Sophomore Hason Ward has made the best of his minutes since he stepped on campus

VCU sophomore, Hason Ward, posted a career-high 13 points in yesterday's double-digit win over the La Salle Explorers, grabbing the St. Thomas, Barbados native some headlines on Saturday afternoon, but to those who have been paying attention since the 6'9 big man hit campus, he's been an efficient plug-and-play option almost since first hitting town.

Ward ranked second on last season's team in player efficiency rating (23.1) to only recent transfer, Marcus Santos-Silva. He led the Rams in true shooting percentage and ranked third in overall box plus/minus. The transfer of Santos-Silva with some trust-earned added experience, has increased Ward's playing time, more than doubling his on-court time from last season (up to 18.5 minutes per game from just 7.3 as a frosh). Due to an injured Levi Stockard yesterday, Ward took full advantage of his first ever start and career-high 27 minutes, finishing with those 13 points and adding 10 rebounds in the win on a mega-efficient 6-7 shooting night, the majority of which came from unblockable dunks.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hason Ward is out here WRECKING dudes.
VCU 41, La Salle 34 - 16:47<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThisIsRamNation?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThisIsRamNation</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LetsGoVCU?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LetsGoVCU</a> <a href="https://t.co/5i96R4X6Wr">pic.twitter.com/5i96R4X6Wr</a>

— VCU Basketball (@VCU_Hoops) <a href="https://twitter.com/VCU_Hoops/status/1355595069470822400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 30, 2021</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

So it should be no surprise that when Ward sees the minutes that he saw yesterday, he produces.

[caption id="attachment_28574" align="alignright" width="399"]<a href="https://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/VCU06259-e1612112950782.jpg"><img class="wp-image-28574" src="https://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/VCU06259-e1612112950782-668x1024.jpg" alt="" width="399" height="612" /></a> Hason Ward currently ranks 7th nationally in blocks percentage and is tops in the Atlantic 10 in blocks opponents shots while on the floor.[/caption]

Hason Ward 20-minute games average

7 GAMES
22 MIN PER GAME (per-40 avg)
9 POINTS PER GAME (16.4 pts/40)
6.4 REBOUNDS PER GAME (11.6 reb/40)
2.6 BLOCKS PER GAME (5.3 blocks/40)
1.7 FOULS PER GAME (3.1 fouls/40)
1.3 TURNOVERS PER GAME (2.4 turnovers/40)
133.9 offensive rating (1.34 points per possession)

Season Advanced Metrics (team ranking)

24.1 PLAYER EFFICIENCY RATING <span style="color: #339966;">(1st)</span>
66.2% TRUE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE <span style="color: #339966;">(1st)</span>
63.5% EFFECTIVE FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE <span style="color: #339966;">(1st)</span>
11.1% OFFENSIVE REBOUND PERCENTAGE <span style="color: #339966;">(1st)
</span>117 OFFENSIVE RATING <span style="color: #339966;">(1st)</span>
15.3% TOTAL REBOUND PERCENTAGE (2nd)
10.5% ASSIST RATE (5th)
2% STEALS PERCENTAGE (7th)
13.6% BLOCKS PERCENTAGE <span style="color: #339966;">(1st)</span>
.217 WINS SHARES PER-40 <span style="color: #339966;">(1st)</span>
+2.6 OFFENSIVE BOX +/- (3rd)
+5.6 DEFENSIVE BOX +/- (2nd)
+8.2 TOTAL BOX +/- <span style="color: #339966;">(1st)</span>

The big man ranks top-100 nationally in two-point percentage offense, finishing 65.1% of his attempts inside the arc on the season. He is currently the seventh-best shot-blocker in the country, swatting 13.6% of opponents attempts while he patrols the paint, a number that is up to an A-10-leading 14.8% in conference games.

Perhaps the most exciting piece of all of this is Ward may only be scratching the surface of his ultimate potential (a chunk of that is up to the coaching staff, but most is up to him). More minutes and more experience should only help the young Ram, which when you consider how effective he's been for the black and gold in fairly limited play up to this point, is pretty fun to think about.
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Natty
Licensed Virginia Realtor and part-time basketball writer. Co-founder of VCURamNation.com and A10Talk.com.
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Mat Shelton-Eide
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