Bryan Alberts freshman campaign was like a lot of the other guards on the team, an issue with consistency. Alberts was pegged to have a legitimate role on the team as a three-point specialist, and for the most part he delivered.
However, he had issues with defense. Alberts was beaten off the dribble a fair amount and sometimes just lacked the awareness required to be on the court. Considering that defense was what kept Gonzaga in the midst while its offense struggled, Alberts soon found himself on the bench more often than not.
And that was a shame, because when Alberts was seeing consistent-ish minutes, his shot from the outside was a much-needed relief for a team that usually only saw threes come from Kyle Wiltjer.
Alberts opened the season shooting 6-of-10 from beyond the arc against Northern Arizona and Mount St. Mary's. It was encouraging, but also short lived. After averaging 15 minutes per game in his first three games, Alberts saw a total of 18 minutes in his next five.
He then went on to start the next 10 games. We mentioned it in his midseason grades, but the staff had always been high on Alberts and the hard work he put into filling out his role. Assistant coach Brian Michaelson described him as such:
The nice thing about Bryan is that he came with us with a pretty well-rounded skill set, I think he solidified some things and raised his level in a bunch of aspects of his game. He came here as a good shooter. I would say now he's a very good 3-point shooter, I think that's the thing he's improved on the most.
Alberts did a good job in a few of those games, but not enough to maintain his role in the starting rotation. Then, by the end of the season, Alberts was basically an afterthought. In one of the things we never covered on the season, Alberts finished the season about as poorly as possible. In his first 22 games, Alberts only averaged 3.9 points, often times coming in fits and bursts. In his last 12 games, Alberts scored a grand total of two points.
And those two points were hard to come by. Alberts missed every single field goal he attempted in the final 12 games, only hitting two free throws to get those points. He went 0-for-13 from beyond the arc and 0-for-18 overall. Granted, he only averaged a shade over seven minutes per game during this stretch, but still, it was a far cry from the player who opened up the season. Take away his final 12 games, and Alberts shot 52.3 percent from three point range.
So we can put Alberts in an interesting spot. He has a lot of work to do in the offseason to show that he deserves the minutes on this squad. Alberts has legitimate talents for sure. He very well could be the best three point shooter on the squad next season, but he needs to make sure that his issues on defense are outweighed by his positive offensive contributions.
There is a role for Alberts on the squad next season. This team, as it stands right now, has plenty of minutes to go around for its plethora of guards. If Alberts is able to dial in his three point shot to the point of absolutely deadly, and prove his worth in all around hustle ability, he can go from garbage minute player to bench contributor. The ability is there, it is just up to Alberts to prove to the coaching staff that he deserves the minutes.