Gavin Block’s season stat line may not impress on the surface.
His 6.7 points per game is significantly lower than the rest of Ohio’s starting lineup, each of whom average 12 or more points per game.
Block’s 4.9 shot attempts are significantly lower than sophomore Jordan Dartis’ 9.1 attempts. For context, Dartis shoots the fourth-most of Ohio’s starters.
Minutes per game: 27.9
Points per game: 6.7
Assists per game: 2.4
Rebounds per game: 3.8
Steals per game: 1.0
Shooting percentage: 43 percent
3-point percentage: 40 percent
Forward Antonio Campbell has scored about 21 percent of all of Ohio’s points (229 of 1,083) this season. Block is only responsible for about 8.7 percent (94 of 1,083).
But to compare Block to the rest of Ohio’s roster would be unfair. Block brings occasionally overlooked values and tangibles to the Bobcats in his second season, his first as a starter. He brings the little things. Block said he doesn’t even look at his own stats.
There's only one stat Block cares about: the win column.
“I just want to be known as, when I’m out there playing and when I’m in an Ohio uniform, I won games,” Block said. “That’s really the main thing for me. I don’t care how it’s done. I just want to win games and get to the NCAA Tournament.”
Ohio coach Saul Phillips has praised Block’s attitude and style since he first traveled to Athens from Lincoln, Illinois. That praise has led to Block starting each of the Bobcats' 14 games this season, after starting just two games a season ago.
“Gavin makes people around him better, and even when he doesn’t necessarily get the assist, he’ll make the extra pass,” Phillips said after Ohio’s 89-58 win over Western Michigan. “Some of those skip passes that he threw in the first half (against Western Michigan) busted the defense wide open.”
On a Bobcat team filled with offensive prowess — Campbell, Jaaron Simmons, Kenny Kaminski — Block brings intellectualism. He brings length and utility from the small forward position, listed at 6-foot-7, 209 pounds.
Phillips jokes Block’s last name should be “Charge," recalling Block’s ability to absorb charges on the defensive end, an unofficial stat in basketball. Phillips said Block is also one of best skip passers on the team, allowing the Bobcats to attack from a variety of perimeter sets. His “hockey assists,” a pass that leads to an assist, are a large reason he won a starting role this season. Block’s 34 assists are second-most for Ohio this season.
“I remember when we recruited him, I have a buddy in the coaching profession that goes, ‘Gavin Block: king of the skip pass,’ ” Phillips said. “That was his comment and I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess he kinda is.’ ”
Performance-wise, Block’s best came during Tuesday night’s 74-72 comeback win over Buffalo. He scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
During Ohio’s 89-58 dismantling of Western Michigan, Block tallied a season-high eight assists. He only shot 1-5 and grabbed three rebounds in 22 minutes.
But don’t look too hard at the stats.
“You know, I haven’t looked at the stats this year,” Block said. “I do little things. I was born, raised, coached as, 'the little things take you far.' And Coach Phillips sees that and I feel that’s part of my role here.”
Phillips previously said he’s flirted with the idea of Block playing point guard while Simmons rests late in games. It happened against Western Michigan and Kent State, as Block solidified the third-string point guard position with Khari Harley sitting because of back problems.
The result of Block playing point guard during those two games was 12 combined assists and just one turnover.
And with Ohio (11-3, 3-0 Mid-American Conference) off to its best start since 2013, Block could be the glue to keep the Bobcats’ hot start going.
“He seems like he’s always in the right spot,” forward Jason Carter said. “When he’s out there, he’s guiding everybody even though he’s still an underclassman … he’s just like another leader out there, it feels like.”