ended the year averaging 1.5 points and 0.5 rebounds per game. He was a 100% free throw shooter (10-10) on the year and made 46.2% of his field goal attempts (44.4% from three).
The highlight of LaTulip's season occurred in January when he was given a scholarship for the second semester. He'll presumably be 'demoted' back to walk-on status for this upcoming season, but not many people can say that they were a scholarship player for Illinois Basketball.
Austin Peay | November 21st
LaTulip came out firing against the Governors; he logged a career-high 9 points, 1 rebound, and 1 steal in 8 minutes of action while shooting 3-4 from the field (1-2 from three) and 2-2 from the free throw line.
Final Grade: A+
LaTulip averaged 3.71 points in 4.85 minutes during the seven games in which he attempted a field goal; for those of you that aren't keeping track, that equates to a preposterous 30.59 points/40 minutes. He was the definition of "instant offense" each time he stepped on the court.
So therefore, Illinois would not only have made the NCAA Tournament if Mike LaTulip played more often, but they would've been contending for a National Title as well.
Ok maybe not, but LaTulip did play pretty well when given the opportunity this season and that's why we're giving him an A+. Well that and the fact that he's our favorite player, of course.
Next up on our evaluation schedule is Leron Black--make sure to check back this week.