McNear, Means settling in as guard duo

Cole Claybourn

When senior point guard Amy McNear was named a preseason all-Sun Belt selection, Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles said she knew point guard was one spot she wouldn’t have to worry about this season.

Now with the emergence of freshman point guard Chaney Means, that position has become a two-headed monster.

Since Means arrived, she’s handled most of the point guard duties, allowing McNear to move from point guard to shooting guard — a switch that’s pleased Cowles through two exhibitions.

“I love what we can do with our point guards now,” Cowles said. “It gives Amy an opportunity to just take a deep breath knowing that there’s someone else out there.”

The move has proved to be a good one for both McNear and Means. McNear said it’s something she could get used to doing all season.

“It’s pretty comfortable for me because we both can play the one or the two,” she said. “We can switch out on people and have different ball handlers that can do different things. We’ll be tough to guard.”

During exhibition games against Lindsey Wilson and Lee (Tenn.), McNear averaged more than two points a game more than she did last season and averaged four assists a game, just under last season’s average.

As for Means, her playing time and production increased from game one to game two. Means played 12 more minutes in Sunday’s game against Lee (Tenn.) than she did in the first exhibition again Lindsey Wilson and made the most of it by filling up the stat sheet.

She scored three points and had four steals against Lindsey Wilson, and had 13 points, three assists and a steal in Sunday’s game.

“That first game I was just trying to get the jitters out,” Means said. “I think as the games go by, it will get easier. But the upperclassmen have been great just helping me through that.”

Means still has room for improvement, though, as she’s combined for seven turnovers through both exhibition games.

But Cowles said that’s nothing to be concerned about just yet.

“That’s a tough position to play,” she said. “We’ve just been extremely patient with Chaney, and she’s been wonderful with the transition.”

Means said having someone who can act as a teacher to her will be the biggest benefit of playing alongside McNear.

“I think that’s going to be why I’ll have success this year — just having somebody out there who’s been through Coach Cowles’ system,” Means said. “Just having someone like that every game watching my back and finding stuff that I need to work on really does help.”