Friday, November 16, 2007

MAA Watch

Who will be the next Kevin Durant? Lots of freshmen have stepped up early. Here’s the stat line for the 24 Freshman McDonald’s All-Americans in their debut games:

The Wow Group                PPG  RPG  APG  MPG Opponents
Michael Beasley, Kansas St. 31.0 19.0  3.5 30.0 Beat SacSt., PittSt.
Eric Gordon, Indiana        33.0  6.0  4.0 35.0 Beat Tenn-Chatt
J.J. Hickson, NC State      31.0  7.0  1.0 30.0 Beat William & Mary
Kevin Love, UCLA            20.7 10.3  2.3 27.0 Beat PortSt,YSU,SBern

My Team Lost to Who?         PPG  RPG  APG  MPG Opponents
O.J. Mayo, USC              24.0  7.0  4.5 37.0 L Mercer, W Citadel
James Anderson, Okl. St.    22.5  5.0  4.5 33.0 L N.Texas, W PVAM
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky  8.0  7.5  1.0 22.5 L GardWebb, W C.Ark
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech     7.0  4.3  0.3 15.7 L UNCGB, W Chrlt,TennSt

It is probably too early to pull out the tempo free stats for these players, but BP points out that Mayo needed a lot of shots to get that many points.

For Real                     PPG  RPG  APG  MPG Opponents
Derrick Rose, Memphis       19.8  5.5  2.5 30.8 Beat Conn,Okl,Rchm,TMrt
Donte Greene, Syracuse      19.0  8.0  1.3 36.7 Beat StJoes,Siena,Frdhm
Jonny Flynn, Syracuse       13.0  3.3  7.7 34.3 Beat StJoes,Siena,Frdhm 
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma     14.8  8.6  1.8 26.6 L Mem, W SF,Den,Alc,GaW

The above players have played at least one game against a quality opponent and they look legit. These next players look like vital cogs for their teams, but we’ll know more when they play better competition.

Need More Data               PPG  RPG  APG  MPG Opponents
Nick Calathes, Florida      17.3  3.3  6.3 30.7 Beat NDSt,TennTch,NCCen
Jerryd Bayless, Arizona     18.0  1.0  5.0 34.0 Beat N. Arizona
Kosta Koufos, Ohio St.      18.5  7.5  1.0 24.5 Beat Wisc-GB, Columbia
Kyle Singer, Duke           12.5  6.0  1.5 23.0 Beat NCCen, NewMexSt
James Harden, Arizona St.    First Game Monday Night  

And here are some players that have yet to take starring roles for their teams.

Role Players?                PPG  RPG  APG  MPG Opponents
Taylor King, Duke           13.5  5.0  1.5 18.0 Beat NCCen, NewMexSt
Jai Lucas, Florida           9.0  2.0  2.7 26.0 Beat NDSt,TennTch,NCCen
Nolan Smith, Duke            9.0  0.0  3.5 18.0 Beat NCCen, NewMexSt
Austin Freeman, Georgetown   6.0  3.0  0.5 17.5 Beat Michigan, W&M
Chris Wright, Georgetown     5.0  3.0  0.5 15.0 Beat Michigan, W&M
Corey Stokes, Villanova      2.0  2.0  1.0 15.0 Beat Stony Brook
Cole Aldrich, Kansas         3.0  4.0  0.0  9.3 Beat ULMon, UMKC, Wshb

Taylor King has made the most of his minutes so far, but the jury is still out. Jai Lucas has been quiet offensively, but his team hasn’t needed him to be a big scorer yet. I could see Nolan Smith earning more minutes (particularly given my lack of faith in Paulus), but Duke might have to play its big men more in future games which could limit his minutes. Georgetown is deep enough that Freeman and Wright may have to be role players this year.

What’s the upside for players like Beasley and Mayo? Well, of last year’s 24 freshmen McDonald’s All-Americans, 8 went on to the NBA. Here’s how they fared last year:

Last Year’s Stars            PPG  RPG  APG  MPG Pick
Kevin Durant, Texas         25.8 11.1  1.3 35.9   2
Greg Oden, Ohio St          15.7  9.6  0.7 28.9   1
Mike Conley, Ohio St        11.3  3.4  6.1 31.6   4
Brandan Wright, UNC         14.7  6.2  1.0 27.4   8
Spencer Hawes, Washington   14.9  6.4  1.9 28.9  10
Thaddeus Young, G. Tech     14.4  4.9  2.0 29.6  12
Javaris Crittenton, G. Tech 14.4  3.7  5.8 31.3  19
Daequan Cook, Ohio St        9.8  4.3  1.0 19.7  21

Or, for those of you who find this more informative:

Last Year’s Stars           eFG% ORtng Team Result
Kevin Durant, Texas         53.6 116.5 Lost 2nd Round
Greg Oden, Ohio St          61.6 116.2 National Runner-Up
Mike Conley, Ohio St        55.2 117.6 National Runner-Up
Brandan Wright, UNC         64.6 118.9 Elite Eight
Spencer Hawes, Washington   53.3 108.6 None
Thaddeus Young, G. Tech     53.1 112.5 Lost 1st Round
Javaris Crittenton, G. Tech 50.1 106.2 Lost 1st Round
Daequan Cook, Ohio St       53.0 103.7 National Runner-Up

Other than Durant, these numbers don’t look that impossible to duplicate. It would not shock me for Kevin Love to better Oden’s 15-10, especially since he has more experience around him.

