Apr 12, 2012
2011-12 Final grades: Danny Berger
31 games, 25 starts
49.1% - FG
36.7% - 3pt
76.9% - FT
Now the grades really get tricky as we've worked our way into the starters. These are the guys we've seen the most of, seen their ups and downs, seen them play through slumps, and seen their big games that have raised the bar of expectations. In Berger's case, he made a really great impression early on and also had a pretty excellent finish to the season, leaving us all to wonder, "what happened in the middle there?"
It's unfair to ignore the fact that he came to Logan ridiculously fresh off a mission, but was expected to have the luxury of redshirting. When Adam Thoseby, Mitch Bruneel and Steve Thornton couldn't deliver on a consistent basis, Berger was thrown into the fire. The result was some stellar play in his first couple games that seemed to really inject life into the whole team. Still, with no time to get in the kind of shape demanded of a college athlete, fatigue seemed to takes its toll, along with the challenge of playing at a new level for the first time.
Positives: Even when the baskets weren't falling for Berger, he still was contributing in big ways when it came to rebounding and assists. He was very good at reading opportunities to catch defenders off balance trying to close out on him on the perimeter and putting the ball on the floor to either try to finish around the basket or create chances for teammates. The result was an assists-to-turnover ratio that was the best on the team, and by a decent margin. He also had a very strong finish to the season, putting up some of his best performances all year in both the WAC Tournament and CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Negatives: After scoring in double-figures in four of his first five games, Berger got back to double-digit scoring just three times over the next 20 games. While he still chipped in pretty regularly with rebounds and assists, he managed to contribute on those fronts when he was scoring too. His major shooting slump that came throughout the middle part of the season seemed to be a pure product of mission legs, but it's still never a good thing when you hit only 7-of-34 shots from the field over an eight-game span. No matter how bright his future may be, that is going to dock him on this year's grade quite a bit. He was also really bad defensively at times, although he did improve as the year went on.
Summary: Some fans questioned whether or not Berger would ever be a solid player, which honestly kind of blew my mind. I think Berger's potential is through the roof and he had several games showing those flashes of what he's capable of. Plenty of other games he did struggle, but again, first year in D-1, fresh off the mission, gotta expect at least a little bit of inconsistency. With a full offseason of training and refining of his game, I think Berger will have one hell of a breakout year in 2012-13.
My guess is that out of all the players from this season returning for next year, Berger will see a bigger increase in his own numbers and percentages than anyone else.
Final grade: B-