"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, October 27, 2014

Finally, the season is almost here

We are less than two weeks away from the start of the season, if you count an exhibition game as the start of the season(we all know the selection committee counts them). Since we are so close, and neither of us will be around for the month of November, we decided it was time to review the schedule and predict every result. Neither of us are particularly optimistic but we aren't paid to predict anything so our opinions probably don't count for much. After we go through the schedule top to bottom, we transition to discussing the starting line-up and some of the distribution of minutes that will need to happen for MU to be successful. Lastly, we turn to a podcast gimmick in which we create fake pre-season awards and then arbitrarily give them to players....trust me it's podcast gold Jerry! Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Projections for 2016 NCAA Includes Ellenson-led MU

MUs best recruit in decades projects to land MU back in the NCAA tournament in 2016. Henry Ellenson steps on the court projected to be the 189th best Value Add player in the country even as a freshman. A look at MU’s projected roster for 2016 indicates three more players projected to be among the top 10% in the country – enough to propel MU to fourth in the Big East behind Georgetown, Xavier and Villanova (see updated google doc here).

The full database is at www.valueaddbasketball.com, but it is not updated currently. The ceiling for MU is higher due to players whose projections were held down by injuries or a lack of playing time:

2016 MU Value Add Projections
Burton, Deonte: 4.4 (268th of 4000 players)
Cheatham, Haanif: 1.41 (717th)
Cohen, Sandy: 2.28 (527th)
Dawson, John: 0.00 (with more PT should move up)
Ellenson, Henry: 4.9 (189th, or top 5%)
Ellenson, Wally: 0.00 (based on dunking at MU Madness could be better)
Fischer, Luke: 0.94 (partial season at Indiana holds him down)
Heldt, Matt: 0.30 (some ratings have higher)
Johnson, JaJuan: 2.98 (402nd misses top 10% by 2 spots)
Levin, Gabe: 1.15 (830th)
Taylor, Steve: 0.12 (season-long injury held projection down)
Wilson, Duane: 3.7 (313th)

The Big East does not project to have any top five seeds in 2016, but seven of the ten teams project to either make the tournament or be one of the next teams out.

Big East 2016 Projections 
(4 teams in, 3 more just miss on bubble)
Georgetown, BE, 6-seed
Xavier, BE, 9-seed
Villanova, BE, 9-seed
Marquette, BE, 11-seed
St. John's, BE, 4th bubble (out of NCAA)
Providence, BE, 5th bubble (out of NCAA)
Seton Hall, BE, 10th bubble (out of NCAA)
Butler, BE, out
Creighton, BE, out
DePaul, BE, out

The following are other projected seeds and next 10 teams out.

