Quarles earns minutes with improved practice play

(Tom Mihalek/AP file)

Daryus Quarles went from two-year starter to forgotten man this season at St. Joseph’s, but recently he has re-entered into the picture.

The 6-foot-6 junior forward from Paulsboro High, played 19 minutes in the Hawks opening win over Yale and then saw scant playing time until the past three games.

In the win over Duquesne, he had nine points in 16 minutes and then added nine points (hitting all four field goal attempts). Quarles continued his solid play with seven points in 17 minutes during Saturday’s 79-59 win over Penn at the Palestra.

In the past three games he is shooting 10 for 13 from the field.

When asked earlier in the season why he didn’t have more depth, coach Phil Martelli said that playing time is earned in practice.

Which obviously meant that Quarles wasn’t lighting it up in practice.

And that has changed, thus the additional minutes. He’s averaging 17 minutes in the last three games.

“To his credit, he didn’t drop his head and said ‘I started for two years,’” Martellis said of Quarles. “…Because of his practice habits, he has played well in games the last three games.”

Martelli said that Quarles hadn’t been practicing well and that is why he didn’t see more action earlier.

Quarles doesn’t dispute that assessment.

“I wasn’t playing and was miserable and down on myself and pouting,” Quarles. “Now I feel part of the team and practicing hard and going out on the court and playing.”

It will be interesting to see how much playing time Quarles will receive when Halil Kanacevic returns. Kanacevic has missed the last three games due to a death in the family but is expected to be back soon.

Either way, Quarles, has shown the last three games that he deserves to be part of the rotation. He entered St. Joseph’s with the reputation as a good shooter, but wasn’t consistent his first two years, shooting .342 from the field and .280 from beyond the arc.

Now he is much more confident and in a much better frame of mind due to the recent playing time.

With the return of Kanacevic and Quarles, that would give the Hawks a solid seven-man rotation.

Now with 13 Atlantic-10 games remaining on the schedule, Quarles has re-entered the rotation during a crucial time. The chance to stay in the rotation will be the biggest motivation to continue his improved work in practice that has earned him valuable minutes in the games.

-Marc Narducci