"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, March 31, 2016

JJJ Surges; Remembering Beating Nasty Big East Turned ACC Team; New Big East to New Heights Without Stars

Reflections on Marquette's past March battles with the former nasty Big East opponent still alive this year and the fact that the current Big East team representing one of the top three conferences - but a conference with no stars.

JuJuan Johnson was one of the biggest breakthroughs, surging to join Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer among the top 30 Big East players in the Value Add rankings listed below.

Daniel Ochefu overcame injury to make Villanova the only team in the country with four top 100 players - and that quartet is in the Final Four. The Big East, Big 12 and ACC are the top three conferences based on www.kenpom.com, and are the only three with teams in the Final Four as well as the only three with a winning record in the NCAA tournament, so how can the other two conferences have 10 players rated higher in Value Add than any Big East player?

Yes, Syracuse roughed MU up in the last NCAA match-up, but that memory is eclipsed by DJO and Crowder hitting the consecutive three-pointers in Cleveland to send them home.

This year while the Big East had two stars is you go by likely NBA potential. But our own Henry Ellenson was too inconsistent as most freshman are to be a superstar this year (275th final ranking of 4000+ players).

Which begs the question, "What about Kris Dunn?"

Kris is my favorite non-Marquette player - a great kid when I interviewed him at the Big East tournament  last year where he talked about his trust in God, and he will be a great NBA player. He was my preseason National Player of the Year, and I am thrilled the AP selected him as a 2nd Team All-American. However, he dropped to 74th in Value Add and I dropped him to 5th team All-American.

When you really crunch the numbers, Dunn just did not live up to his projected value for one reason - he couldn't stay on the court. Obviously missing some games with the flu is tough. But Dunn just couldn't resist reaching fouls that really hurt Providence by forcing him to sit.

The team barely survived Illinois, USC and Arizona despite Dunn missing more than 14 minutes a game due to foul trouble. He has at least four fouls and averaged missing 10 minutes in two losses to Seton Hall and Michigan State, and if he was on the court to keep them in those games and pull one out then Providence may have improved from an 8-seed and avoided UNC in the second round.

Once they played UNC, he was once again brilliant while on the court - 29 points in 26 minutes - but if Providence could have pulled ahead in the first half while Dunn was sitting on the bench with fouls they might have had a chance. So on the court, no one is better - but resisting those cheap fouls might have given the Big East an additional Sweet 16 team in what is nonetheless a great year.

Season RankPlayerTeamClassTotal Pts/Gm ValueNBA%
37Bentil, Ben 0Providence2 So7.6980%
74Dunn, Kris 3Providence3 Jr6.7894%
81Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4Georgetown4 Sr6.7117%
87Rodriguez, Desi 20Seton Hall2 So6.61
99Arcidiacono, Ryan 15Villanova4 Sr6.4911%
102Hart, Josh 3Villanova3 Jr6.4736%
110Jenkins, Kris 2Villanova3 Jr6.32
114Whitehead, Isaiah 15Seton Hall2 So6.2632%
115Bluiett, Trevon 5Xavier2 So6.2636%
171Ochefu, Daniel 23Villanova4 Sr5.7220%
200Groselle, Geoffrey 41Creighton4 Sr5.54
225Farr, James 2Xavier4 Sr5.27
233Jones, Roosevelt 21Butler4 Sr5.21
265Dunham, Kellen 24Butler4 Sr4.9825%
272Carrington, Khadeen 0Seton Hall2 So4.93
275Ellenson, Henry 13Marquette1 Fr4.9191%
291Delgado, Angel 31Seton Hall2 So4.8126%
296Henry, Myke 4DePaul4 Sr4.79
298Martin, Kelan 30Butler2 So4.7816%
331Davis, Myles 15Xavier3 Jr4.59
360Fischer, Luke 40Marquette3 Jr4.4535%
370Chrabascz, Andrew 45Butler3 Jr4.42
374Macura, JP 55Xavier2 So4.42
400Peak, LJ 0Georgetown2 So4.2724%
430Wideman, Tyler 4Butler2 So4.17
468Watson, Maurice 10Creighton3 Jr3.9616%
470Huff, Cole 13Creighton3 Jr3.95
515Zierden, Isaiah 21Creighton3 Jr3.82
523Bridges, Mikal 25Villanova1 Fr3.7918%
524Johnson, JaJuan 23Marquette3 Jr3.7921%

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