Rest of the NCAA field and 1st Ten Out
Starting with projected 1-seeds
Arizona, p12, 1-seed
Duke, ACC, 1-seed
Kansas, b12, 1-seed
Kentucky, sec, 1-seed
Connecticut, Amer, 2-seed
Florida, Amer, 2-seed
Louisville, ACC, 2-seed
North Carolina, ACC, 2-seed
Memphis, Amer, 3-seed
Michigan St., b10, 3-seed
Syracuse, ACC, 3-seed
Virginia, ACC, 3-seed
Baylor, B12, 4-seed
Indiana, B10, 4-seed
Louisiana St., SEC, 4-seed
UCLA, p12, 4-seed
Florida St., ACC, 5-seed
Maryland, B10, 5-seed
Missouri, SEC, 5-seed
Texas, B12, 5-seed
Michigan, B10, 6-seed
Nevada Las Vegas, mwc, 6-seed
North Carolina St., ACC, 6-seed
ACC, P12, 7-seed
Arkansas, SEC, 7-seed
Oregon, P12, 7-seed
Southern Methodist, Amer, 7-seed
Houston, Amer, 8-seed
Illinois, b10, 8-seed
Kansas St., B12, 8-seed
Ohio St., b10, 8-seed
Miami FL, ACC, 9-seed
Oklahoma, B12, 9-seed
Iowa St., B12, 10-seed
Purdue, B10, 10-seed
San Diego St., mwc, 10-seed
Tulsa, Amer, 10-seed
Cincinnati, Amer, 11-seed
George Washington, A10, 11-seed
Georgia, SEC, 11-seed
Gonzaga, wcc, 11-seed
Southern California, p12, 11-seed
Army, Pat, 12-seed
Georgia St., SB, 12-seed
Northwestern St., Slnd, 12-seed
Wichita St., MVC, 12-seed
Hawaii, BW, 13-seed
Hofstra, CAA, 13-seed
Siena, MAAC, 13-seed
Texas El Paso, CUSA, 13-seed
Belmont, OVC, 14-seed
High Point, BSth, 14-seed
Stony Brook, ae, 14-seed
Wisconsin Green Bay, Horz, 14-seed
Northern Illinois, MAC, 15-seed
Oral Roberts, Sum, 15-seed
Weber St., BSky, 15-seed
Yale, Ivy, 15-seed
Alabama St., SWAC, 16-seed
Chattanooga, sc, 16-seed
Chicago St., WAC, 16-seed
Howard, MEAC, 16-seed
Kennesaw St., ASun, 16-seed
Mount St. Mary's, NEC, 16-seed
Stanford, p12, 1st bubble (out of NCAA)
Nebraska, B10, 2nd bubble (out of NCAA)
Pittsburgh, ACC, 3rd bubble (out of NCAA)
Colorado, P12, 6th bubble (out of NCAA)
Alabama, SEC, 7th bubble (out of NCAA)
Auburn, sec, 8th bubble (out of NCAA)

Mississippi St., SEC, 9th bubble (out of NCAA)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Embrace the Madness (and tall gentlemen from Rice Lake)

We start out with the obvious, welcoming MU's newest recruit(and most important in the last 20 years), Henry Ellenson. We try to temper expectations but can't help ourselves. We then transition to some interesting observations from Jon Rothstein who was at practice on the 8th. We discuss what his observations mean and if they make sense. Lastly, we turn to Marquette Madness and discuss whether it tells us almost nothing or absolutely nothing. Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Gardner signs in France after one of greatest Value Add runs at MU

Davante Gardner, who was the 55th best Value Add player in the country his junior season and still in the top 4% of all players his senior season, has signed a pro contract in France.

Gardner's sophomore year was the 32nd best of any Marquette player. Only four Marquette players matched three years at that level - Travis Diener, Lazar Hayward, Dominic James (now Dominic Wright) and Wesley Matthews.

Dwyane Wade's 2003 was the best of any player, when he had the 7th best season in the 12-year history of the Value Add database. Travis Diener had three of Marquette's top 10 seasons, and Jimmy Butler had two of Marquette's top 10 seasons.

I first saw Davante Gardner when I flew to Marquette for the Notre Dame game which he took as his visit from my native Virginia, and loved his play for all four years - believing he became easily Marquette's best player. We wish him and Jamil Wilson, who is fighting to become Marquette's 37th NBA player, the best of luck.

Below are the players with the top 50 Value Add seasons for Marquette, with notes on their pro careers after Marquette. Dwight Buycks' best season was actually the 56th best, but we include him as an honorable mention since he played in the NBA last year.

