While Ryan Sawvell continues to practice at both the power forward and center positions, the 6-foot-8 sophomore has seen little time at either over the Aces’ last three games.
Sawvell, who had scored in double figures three straight games entering Missouri Valley Conference play, has since tallied a combined four points against Creighton, Missouri State and Southern Illinois. He’s averaged five minutes in those contests and didn’t enter UE’s win over the Salukis until 2:45 showed on the clock, the Aces’ victory already well in hand.
“It’s not easy as a coach to play everybody on your roster, and you just evaluate how guys are performing in practice,” said UE coach Marty Simmons on Tuesday, before the Aces’ trip to Northern Iowa. “Again, matchups, foul trouble – there’s just a lot of things. I’ll probably give you the same answer every time you ask this about either him or somebody else that’s not playing. That’s just an evaluation process from myself and the coaching staff.”
As a freshman, Sawvell logged more than 20 minutes per game during MVC play and regularly cracked the starting lineup as the Aces’ five man. This season other options have emerged, as 6-10 freshman Egidijus Mockevicius is UE’s top center and senior Lewis Jones has scored in double figures at the four spot during the Aces’ last two games, both wins.
That’s left Sawvell riding the bench.
Streaky play — and playing time — aren’t new to Sawvell in his sophomore campaign. Before averaging 12.3 points per game against Alabama State, Oakland City and Butler, he scored an average 1.6 points in 12.5 minutes over six games.
“He’s a great young man,” Simmons said. “He’s a talented young man. He still comes to practice and works hard in every way.”