Friday, January 11, 2008

Big East Freshmen: Class of 2011 So Far

There was quite a bit of talk about this year's entering class back in the off season. I think this might have been the most competitive preseason ROY votes among the coaches since the CUSA schools joined back in 2005-06. Connecticut and West Virginia excepted (apologies to Donnell Beverly and John Flowers...), every school had at least one candidate to offer. I thought the pause at New Year it is appropriate to take a look at the freshman class' progress. The OOC is winding down and there are few, if any, Big East tilts in the books. I am running behind in getting this post together and on the blog, but I thought looking at the New Year's data from Ken Pomeroy's site, before we get 2+ weeks into the Big East regular season schedule, would still be productive. I have not listed all of the freshmen in the tables below. I am showing (sorted and ranked by ORtg%) only those who have played > 20.0% of the time at their respective positions, as of January 1. This provides us with a group of about 25 players to review. The All Rookie Team will have ten members plus the ROY, so most (but most likely not all...) of those who will be honored at the end of the BE regular season are somewhere in the tables below.

Austin FreemanGTU52.7129.519.021.768.91.42
Malcolm GrantVU39.5126.619.518.765.31.38
Jonny FlynnSU78.8123.620.819.662.31.31
Rick JacksonSU33.8123.515.617.265.21.28
Jeremy HazellSHU51.8121.918.623.852.51.10
DeJuan BlairPitt56.1120.823.923.157.61.19
Gilbert BrownPitt40.6119.414.816.447.11.07
Jamine PetersonPC27.6117.825.528.851.71.09
Donte GreeneSU86.7117.421.826.356.41.20
Dominique JonesUSF81.9114.422.822.456.01.20
Corey FisherVU55.7108.824.928.250.01.04
Dar TuckerDPU52.6106.630.
Chris WrightGTU44.8102.722.919.755.91.15
Mac KoshwalDPU77.1101.920.617.353.91.10
D J KennedySJU73.099.620.718.751.81.13
Rashad BishopCin57.796.216.917.046.40.96
Justin BurrellSJU81.194.520.
Larry DavisCin33.194.320.824.150.91.09
Corey StokesVU37.792.114.617.633.00.77
Corey ChandlerRU58.190.930.230.454.01.02
Scoop JardineSU36.090.419.418.045.10.99
Paris HorneSJU47.787.
Orin ChinUSF61.586.017.116.938.80.84
Mike CoburnRU51.281.921.621.657.10.84
Malik BootheSJU36.181.715.012.733.90.82
Sean EvansSJU25.579.819.116.750.00.95
Earl PettisRU25.060.119.417.228.10.61

Austin Freeman4.
Malcolm Grant1.34.951.017.320.1
Jonny Flynn1.
Rick Jackson10.714.432.68.315.3
Jeremy Hazell4.27.623.84.86.7
DeJuan Blair20.026.943.45.014.2
Gilbert Brown7.610.719.614.111.9
Jamine Peterson20.
Donte Greene7.016.829.49.216.0
Dominique Jones6.310.456.721.418.0
Corey Fisher0.96.523.127.416.7
Dar Tucker14.716.327.210.38.0
Chris Wright2.912.833.322.426.9
Mac Koshwal10.916.957.810.519.2
D J Kennedy8.020.637.313.826.4
Rashad Bishop12.217.924.316.621.4
Justin Burrell7.817.936.44.123.5
Larry Davis 0.74.714.014.821.8
Corey Stokes4.113.918.28.616.4
Corey Chandler5.16.735.915.323.7
Scoop Jardine2.55.225.519.330.4
Paris Horne4.411.
Orin Chin6.714.551.37.720.6
Mike Coburn3.58.744.718.624.8
Malik Boothe1.54.242.919.227.0
Sean Evans8.
Earl Pettis3.914.725.016.533.9

Data for each player has been drawn from Ken Pomeroy's website, an information resource created and maintained by Ken Pomeroy. Note that where Pomeroy identifies the player as "Top 100" in a specific category, I have highlighted that category with yellow. Those players who are designated "Top 500" in a particular category are highlighted in lime green.

