"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, October 07, 2009

A few more thoughts on BE JUCO players

I just wanted to follow up on a few more thoughts about JUCO players in the BE. If you missed it, check that out, or even the original Look at Top 100 Recruits.

We were remiss in posting the information regarding Marquette JUCO players. Basically, Kinsella, Blackledge, and Fulce all received Incompletes / Non-Factors. Jamil Lott technically qualified as a non-factor, but that's a little bit unfair with his ORtg (97.4) and Usage (16.9%). Lott was basically a little bit worse than average, but not egregiously bad.

As previously mentioned, Jimmy Butler was an off the charts role player, with a combination of ORtg (131) and Usage (14%). A question was raised regarding Butler. If he was that good, doesn't it then show that Buzz is better at judging talent (and we can therefore expect more from DJO/Buycks?) I agree entirely with MUScoop.com poster "The Sultan of South Wayne" who says that:

Or it could be that Butler succeeded because of his limited role. He played on a team with three seniors where he could be the "hustle guy." Come off the bench to play a little defense, get some rebounds, score some points, etc.

It will be impossible for him to retain that offensive production with more minutes and his surrounding cast gone. Furthermore, it will be hard for DJO and Buycks to attain that status with one, or both of them starting and counted on to be essentially the only scorers in the guard positions.

Butler was playing with four players that would all qualify as Studs (ORtg > 100; Usage > 20%). As a reminder, there is a clear and direct relationship between the number of possessions a player uses and how efficient they are with those possessions. Elite players can manage to maintain a high offensive rating while still using a large number of possessions. If anything, we should expect Butler to be far less efficient this season than last year. Honestly, his 08-09 offensive efficiency seems like a statistical anomaly.

Not covered in the original analysis was that there was a high percentage of JUCO players that ended up not sticking with programs after year one. (HT: bma) Of the list of 30, there were a full nine players that ended up transferring, or almost a third. This was something that clearly registered, but I wasn't sure how to include initially. When we combine the fact that almost seven out of ten juco players are non-factors on the court in their first year, or that one out of three JUCOS end up even transferring... well you can make your own inferences about the implications on program stability when it comes to JUCO players.

That said, although the issue of recruiting JUCO players boiled to the surface during the Monterele Clark saga, I don't personally have any issues right now. First, although many players get the JUCO tag, it seems particularly relevant that Fulce, Butler, and DJO are all three year players. Honestly, I consider a three year player a lot closer to a four year recruit than a true JUCO. Second, I just accept (for now) that this is an area where Buzz has a lot of recruiting connections. However, this isn't by any means a consensus opinion among other CS contributors, as others feel strongly about the number of JUCOs at Marquette.

A question has also been raised about the notion of guaranteed minutes and what impact that may have. In principle, I definitely agree that there will be plenty of minutes available for the taking. However, when one builds in the possessions already for Lazar, Acker, Cubillan, and Butler, there are not as many possessions as one might think. Using envelope math, it appears that half of DJO, Buycks, Maymon, or EWill ends up with less than 20% of possessions. (ie - a role player or non-factor). I'll try to approach this with more rigor in subsequent posts.

Finally, thanks to BMA (again), we also have the final set of data to look at for incoming players in their first year. This data is for HS / Prep school players that weren't Top 100. Once this is processed, we'll have a full set of information and can then look at broader questions, so stay tuned for more information.

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1 comment:

Oliver said...

I don't have any issues with the number of JUCOs at this point. I will have an issue if this continues at the same pace for two more years.

Crean was a boom or bust recruiter and left the pantry pretty bare after the three amigos class. Buzz had a choice of using JUCOs to bridge the gap or going very young and taking his lumps. The problem with going the young route is a program the size of Marquette might not pull out of it (see Depaul).

I am more worried about the player injury trends over the last couple years than Buzz's recruiting decisions.