"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

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Comparing the Big East's Top Freshmen

As finals week turns into the home stretch, let's take an early look at some of the best from the Big East's promising freshman class.

Craig Austrie7.13.62.9
Wilson Chandler7.30.47.0
Eric Devendorf8.71.92.1
Devan Downey14.42.62.0
Anthony Farmer9.93.22.7
J.R. Inman7.80.65.9
Dominic James14.46.64.7
Wesley Matthews9.12.63.7
Geoff McDermott9.62.36.1
Jerel McNeal9.32.23.3
Sam Young7.00.62.6

Not surprisingly, each of MU's leading freshman are at least as productive as the top performing freshman on any other Big East roster. It's notable that Providence's talented trio of McDermott, Efejuku and Curry are nearly on par with the productivity of MU's big three - with McDermott slightly more productive than his teammates. We'll have to analyze these guys head-to-head later in the year.

Both statistically and in terms of his indispensability to the team, Dominic James is easily the top freshman in the league at this point. For example:

  • James is one of only three freshman in the conference to average more than 30mpg (Geoff McDermott and Farmer are the others);
  • James is tied with Downey for the lead in scoring among freshman;
  • James averages nearly double the number of assists as the next closest freshman;
  • At nearly five boards a game, James out-rebounds many leading freshman post players.

While the start to James' career has been spectacular, let's be careful not to downplay the performances of Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal. With both players averaging roughly 25 mpg, they have ample opportunity to contribute -- which they do so across the board with numbers that are amazingly similar, and demonstrate well-rounded skills. For example, both Matthews and McNeal average better than 9 ppg, 2apg and 3rpg -- Dominic James, Geoff McDermott and Anthony Farmer are the only other freshman in the league to match or better these results.

Were it not for Dominic James' fast start, both of these players would be front-runners for the Big East Freshman of the Year.

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