Ronald Horne's Junior Season Exploits
Trumpeting Horne's High-Pitch Season
SAGU junior guard led the NAIA in scoring
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Legendary Houston Oilers football coach Bum Phillips was loved by the media for his quotes. Once he was asked how he ranked running back Earl Campbell with the all-time greats. He said, “I don’t know if Earl is in a class by himself, but it sure don’t take long to call the roll.”
The descriptions of Ronald Horne, Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s basketball player, vary from coach to fan to defender. Following his breakout season this year, he is among the nation’s best. And he isn’t finished yet.
The 6-foot-1 junior guard had a breakout season for the Lions this winter. He averaged 23.48 points per game, second among over 1,000 players in Division I of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
In terms of simply scoring points, he was the horn of plenty, pouring in 728, second to no one.
Number 3 in your program, but #1 in scoring points
While playing point guard and shooting guard, sometimes simultaneously, the former transfer from the University of North Texas had improved his scoring average from 14.47 as a sophomore. That scoring rate placed him 15th in the Red River Athletic Conference and #102 in the country.
He prospered in the offensive system of veteran head coach, Dr. Jerry Boone. The Lions posted a 12-19 won-lost record and averaged 79.8 ppg, good for fifth in the highly respected RRAC and #18 nationally. For the second straight year SAGU was in the Top Ten in the NAIA in three-pointers made per game. In terms of accuracy at the foul line, the Lions were also among the best. Their .723 percentage led the conference and was ninth in the NAIA.
“Ron is one of the best athletes I have coached in nearly 40 years of coaching.” That’s high praise from Coach Boone. “He always plays with intensity, and that, along with his talent makes him special.”
“I met Ron in the summer of 2009 when some players came for a tryout and knew immediately he was an impact player,” Boone continued. “Ron is also a young man of high character.”
Horne of Plenty
Horne was named First Team All-Conference in the RRAC and easily out-performed the majority of players on the NAIA All-American team. Only the Lions’ won-lost record prevented him from their national awards.
The National Christian College Athletic Association recognized Horne’s season by naming him a First Team All-American.
He figures to be the cog in the center of the Lions’ wheel next season, and the team appears set to make a serious run into the post-season.
Horne was a major player in leading Southwestern’s offense. While his shooting percentage slightly improved, his shot attempts rose from 10.8 to 16.1. Much of those tries were beyond the arc. The prolific scorer went from 5.2 outside launches to 8.1. There, Horne upped his eagle-eye precision from .316 to .361, knocking down 91 trifectas, 35 more than the 2009-10 campaign.
Added to that, the penetration part of his game resulted in a considerable difference at the charity stripe. Horne swished 130 of 167 a year ago, a very respectable .778. This year the former graduate of Waco High School drew plenty of attention, resulting in physical resistance by defenses.
Horne got to the foul line 4.9 times per game in 2010. This season he tried 8.5 free throws per contest and connected on 223 of 265 attempts. His judgment and practice was clearly evident, upping his sharpness to .842.
The junior, who was named a co-captain by Coach Boone, led the team in assists for the second straight season and increased his rebound average from 3.7 to 4.2.
Double figures in 35 straight games, and counting
Further examination of his increased ‘game’ shows that he reached double-figures 31 times in 31 games compared to 25 in 34 last year. His consecutive string of games in which he has racked up double-digits is at 35 and counting.
Horne had six contests of 20 or more points in 2010 with a high of 25.
Those figures were easily surpassed this year. He eclipsed 20 or more points a total of 13 times and netted 30 or more on another six occasions. His best effort was 40 in a 100-92 home win over Bacone College. A few nights later he poured in 39 though the Lions suffered a second 3-point setback to Paul Quinn College. Still, he was named the RRAC Player of the Week.
Just a year ago another player in the Red River was also the national pace-setter in points. Ronnie Battle, a 6’5 forward from Bacone College, led the NAIA with a 24.47 ppg avg.
Ronald Horne’s upsurge helped put his name and his team in the headlines. When asked about his season afterwards he said what he really wanted was more wins. Both years saw SAGU’s season end at the hands of Mid-America Christian University; 77-69 in 2010 and 102-98 this spring. He is bent on achieving more than points in the 2011-12 campaign.
“Our season was like a rollercoaster,” Horne said recently. “And we had fun the whole ride! At least until it ended.”
Horne established several school records, including: 728 total points (previous was 657). 223 free throws made (172). 265 free throws attempted (was 218). 84.2 free throw percentage (83.1).
What Others Are Saying
“What I love most about Ron is his work ethic. He goes just as hard in practice as does in games. He’s never satisfied and always wants to win. There is not a shot from the floor that he can’t make. He keeps the defender guessing. Ron is tough to cover. He can get to the rack, shoot the three, stop and pop the jumper, or finish hard at the rim. I think he will continue to get better and play at the next level.”
Gerren Hamilton, SAGU Assistant Coach and former SAGU point guard
Other quotes coming from a few RRAC coaches
“Ronald Horne is a tremendous player who could score in multiple ways. He was always capable of scoring in bunches so you could never let your guard down or forget where he was on the floor.”
Chad McDowell, LSU-Shreveport Head Coach
"Ronald Horne just dominated us at SAGU. He could not be stopped. He had 40 points. Heck! Our Chad Tyler had 31. But that was overshadowed by Horne's outstanding performance.”
Alan Foster, Bacone College (Okla) Head Coach