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Thursday, March 17, 2005
 
Players To Watch - Syracuse
Here's a handful of guys that stand out in a few statistical categories and might be worth watching. Study up and you'll be the know-it-all of your NCAA Tourny party today/tomorrow. Um, you are taking the day off work, right?

I'm only including guys who played at least half of their team's minutes this season.

Offensive Efficiency (points per possession)
Player........................................Off Rt..........%Poss
Alfred Neale, New Mexico...........132.............16.9%
Jawad Williams, UNC.................127.............21.0%
Danny Granger, New Mexico......126.............29.6%
Anthony Roberson, Florida.........125.............25.7%
Marvin Williams, UNC.................124.............20.3%
Curtis Sumpter, Villanova...........124.............23.0%
Jeff Halbert, Ohio........................124.............13.1%
Grant Stout, N. Iowa....................123.............17.9%
Wayne Simien, Kansas..............122..............25.9%
Rashad McCants, UNC..............122..............23.8%
Allan Ray, Villanova....................122..............24.6%
Leon Williams, Ohio...................120..............20.0%
Sean May, UNC..........................120..............27.6%
Matt Walsh, Florida....................120...............22.9%
Josh Boone, U Conn...................120..............19.2%

Keep in mind that offensive efficiency becomes harder to maintain at higher levels of possession usage, so the numbers posted by guys like Granger, Roberson, and May are especially impressive. As I examine that list, I have to say that this region is loaded with offensive talent.

Rebounds per 40 Minutes
Player................................................Reb/40
Sean May, UNC..................................16.5
David Lee, Florida...............................13.0
Wayne Simien, Kansas......................12.9
Charlie Villanueva, U Conn.................12.9
Leon Williams, Ohio...........................12.0
Danny Granger, New Mexico..............11.8
Josh Boone, U Conn..........................11.8
Al Horford, Florida...............................11.7
Marvin Williams, UNC.........................11.7
Eric Coleman, N. Iowa........................10.4

I've expressed my preference for rebound % in the past, but I've only got so much time to work with. Reb/40 will do just fine.

Pass Rating
Player.................................................Pass Rt
Aaron Miles, Kansas..........................40.8%
Marcus Williams, U Conn..................38.8%
Raymond Felton, UNC.......................32.5%
Chris Foster, N. Iowa.........................28.9%
Abe Badmus, Bucknell.......................23.4%
Sharif Chambliss, Wisconsin............21.7%
Mike Nardi, Villanova...........................21.0%
Mark Walters, New Mexico.................20.7%
Tony Bethel, NC State........................19.7%
Will Blalock, ISU..................................19.6%

My pass rating is similar to the one John Hollinger uses in his Pro Basketball Prospectus (Forecast?). It's basically a measure of points produced by assists per possession. I'm still working on it, but as long as it identifies Miles, Williams, and Felton as good passers, it's a good start. Since it's rated "per possession," guys who never shoot can artificially inflate their rate, but I built in a small adjustment for that.

Steals per Defensive Possession
Player...........................................Stl%
Eddie Basden, Charlotte.............5.3%
Abe Badmus, Bucknell................4.9%
Sonny Troutman, Ohio................4.7%
Danny Granger, New Mexico.......4.4%
Rashon Clark, ISU.......................4.3%
Randy Foye, Villanova.................4.1%
Curtis Stinson, ISU......................4.0%
Brent Lawson, Minn.....................3.9%
Jeremy Fears, Ohio.....................3.8%
Tony Bethel, NC State.................3.7%

How do you like that first round matchup of Iowa State and Minnesota? Both rank in Ken Pomeroy's top ten in points allowed per possessions, and both rate as middle-of-the-road offenses. Think their might be a few turnovers in that one?

Blocks per 40 Minutes
Player..............................................Blk/40
Josh Boone, U Conn.........................4.0
Jeff Hagen, Minn................................3.8
Grant Stout, N. Iowa..........................3.0
Charlie Villanueva, U Conn...............2.9
Al Horford, Florida.............................2.9
Danny Granger, New Mexico............2.7
Rudy Gay, U Conn............................2.7
Jared Homan, ISU.............................2.1
Sean May, UNC.................................1.6
Will Sheridan, Villanova.....................1.6

Points, rebounds, steals, blocks......does Danny Granger excel at everything?

Three Point Rate
Player.............................................3pt Rt
Brendan Plavich, Charlotte.............4.57
Troy DeVries, New Mexico.............4.41
Anthony Roberson, Florida.............4.22
Matt Walsh, Florida........................3.63
Allan Ray, Villanova........................3.53
Rashad McCants, UNC..................3.31
Ben Jacobson, N. Iowa...................2.92
Jeff Halbert, Ohio............................2.77
Ilian Evtimov, NC State...................2.75
Alfred Neale, New Mexico...............2.72

These are the guys you'll see making a lot of threes at a decent rate. The formula I used, as swiped from the indispensable (I'm starting to sound like a Wonk) Justin Kubatko of the equally indispensable Basketball-Reference.com -
(3's made X 3-pt%) / min

Free Throw Rate
Player.............................................FT Rt
Marvin Williams, UNC....................15.83
Sean May, UNC..............................15.10
Danny Granger, New Mexico..........13.21
Wayne Simien, Kansas.................13.00
Vincent Grier, Minn.........................10.74
Terren Harbut, Ohio.......................10.23
Curtis Sumpter, Villanova..............10.23
E.J. Drayton, Charlotte..................10.00
Curtis Withers, Charlotte................9.80
Jeff Hagen, Minn..............................9.60

Same formula as the 3-point rate, and also from Mr. Kubatko. These are the guys who get to the line often and/or know how to take advantage of the freebies.

So, in an offensively stacked bracket, freshman Marvin Williams ranks as one of the most efficient scorers, best rebounders, and effective free throw shooters.....think he's a decent pro prospect?
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