Top 50 MU SeasonsPlayerValue AddYearPro career after Marquette?
19Acker, Maurice5.082010France is 6th pro country
38Barro, Ousmane3.342007
39Barro, Ousmane2.952008Romania is 6th pro country
26Blue, Vander4.0220133 NBA Games with Celtics
45Blue, Vander2.642012
5Butler, Jimmy7.79201087 NBA Starts with Bulls
9Butler, Jimmy6.372011
42Butler, Jimmy2.812009
HM (56)Buycks, Dwight1.73201114 NBA games with raptors
37Cadougan, Junior3.362013Canadian National Team
49Cadougan, Junior2.462012
31Chapman, Joe3.72006Japan
2Crowder, Jae11.12201224 NBA starts, 156 games for Mavs
12Crowder, Jae5.832011
36Cubillan, David3.442007Brief Israel contracts
40Cubillan, David2.942010
47Cubillan, David2.52008
3Diener, Travis9.31200421 NBA Starts with Pacers, 179 games
4Diener, Travis8.922005
7Diener, Travis6.532003
43Fitzgerald, Dan2.762007Spanish team is 8th pro team
11Gardner, Davante6.132013France - just signed
22Gardner, Davante4.752014
32Gardner, Davante3.542012
8Hayward, Lazar6.49201072 NBA games with Wolves and Thunder
15Hayward, Lazar5.522009
20Hayward, Lazar4.92008
21Jackson, Robert4.772003None known
13James, Dominic5.692006French career ended in 2013, name now Dominic Wright
17James, Dominic5.332008
24James, Dominic4.282007
30James, Dominic3.722009
18Johnson-Odom, Darius5.2620127 NBA games for Lakers, 76ers
35Johnson-Odom, Darius3.462011
46Johnson-Odom, Darius2.562010
50Lockett, Trent2.362013Top German League, D-League Select
10Matthews, Wesley6.192009321 NBA starts Jazz and Blazers, 14.0 ppg
27Matthews, Wesley3.922007
28Matthews, Wesley3.842008
14McNeal, Jerel5.662009Spanish team is 7th pro team
16McNeal, Jerel5.412008
33McNeal, Jerel3.52007
48McNeal, Jerel2.472006
29Merritt, Scott3.732003Japan
6Novak, Steve7.462006414 NBA games, 2085 points
23Novak, Steve4.652005
34Novak, Steve3.492004
41Novak, Steve2.852003
1Wade, Dwyane11.42003710 NBA Starts, 24.3 ppg, 6.0 ast, 5.0 reb, 1.8 stl, 1.0 blk
25Wilson, Jamil4.22013signs with Suns, trying to make team
44Wilson, Jamil2.732012

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Unexpectedly busy Tuesday

The pod signal went up, so here we are. Once of sounds like he's calling on a Campbell soup can, but hopefully you'll survive because we have a lot to talk about. It was a hectic Tuesday, with the new AD announced and then the complete schedule rolled out. We are barely qualified to talk about basketball so we certainly aren't qualified to vet an AD hire....doesn't mean we don't try. While not a complete, in-depth analysis of the schedule, we spend a little time talking about our overall impressions. We also decided to put our "optimism" hats on(surprised we could find them) to discuss what things could happen that would result in a positive experience this season. Lastly, we turn to recruiting, welcoming Haanif Cheathnam, the latest MU player that will have his name misspelled and mispronounced for the next four years, That leads into a general recruiting discussion which includes the 900 pound gorilla in the MU recruiting room. #bringDraketoMadness Download this episode (right click and save)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

MU in H. Ellenson's Final 3, Crystal Ball/Value Add Composite Projects MU 4th in BE in 2016

The 247 Crystal ball was already predicting that Marquette would land both Henry Ellenson and Haanif Cheatham for the 2015-16 season prior last night's announcement that Ellenson is down to Kentucky, Michigan State and Marquette. If that plays out, the following table gives the updated Value Add for each Marquette player, while every other team has been updated in the same way on the google sheet for the Value Add scholarship page

