For virtually the entire season, it's been smooth sailing for VMI's dynamic duo. Peterson leads the Big South Conference in scoring, averaging 21 points per game. Glasgow is fourth, averaging 19 points a game. Earlier this season against UNC Asheville the sharp shooters combined for 72 points. Peterson had 37 points and 15 rebounds. Glasgow had 35 points and 10 assists. Baucom and Peterson said the duo is capable of combining for 80 points in a single game.
"I'm looking to get a shot or create a shot for someone else," Peterson explained Monday afternoon. "I feel I'd be letting my team down if I wasn't scoring the ball because I feel like they need me to score as well as do other things of course."
Baucom knew Peterson was going to be good "but we had no idea he was going to be as good and have quite the impact on our team that he's had," the 8th year coach said.
Peterson was under-recruited coming out of Massanutten Military School where he played alongside Frank Mason, who's averaging 17 minutes a game at Kansas, and Deandre Burnett who is now at Miami (FL). Peterson said VMI was really the only school that gave him an honest look. "It was more of a loyalty thing for me because they were watching me ever since we practiced [at VMI] my sophomore year of high school. They gave me the chance that no one else out there did and for me not to play my hardest and give everything I have to the coaching staff and to my teammates and this whole school it would just be pretty much a betrayal," Peterson said.
Glasgow has helped Peterson along ever since the two began workouts together over the summer. Even when Glasgow was out with a broken hand he suffered during preseason conditioning, he tutored QJ from the sidelines while QJ was consequently forced into playing point guard.
The two also room together on road trips. They go head to head in practice. Baucom never puts them on the same team in practice. "Rodney is the leader of this team. Anybody will tell you that, and for QJ to be under his tutelage, Rodney's been awesome with him," Baucom said. "QJ wanted to learn. He didn't come in thinking he knew everything. Rodney has been patient with him and QJ has been like a sponge."
With that attitude, Glasgow's job is easier. He's showing Peterson, who is ultra-competitive, how to be a leader. He wants to make sure Peterson understands three things: stay humble, get smarter with the game, and lead the team the right way. "When [Peterson] first started out he was just wild and running. That's what freshman [do]. That's what I did but you can see his [basketball] IQ getting better each and every game and he's becoming more poised and letting the game come to him. That's why he's scoring so much now and as far as his shot selection – it's getting way better now," Glasgow said.
Peterson acknowledged he's been impatient at times. "Everybody is a captain where they played [in high school] and when you come here you want to be a captain right away but you got to learn how to follow first," Peterson admitted. Glasgow's message has clearly gotten through to the youngster. "Our chemistry and friendship - you see it on the court. If I make a play he's happy for me. If he makes a play I'm happy for him. It's not – ‘I'm the senior, you're a freshman, [no], we're teammates,'" Glasgow said. He's not surprised Peterson is leading the conference in scoring. "I'm more surprised at how mature he's gotten every game," Glasgow said.
That maturity has produced instant offense in VMI's fast-paced approach. Baucom has clearly given the green light to the backcourt mates. "I thought about it in the preseason, in this system, we run up and down a lot, and coach is going to let us shoot and you just have to be capable of making the shots that you shoot," Peterson said. That green light only came after the freshman worked hard enough for it in practice. "Getting in here an hour or an hour and a half before practice every day, getting up shots, trying different shots and things like that. [Baucom's] allowed me to shoot those shots in a game because I've proved to him I can make them in practice at game speed," Peterson explained.
It's also nice when Peterson gets wide open shots created by Glasgow. "It's great having one of the country's top point guards in my book. Playing beside him - the leadership, it's all a great experience for me," Peterson said. The same goes for Glasgow. "In past years opponents would double team me and that would mess up the offense. Now teams can't double me because if they do, QJ's going to go off and vice versa," Glasgow said.
Not a bad plan for the young pup and the big dog.