Laval Lucas-Perry continues to struggle as Michigan's season winds down
On Monday afternoon in practice, sophomore guard Laval Lucas-Perry hit 15 of 16 three-pointers. The next night, against Minnesota, Lucas-Perry didn’t attempt a shot.
This is normal for the sophomore from Flint. All season long Lucas-Perry has been an offensive enigma. When he releases his shot, it looks smooth. There are no obvious mechanical flaws.
Yet in 10 games this season, Lucas-Perry has not scored a point.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
“I’m fine,” Lucas-Perry said Tuesday night. “I’m not knocking down shots, but I’m getting good looks. The ball is just not going in.
“I’m feeling great right now with my confidence.”
Lucas-Perry hasn’t scored since a 13-point outing at Iowa on Feb. 16. Since then, he’s taken 11 shots - nine of them three-pointers - and missed them all.
He’s been equally poor from the free throw line, missing both of his attempts there.
The lack of offensive production would be more understandable if Lucas-Perry played minutes like he did against Minnesota, when he came off the bench for a brief five minutes.
But prior to that, he recorded single-digit minutes just once this season, when he scored four points in seven minutes against Wisconsin.
But he’s averaging 22.5 minutes a game and started 22 games for Michigan this season despite not scoring in over a third of the Wolverines’ 29 contests.
“It’s something that you go through,” Lucas-Perry said. “I’m not worried about a thing. I’m going to keep my head up. I know I’m a good player and I’m going to do what I can for this team.
“I have a lot to give this team.”
The lack of translation from his practice success to live action has baffled him a little bit.
He did, after all, make 34.4 percent of his three-pointers last year.
“You get a little frustrated,” Lucas-Perry said. “But I’m a good shooter and I’m a great player. I’m going to keep working hard and do whatever it takes to be the player I know I can be.”
So while Lucas-Perry said he’s still feeling confident, something is going on. Michigan coach John Beilein seems to think that for a lot of his shooters - including Lucas-Perry - it is a confidence issue.
“There are just times where people just lose their confidence,” Beilein said. “And it’s very difficult to get it back without a make.
“You just want the ball to go in any way, bounce around, hit the top of the backboard, go in and it could change everything.”