The Chris Gradnigo that UL coach Robert Lee grew to depend on down the stretch last season appears to be back.

After a staph infection in the preseason forced him to spend a few days in the hospital and miss the season's first four games, Gradnigo is performing as expected after a solid freshman campaign. The 6-foot-7 guard/forward is averaging 17.6 points on 53 percent shooting in the past five games.

Gradnigo, known mostly for his outside shooting last season, has improved at getting into the lane and scoring more off the dribble as a sophomore. "I think Chris is starting to get there offensively," said UL coach Robert Lee, who has closed practice and made players unavailable for interviews. "Chris is a guy that is capable of being a 20-to-25 point (per game) scorer.

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Joshua Parrott jparrott@theadvertiser.com January 29, 2009