SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Josh Magette is considered one of the top point guards in the nation, and if you are wondering what makes him such a great floor general for Alabama-Huntsville, consider his response to a question about his talents.
“I like to do what I can to get my team involved,” Magette said. “As the game goes on, I’ll look to see if I need to score points or continue to pass the ball. We have a really good team and I don’t always have to score for us to be successful.”
No doubt about that.
Sure, Magette is clicking for 12.8 points per game, but the junior star does so many other things for the Chargers, who are in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for the first time in school history. UAH has also set a record for wins (29) in the DII era of the program.
Magette is shooting 51.6 percent from the field, he has dished out 264 assists and has tallied 71 steals. He’ll look to turn in one more stellar performance when the seventh-ranked Chargers (29-4) battle No. 8 Minnesota State (27-4) in a 2:30 p.m. ET national quarterfinal on Wednesday at the MassMutual Center.
“We feel like we have one of the best point guards in the country,” Huntsville head coach Lennie Acuff said. “We have good guard play overall, great leadership and great balance. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
The Chargers knocked off Stillman 88-81 in the South Regional final and feature a team with three players averaging in double figures. Sophomore forward Zane Campbell is averaging 14 points per outing and sophomore guard Jamie Smith is pumping in 13.3 ppg.
Huntsville is averaging 77.8 points per outing and allowing 66.8. It’s actually the defense that Acuff believes has played the biggest role in the success of the team.
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“A lot of people talk about our offense because we have some complexity to it, but we also guard better than people think,” Acuff said. “We know that we better guard well against Mankato because they are very good.”
Magette agrees with his coach.
“I think we are under-rated on defense,” Magette said. “We spend a lot of time defending and rebounding, and that is showing up in games. We hope it continues because they have really good players and we can’t let them go off. We have to be able to play good team defense.”
The Chargers are having a season to remember and the success doesn’t surprise Acuff. He always believed his team had the potential to make a run at the national championship.
“We had eight of our top nine players back this year and have worked really hard to get to this point,” Acuff said. “I don’t think it’s a fluke that we are here. We have a very good basketball team and it’s been a thrill so far.”
Magette is hoping the thrill continues.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Magette said. “It’s an honor to be here and it’s been a dream season and we want to keep on playing.”