"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

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Welcome Jake Thomas - Buzz gets his shooter with a schollie left

Welcome to Marquette Jake Thomas!

Wow, Buzz and the staff set a new bar for walk-ons last year by grabbing David Singleton - who was the 61st best steals guy in the country. Now he has grabbed a great 3-point shooter who put in over 30 minutes a game each of his first two seasons at South Dakota and would be expected to rank as one of the Top 50 guys in the Big East Conference this year based on Value Add if he didn't have to sit out.

Anticipated Big East ranks based on Value Add
(if Thomas could play this year)

BETeamNameORtgDRtgAnt. Value AddValue SubAnt. Tot Value

(NBA prospect Jamail didn't have enough minutes to calculate)

Now a 109.3 Offensive Rating is phenomenial for a guy who plays most of the minutes like Jake does. As you can see, it actually ranks better than many of the top players in the Big East, but the Value Add takes into account the lower level of competition.

To not be completely Pollyanna, I should acknowledge that the Defensive Rating of 115 jumps out on this page. The bad news is that with the questions regarding Marquette being on the defensive end of the floor, Jamil has a below average defensive rating, David's is a little worse than his, and Jake's is very bad.

The good news is that defensive ratings are still mainly based on team defense, so 78% of the time a below average Oregon defense, a pretty bad High Point defense, or a terrible South Dakota defense gave up an easy basket, these three got one-fifth of the blame if they were on the court. While we feel confident that David is probably actually a pretty good defender due to his great steal numbers, it appears a stronger Jamil would be a good defender, that will be the question mark with Jake. Jake's defensive rebounds, steals and blocked shots are all decent, but playing on such a bad defensive team the only question is if he is a great scorer who is a defensive liability.

The good news is that down the stretch, Marquette played phenomenial defense in their last six wins of the season, giving up just 0.91 points per trip against six very good offenses including the national champions on their home court. A 0.91 makes you one of the Top 20 defenses in the country, and once adjusted for level of competition, MU would have challenged for the best defense in the country if those games were the whole season.

OppPtsAllPossPer trip

So there seems no doubt that Jake will be a great offensive player on the court, and the only question is whether he is a liability on defense to offset some of that.

Either way, there will be huge value to finally having a pure shooter to complement all our drivers. Not to compare him to Novak, but obviously as our guys drive to the rim knowing if the collapse Jake can make them pay with a kick-out for the trey will be key the year after DJO is gone. Here are his numbers from behind teh arc:


Certainly the skeptic will note the drop in percentage, but 3-point percentage drops the more of them you have to take. Obviously defenses knew by last year that you had to contest the three, so a guy who shoots this much from behind the arc is shooting tired with a lot of defensive pressure and still hitting.

South Dakota rarely got to the line or grabbed an offensive rebound, so with little threat to drive, it is probably safe to assume Jake is going to see a lot more space for his shots with teams collapsing around our other players.

With him signed as a walk-on, Buzz gets the shooter to replace DJO after this season, and still has a scholarship to find the right JUCO player to add value for next year if he chooses.

You know the program is going in the right direction when you get excited about walk-ons every year.

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