Chris Otule comes into his redshirt junior season as the likely starter at the 5 spot. The Richmond, Texas native came to Milwaukee as a big man project in the 2008-'09 season. After missing the first 10 games of his career with a foot injury, he played in only nine games and made a limited impact. Another foot injury ended his would-be sophomore season after only three games.
Otule was a big unknown coming into the 2010-'11 season, but delivered an improved campaign, displaying occasional flashes of defensive dominance. Chris averaged 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds a contest while averaging 18 minutes. Buzz Williams clearly gained confidence in Otule as the season wore on as he averaged 20 minutes during Big East play despite frequent bouts of foul trouble.
Looking ahead to 2011-'12, Otule should battle Davante Gardner for playing time, but will likely garner more run do to his edge defensively. Otule can block shots and generally does a better job of making his man earn points.
Chris is more limited offensively than Davante, but showed nice progress in getting his defender on his back and earning the entry pass. Free throws continue to be a struggle for the big man. Improving on his career 54% FT shooting is crucial to increasing his offensive contributions.
Otule logs 20+ minutes a game and continues his improved defensive play. Averaging 8 points and 5 boards a game is certainly attainable and expected.
In My Wildest Dreams:
Otule becomes a dominating force down low, leading the Big East in blocked shots. The steadying force down low allows the guards and wings to take a few more defensive risks on the perimeter, increasing overall steal and turnover numbers. On the offensive side, Otule consistently finishes around the basket and averages 12 and 7.
In My Worst Nightmare:
Big men with a history of foot problems scare me. The worst nightmare is Otule going down again with another foot injury, putting all the low-post pressure on Davante Gardner.