Name20142015Rnk2016Rnk2016 ClassHtNBA%
Ellenson, HenryNANA4.901890 Prep6'10"TBD
Burton, Deonte1.663.363364.402672 So6'4"SG36%
Wilson, DuaneRS1.806543.703131 Fr6'2"
Johnson, JaJuan0.302.984072.984022 So6'5"SG30%
Cohen, SandyNA1.138722.285281 Fr6'5"
Cheatham, HaanifNANA1.417190 Prep6'5"
Noskowiak, NickNANA1.208060 Prep6'2"
Levin, Gabe0.57Trans1.158302 So6'7"
Fischer, Luke0.360.7211210.949072 So6'11"
Heldt, Mattnot yetnot yet0.300 Prep6'10"
Taylor, Steve0.080.1019250.1217903 Jr6'7"
Dawson, John0.000.0099990.002 So6'2"
Ellenson, Wally0.00not yet0.003 Jr6'10"
Carlino, Matt2.603.073884 Sr6'2"
Anderson, Juan1.101.308044 Sr6'6"
Wilson, Derrick0.000.0099994 Sr6'1"
Gardner, Davante4.75Grad5 Gone6'8"
Otule, Chris0.41Grad5 Gone6'11"
Thomas, Jake0.77Grad5 Gone6'3"
Wilson, Jamil1.47Grad5 Gone6'7"
Mayo, Todd1.82Draft5 Gone6'3"

After entering every Crystal ball prediction and then running the table for each team, Marquette projects to improve from 101st last year to 89th this season to 38th in 2015-16 - one of the biggest jumps in the country. In the Big East, only Georgetown, Xavier and Villanova project to be in better shape in 2016 - projecting a 4th place conference finish. Marquette is given better than a 70% chance of landing Henry Ellenson, who would project to nudge Burton out as MU's best player in 2015-16, and a 60% chance of landing Haanif Cheatham, who is en route to campus.

The following would be the top 25 teams and the ranking of each Big East team assuming Crystal Ball predictions and Value Add projections.

Team2015 Conf201420152016
North CarolinaACC2665
Michigan St.B10163811
Florida St.ACC302214
Nevada Las VegasMWC842819
Louisiana St.SEC665020
Southern MethodistAmer331524
North Carolina St.ACC513325






St. John'sBE764645
Seton HallBE1108552

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fox Sports Latest of Top 10 Sports Sites to give Value Add Great Coverage (formatting fixed)

Fox Sports did a nice piece on Value Add yesterday that has resulted in 1,100 Facebook Shares so far. It was a lot more fun when NBC Sports picked up on it back when Jae Crowder was rising toward the top of the rankings. Still, assuming Cracked Sidewalks and MU Scoop both have about 17.99 million unique visitors a month (just a guess, but I’m sure it must be accurate ;-) ), that would mean over half of the top 10 sports sites have had good coverage of the Value Add system that started here. Here is the rundown of the top 10 sites.

(9-10 tied) Cracked Sidewalks and MU Scoop – I believe about 17.99 million visitors a month J - and many articles over the years and lively discussions to let me vet the system before it went national.

8. Fox Sports 18 million – Reid Forgrave wrote the great story yesterday that has produced 1,100 Facebook Shares so far

7. SB Nation 19 million – no Value Add coverage

6. NBC Sports 19.5 million – great reporter Rob Dauster did a follow-up this morning, and did one of the key stories when Crowder was enroute to being the No. 2 player, in which he took note of my surprise ranking of a little sophomore guard  named Shabazz Napier who was ranked No. 11 already by Value Add.

5. Sports Illustrated 20 million – The stat guru Luke Winn gave the ultimate boost to Value Add with the first big piece, which ultimately led to many a meeting and phone call with NBA team officials. It came with a price – a Badger was No. 1 in my offensive rankings when he contacted me.

4. CBS Sports 30 million – I believe they had tweeted out some Value Add updates, but can’t find them to prove it.

3. Bleacher Report 40 million – no Value Add coverage

2. ESPN 80 million – Eamonn Brennan was very complementary, and also noted my projection on a rising sophomore Otto Porter – who I had projected jumping from relatively unknown to the top player in the Big East, which he did.

1.       Yahoo Sports 125 million – no Value Add coverage

(ratings on website traffic can be found here , except for my Cracked Sidewalks and MU Scoop estimates) 

Anyway, thanks all for reading over the years – even those most critical helped me test these ratings out and make adjustments before they went to these national sites.