Head coach Matt Matheny said Tyler Seibring is a changed man. The freshman forward has been a staple for the Elon University men’s basketball team, starting in all 27 games thanks to some necessary bulking in the off-season.
“What he’s done since he set foot on campus in June is remarkable,” Matheny said. “The way he transformed his body to get ready for a grueling first year [of college].”
Seibring was a bright spot in Elon’s losses to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Feb. 11 and the College of Charleston Feb. 13. The Towanda, Illinois native scored a team-high 18 points against in-state rivals UNCW and followed it up with a 17-point outing versus the College of Charleston.
Seibring’s strong outing at UNCW ended a slide of just one double-digit scoring performance in his last five. Prior to his slump, Seibring had a run of six straight in double figures at the start of conference play. He ended his first streak with back-to-back 18-point performances, setting a season-high he also reached at UNCW Feb. 11.
But Seibring is quick to deflect praise to his teammates.
“The team chemistry we have is phenomenal,” Seibring said. “On a day like today, when my shots are falling, it’s great. But it’s the days when they’re not falling that my teammates are the best. I think that’s what I’ve been passed on from the older guys, and that’s what I try to do for them. Their positivity is great.”
Seibring’s shooting touch continued over into the College of Charleston game. Sebring’s teammates found him early, knocking down a three and finishing from close range to give Elon an early first-half lead.
“It was just two open looks,” Seibring said. “Throughout our offense, it’s not about getting one guy going — it’s about getting everybody going, and I was the benefactor tonight.”
Elon players continued to feed Seibring, who knocked them down in quick succession, going 7-of-8 from the field including a perfect 3-of-3 from behind the arc.
Seibring’s only miss of the night still ended in points for the Phoenix. In the second half, he backed down a Charleston defender. Seibring fought through contact, got off his shot, grabbed his own offensive rebound and immediately put the ball back up to score — all in the same jump.
Seibring has become more of a presence inside. He recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards against Northeastern University Jan. 30.
Matheny said opponents are starting to take note of the two-time Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Rookie of the Week’s shooting ability. Matheny noticed teams are starting to treat him like senior guard Tanner Samson, with defenders sprinting out to him when spotting up for a three-pointer.
Though, Seibring has been finding other ways to get on the score sheet. In the loss to Hofstra University, Seibring backed down his opponent and finished calmly with his left hand.
“He’s becoming more well-rounded,” Matheny said. “He’s starting to score in the post a little bit and he’s a great passer. So far he’s had a sensational freshman year.”
Seibring’s impact for the Phoenix has also been on the defensive end. He said it’s important to utilize the team’s length to stifle opposing offenses. His six-foot-eight-inch frame has plenty of reach, grabbing a pair of steals against the College of Charleston when Elon went to its 1-3-1 zone as Elon cut down on the College of Charleston’s lead late in the second half.
Matheny said he likes his team’s length. He added the 1-3-1 allows him to take advantage of his players’ wingspans more so than other zone defense.
With four regular season games remaining, Seibring reflected on his debut season while giving more praise to his teammates.
“I’d like to think I really turned a corner myself, but that’s just ignorant,” he said. “There’s a lot of help from my teammates to get me open.”