Looking back, it’s a little shocking that Hawes, Crittenton, and Cook went pro given that they weren’t even efficient players in college. None of them have ORtngs over 110. But since they all ended up as 1st round draft picks, they obviously made the right move.

So if the high end freshman MAA produces around 15 PPG, 6 RPG and 2 APG, what’s the worst production one could observe for a MAA player? How about 36.5% eFG% and 1 PPG. That’s what James Keefe did last year. He’s one of two MAA freshman from last season who you shouldn’t look for in the NBA or college this year:

Player                      eFG% Ortng Team Result    Status
Brook Lopez, Stanford       50.2  98.2 Lost 1st Round Suspension
James Keefe, UCLA           36.5  77.0 Final Four     Inactive

I haven’t heard whether Keefe is going to try to transfer from UCLA, but at this point, it wouldn’t be a surprise. Lopez decided not to attend class.

And while we’re at it, we might as well look at the other 14 MAA freshman performances from last year:

Player                       PPG RPG APG MPG
Chase Budinger, Arizona     15.6 5.8 2.0 33.0
D.J. Augustin, Texas        14.4 2.8 6.7 35.6
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova 14.8 2.8 4.0 29.6
Tywon Lawson, UNC           10.2 2.9 5.6 25.7
Jon Scheyer, Duke           12.2 3.3 1.8 33.7
Wayne Ellington, UNC        11.7 2.9 2.1 23.9
Sherron Collins, Kansas      9.3 2.3 2.9 22.3
Darrell Arthur, Kansas       9.8 4.7 0.4 19.0
Tweety Carter, Baylor        8.7 1.8 2.7 25.5
Earl Clark, Louisville       5.9 3.8 0.4 16.0
Robin Lopez, Stanford        7.5 5.5 0.9 24.0
Gerald Henderson, Duke       6.8 2.9 1.1 19.3
Lance Thomas, Duke           4.0 2.5 0.0 14.9
Vernon Macklin, Georgetown   2.9 1.5 0.5  9.8

Player                      eFG% Ortng 2007 Result
Chase Budinger, Arizona     55.4 120.1 Lost 1st Round
D.J. Augustin, Texas        51.5 114.4 Lost 2nd Round
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova 47.6 107.0 Lost 1st Round
Tywon Lawson, UNC           55.5 116.0 Elite Eight
Jon Scheyer, Duke           50.5 116.2 Lost 1st Round
Wayne Ellington, UNC        52.0 115.0 Elite Eight
Sherron Collins, Kansas     56.5 113.0 Elite Eight
Darrell Arthur, Kansas      53.8 107.2 Elite Eight
Tweety Carter, Baylor       48.8 110.0 None
Earl Clark, Louisville      51.4 106.7 Lost 2nd Round
Robin Lopez, Stanford       48.0  98.5 Lost 1st Round
Gerald Henderson, Duke      47.2  96.7 Lost 1st Round
Lance Thomas, Duke          56.8  89.3 Lost 1st Round
Vernon Macklin, Georgetown  74.1 119.5 Final Four

Reynolds was not nearly as efficient as the others, but he was the only scorer on his team, and had to carry the load. Macklin on the other hand was unbelievably efficient, but because he played on such a deep team, he didn’t get to take very many shots or play very many minutes.

So whether this year’s freshman MAA’s end up starring like Durant, flubbing like James Keefe, or simply posting decent numbers in limited minutes like Darrell Arthur, I’ll try to post their numbers at various times throughout the season.

Friday’s Games

Coaches vs Cancer: Despite leading the world in blocked shots last year, Connecticut had no answer for Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose driving to the basket. Memphis won 81-70.

Puerto Rico: Thursday, VCU beat Houston despite 1-12 shooting from Eric Maynor. Friday, Maynor scored 27 points, but VCU still fell to the University of Miami. Thus we learn our first non-lesson of the day. Eric Maynor needs to play a lot worse if his team is going to go very far this year.

Miami will meet former Big East rival Providence in the championship game on Sunday. Providence shot 38% from the floor and turned the ball over 20 times, but still upset Arkansas in the other semifinal. The key stat here appears to be the 32 turnovers by the Razorbacks. 32 turnovers!! With 52 turnovers, was this game played in the rain? That’s some ugly basketball.

Also in Puerto Rico, Temple lost its second heartbreaker in a row. After losing by 2 to Providence, Temple lost by 3 to the College of Charleston. With Houston beating Marist in the other side of the consolation bracket, Sunday’s games look like this:

Miami vs Providence, 1st Place Game
VCU vs Arkansas, 3rd Place Game
Houston vs Charleston, 5th Place Game
Temple vs Marist, 7th Place Game

Top of the World: The field seems extra weak this year and they set up a funny bracket with probably the two best teams, Oregon St. and Colorado St. playing on the first day. Colorado St. did the MWC proud, winning late Thursday and is now the clear favorite.

Paradise Jam: Georgia Tech was out-rebounded, turned the ball over more, and shot fewer free throws than Charlotte. But Georgia Tech shot 52% from the floor and picked up the win. Georgia Tech will now face Winthrop in one of the Sunday semifinals. The other key game Friday was Wichita St. vs Baylor. While the MVC has often earned its high ranking by winning games in these types of tournaments, Baylor’s Curtis Jerrells scored a respectable 23 points and 8 rebounds and led his team to victory. Baylor will now face Notre Dame in the other Sunday semifinal.