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Zjori Bosha embraces different role on Lamar basketball team

December 12, 2016 GMT

When Colton Weisbrod heard that Zjori Bosha had 10 steals against Austin College, his eyebrows raised involuntarily.

“10 steals is crazy,” Weisbrod said. “A stat like that shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Weisbrod couldn’t help but praise Bosha, the junior guard who has recently found a role off the bench after averaging eight minutes per game last season.

A game after playing a season-high 19 minutes and scoring 10 points against DePaul, Bosha posted his first double-double of the season with 14 points and the school-best 10 steals against the Roos on Saturday.

The difference for Bosha? He’s healthy and willing to embrace a different role in his third season.

″(Zjori) has battled knee issues for the past year and a half,” Lamar coach Tic Price said. “When he’s healthy, he knows how to use his length and we’ve been seeing that recently.”

Bosha, a Hardin-Jefferson graduate, was recruited by Price to be a shooter after averaging 28.1 points per game as a senior.

But after shooting 28.2 percent on three-pointers as a freshman, he knew more would be needed from him to stay on the court.

The knee injuries made it difficult for Bosha to embrace a different role last season but he has come on strong lately, especially in the win over Austin College.

At one point in the first half, Bosha had back-to-back steals that led to four Lamar points, including a pair of free throws.

“It really started in practice for me,” Bosha said. “I worked hard there to really get my game to where it’s needed to be and I’m just grateful to have these opportunities.”

Bosha’s ability to affect a game off the bench was likened to that of sophomore guard Nick Garth by Price after the Austin College win.

Garth, averaging 11.3 points per game, is the shooter Bosha expected to be off the bench but Bosha’s defensive prowess has made him a vita asset on a team consistently rotating through 10 of 11 players each game.

“Zjori is that energy guy for us off the bench right now,” Price said. “He knows what his role is for us and knows what he has to do to stay on the court.”

That approval is coming from Bosha’s teammates as well, including Garth and Weisbrod.

“I’m happy for him,” Garth said. “We’ve been on him all season to get it going and he’s really got it going right now.”

Bosha’s next area of improvement is consistency, especially with conference play just three weeks away.

“It feels great to be in the record books,” Bosha said. “But I’ve got to take it one game at a time and really stay focused.”

DShapiro@BeaumontEnterprise.com Twitter.com/DannyShapiro13