There were moments of gold for Marquette's Sandy Cohen III last year, like when he scored a season-high 24 points and drained six 3-pointers in an 80-62 victory over San Jose State.
Then, there were a number of dull and not-so-shiny instances for the Golden Eagle.
The sophomore forward’s production dropped midway through the season, leading to a relegation from the starting lineup to the bench, and eventually had a meager amount of minutes in Steve Wojociechowski's scheme. He was even suspended for one game near the end of the season. About a week later, in his first game back since the single game punishment, he logged a season-low two minutes against Georgetown.
Cohen's lack of consistency over his first two years have hurt the Golden Eagles when it comes to conference play. This past season, he has shown two different sides of play. Out of conference, he is the versatile, Swiss army knife-type player Marquette expected him to be, one that can do it all--score, rebound, and dish out assists. He was able to fill in the gaps in the rotation as an all-around player when he was on the floor.
Through 13 games in out of conference play, he averaged 8.9 points per game and added a much-needed perimeter threat to a Marquette squad that was centered around the play of its frontcourt. Cohen made 21-of-50 (42.0 percent) three-point attempts.
Once the Big East portion of the schedule rolled around, he began to fade away and disappear in games. He started in Marquette’s first six games in conference play, before being downgraded to a bench role for the rest of the season. His minutes were spotty, fluctuating up and down in tune with his performance. Overall, he wasn’t the same player in the latter half of the season. Cohen dropped to just 4.4 points per game in Big East play and couldn’t find the same success from behind the arc. After a promising start, he went just 6-for-24 (25.0 percent) from the 3-point line to finish the year.
Only Haanif Cheatham (38.7 percent) and JaJuan Johnson (38.5 percent) were more efficient than Cohen (35.5 percent) from deep. However, neither Cheatham or Johnson like to sling it from long range as much as Cohen does, with the two taking less than 30 percent of their shot attempts from beyond the arc. This is in stark contrast to Cohen, who takes just over half of his shots from downtown.
Although a season marked with inconsistency, it was definitely a step in the right direction from Cohen’s freshman year--when he shot 37.1 percent overall and just 33.3 percent from the three-point line.
Now heading into his junior year, he may discover that the third time around might be the charm. He has shown glimpses of being a reliable contributor at the wings. If he can rediscover his shooting groove and maintain it, there will definitely be a spot in the rotation as the perimeter threat he can be. Last season, Marquette shot a mediocre 33.9 percent from beyond the arc, tying Georgetown for the third-lowest 3-point shooting percentage in the Big East. The Golden Eagles can certainly benefit from anyone who can improve that number.
When he’s hot, he can get it going in various aspects on the floor. He can defend, rebound, and help distribute the ball, but it is his scoring that helps fuel these other aspects of his game. His versatility is what makes him an asset, but it is only as valuable as the level of his performance.
He can be a sharp, useful Swiss army knife or just another dull object on the bench. Time will tell.