College basketball is finally back! It was a long off-season from the time UNC cut down the nets in Glendale to the opening tip this past Friday. In years past, one article I always enjoyed reading was Luke Winn’s Breakout Sophomore article. Last year, Winn’s article had John Collins and Donovan Mitchell as the two of the top candidates and both delivered turning into NBA lottery picks (this certainly isn’t an exact science as Carlton Bragg was number 1).
With Winn off to the Raptors, I did my best to follow his strict criteria to find some potential fits. The premise of Winn’s article was to find freshmen that had an unassuming general stats profile, but an advanced stats profile that indicated they might be ready for bigger and better things in their second year of college.
The strict criteria allows for a few small tweaks, but the list is restricted to those that averaged under 10 points a game and played less than 20 minutes a game. From an advanced stats view, the player should have an offensive rating greater than 100, a high usage or shot rate (Winn previously used 23%), and should expect to see an increase in playing time. Why? By combining volume and efficiency in limited minutes, these players should be ready to perform at a high level when the handcuffs are removed.
I didn’t come across any potential lottery picks in this exercise (who knows what I missed), but I did find a few players that fit the criteria.
Kyle Guy, Virginia, 6’3”, SG
MPG: 18.6 PPG: 7.5 ORtg: 114.8 Usg%: 20.7 Shot%: 24.5
|by Indy Star|
Kyle Guy was the first McDonald’s All-American to commit to Tony Bennett and the UVA staff. Last year he became nationally known for his man-bun in Charlottesville and the 6’3” freshman got off to a promising start scoring 10+ in 6 of his first 12 games. Once January rolled around, Guy started to struggle scoring a total of just 29 points in the entire month. The remainder of his season was a roller-coaster ride as Guy scored 19 and 17 against N.C. State and UNC, respectively before ending the season with 0 points in an embarrassing 2nd round loss to Florida where the Wahoos scored just 39 points.
With a flurry of transfers, Guy will certainly take on a much larger role this season. The Indiana sharp-shooter proved to be one of the top shooters in the ACC hitting on 49.5% of his 3’s and could end up as the leading scorer for the Cavs this season.
Martin Krampelj, Creighton, 6’9”, PF
MPG: 5.9 PPG: 2.8 ORtg: 112.4 Usg%: 24.9 Shot%: 22.0
The formula seemed to be reaching on this one, but did it find a gem? The 6’9” Slovenian only played 5.9 minutes a game last year averaging just 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds (Note: Martin played in 8 games in 2015-16 before an ACL turned him into a red-shirt). While he barely got off the bench last season with Justin Patton eating up a lot of minutes, Krampelj certainly had a high usage rate in the game with a strong offensive rating.
Three games in, Krampelj has an eFG% of 64.6% and followed a 12-rebound effort against Alcorn State with a 17 point, 5-rebound, 3-assist game in a win against Northwestern.
James Bolden, West Virginia, 6’0”, G
MPG: 5.8 PPG: 3.5 ORtg: 119.8 Usg%: 22.8 Shot%: 28.5
It was a crowded back-court last year for West Virginia with Tarik Phillip and Jevon Carter leading the way and things didn’t look that much different this season with Carter and Dexter Miles returning. That being said, James Bolden was a lights out shooter off the bench last year and has continued this trend in 2017-18. Bolden shot 45% from the 3-point line taking just 20 two-point attempts last year and in two games this year, he is already 8-16 from 3. He only had one double-digit scoring effort last season with 17 points in 10 minutes against Oklahoma, but in 24 minutes per game this year, he already has two.
De’Ron Davis, Indiana, 6’10”, PF
MPG: 13.9 PPG: 5.9 ORtg: 109.2 Usg%: 24.1 Shot%: 20.0
The four-star recruit saw limited action last year in Bloomington playing behind Thomas Bryant, but showed enough in limited minutes under Tom Crean to potentially act as a go-to guy in what will be a long first season for Archie Miller. Davis put together a few impressive Big 10 games last season and will be tasked with a big load if he can stay out of foul trouble.
- Former Syracuse freshman Tauren Thompson was a perfect fit for the Luke Winn criteria. The 6’10” big man from New York averaged 9.2 points in 18 minutes last season while having a usage rate of 25% and a shot % of 27.6%. Big things were expected from Thompson, but now Seton Hall can reap the benefits next year.
- Some players that just missed the cut included Cassius Winston of Michigan State and Austin Wiley from Auburn among a host of others (what’s up V.J. King). While this short listing is devoid of names like Grayson Allen and John Collins it will certainly be interesting to see how these players fare. Missing any….let me know!