From beyond the arc, few shooters have been finer than Emerson men’s basketball forward John Geary this season.
Geary is having a career-year from 3-point range, shooting 38.8 percent, which ranks tenth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. He’s also made 19 3-pointers which ranks 13th.
Geary, a sophomore communication studies major, said knowing his role coming into this season allowed him to make improvements in areas that were essential in order to see a spike in minutes.
“I got a lot of shots up this summer,” Geary said. “It was a point of emphasis for me because I knew I was going to be taking some of those shots. So I really made an effort to work on my form and become more consistent.”
Head coach Bill Curley said the way Geary’s perception of the basket has changed is allowing him to become more consistent.
“He’s put arc on his shot now,” Curley said. “The rim is 10 feet [and] he used to shoot it at 10-foot-1. Now, he’s shooting the ball up around 12-feet and everything is dropping. Not a rainbow shot, but it’s considerably higher, so he’s got more room to play with.”
Curley added that Geary’s ability to slow down the game and let it come to him has made it easier to leave him on the floor.
“He’s calmed down a bit and his decision-making is better,” Curley said. “He’s got that confidence.”
Associate head coach Jack Barrett said Geary’s “all business and no-nonsense” approach to the season is a big contributing factor to his progress as well.
“He shows up every day ready to go for practice and games,” Barrett said. “He’s been pretty consistent.”
Geary’s off-the-court workout routine has not gone unnoticed and has been a big underlying factor in the sophomore’s success this year, according to Barrett.
“He’s always in the weight room, and he gets in the gym to use the shotgun, and he gets a bunch of shots up,” Barrett said. “He’s pretty regimented; he knows what he has to do, and he does it.”
Geary, who said he hopes to go to law school when he graduates, has knocked down 50 percent of his three-point buckets at Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym.
“Playing at home is definitely easier because you have familiarity with the court and the rims because you play here every day,” Geary said. “You really have to know what spots you like to shoot from, and that makes it easy to get in a groove.”
In his team’s 98-94 overtime loss to the United States Coast Guard Academy on Jan. 9, Geary had his best game since he has suited up for Emerson. Not only did he log his most playing time at 33 minutes, but his 18 points and four threes were also career-highs.
“He was huge,” Barrett said. “A couple of those [shots] were right down the stretch in regulation or in overtime. He was also guarding the best player on the other team, a kid who’s averaging about 20 points a game, so he was getting things done at both ends of the floor. He definitely helped us stay in the game.”
Sophomore point guard Michael Sheng said having a teammate like Geary, who has the ability to make the deep shot, opens up the entire offense.
“It’s extremely important to have a forward who can stretch the floor, especially with the guards we have because we like to drive to the basket a lot, and he’s someone they can’t sag on,” Sheng, a visual and media arts major, said.
Geary and his head coach share more than just a court. Both originate from the town of Duxbury, Mass., which was a big contributing factor in getting the 6-foot-5 forward to commit to the Lions.
“I’ve known Billy for a pretty long time and he’s a pretty big [figure] in Duxbury basketball,” Geary said. “He was really pushing me about recruitment and told me Emerson would be a good place, but he didn’t rush me and said, ‘You have to make the decision that’s right for you.’”
Beacon Correspondent Maxwell DeLuca contributed to this report.