Tracking the Preseason Favorites
Donte Greene -- Syracuse. He is living up to expectations, though the Cuse is suffering with the in season losses of Eric Devendorf (injury) and Josh Wright (left the program), added to the preseason loss of Andy Rautins. ROYs however, tend to come from winning teams who make the post season (usually the NCAA), and without those kudos, I wonder if the voters will give him strong consideration at season's end.
Jonny Flynn -- Syracuse. Also making progress under less than ideal circumstances. As many predicted, he started from day one and put up some terrific numbers in the OOC. Two caveats to consider...with Devendorf (and Rautins) out more of the outside scoring responsibilities have fallen to Flynn and fellow freshman Scoop Jardine. Becoming a principal focus of the defense will (has?) diminish his efficiency, particularly shooting. And with little relief available now that Josh Wright has left the program, even more playing time has fallen to him. Freshman fatigue may become a factor in his (and the team's) late season performance.
Corey Fisher -- Villanova. He broke into the starting lineup around the turn of the new year. He has maintained very respectable (though not ROY-level) numbers, note for example his ARate -- just behind Jonny Flynn and good for a #171 ranking. He will become more consistent in his play over time, as he continues to have "Freshman Moments" (and occasionally Games...). He looks very solid for the All Rookie Team, but probably not the ROY honor.
Mac Koshwal -- DePaul. Has shored up the middle very nicely. He is paired with 5th year senior Wes Green to anchor the Blue Demon's post presence. His numbers are above average for a freshman year, but the Demons are struggling.
Austin Freeman -- Georgetown. Freeman is a proven scorer. He has started the last three games and even with the increased playing time and expanded role in the offense, he is maintaining those efficiency numbers.

Surprise, Surprise
Every year, despite the exhaustive coverage and reams of paper and ink spent covering everyone in the incoming class, some number of players manage to stay off (near the edge of?) the radar screen. Here are five who caught all but the most dedicated team folowers off guard.
DaJuan Blair -- Pittsburgh. The freshman has stepped ahead of two transfers to take Aaron Gray's spot on the court and in Pittsbugh's offense & defense. His rebounding numbers are off the charts, even as his offensive numbers (%Ortg, PPWS, eFG%) suggest very efficient on that side of the ball too. Note his possession and shot percentages (%Poss & %Shot) show he is an integrated part of the offense, not a role/marginal player as some rookies with his efficiencies are. His teammates look to him to take up some of the offensive responsibilities. At this point Blair fits the profile for an ROY. His team is on track for the post season and he is a significant contributor to that effort.
Dominique Jones -- South Florida. Jones has already won a handful of "Rookie of the Week" honors from the conference office. Jones is rated in the Top 500 not only in field goal efficiency, but in assists too. If Jones, working with point guard Chris Howard and center Kentrell Gransberry can get the Bulls to the middle of the conference he may have a chance to take the ROY at season's end.
Jeremy Hazell -- Seton Hall. The Pirates are making a break to the middle of the conference (or higher...), and Hazell's shot may help them get there. Like 5th year senior Jamar Nutter, Hazell specializes in 3s. He is putting in about 50% of the time at a wing spot, and may provide the consistency that SHU fans have looked to Nutter to provide. Most likely not a strong candidate for ROY, he may well, if he can continue at this pace, work himself onto the Rookie Team.
Malcolm Grant -- Villanova. Like Scottie Reynolds, Malcolm Grant fell into Villanova's lap when (this time it was...) Seton Hall changed coaches. Nicknamed Microwave by his teammates, he has twice come off the bench to energize a lethargic Wildcat offense and get the team back into the game. Fans are wondering why the staff has not found a spot in the starting lineup for him.
Gilbert Brown -- Pittsburgh. Tabbed just before the start of the season by the SportingNews' Mike DeCourcy as a pivital player for the Panthers, Brown took the minutes that junior #3 Mike Cook left on the table. Cook went down with an ACL tear at the end of Pitt's victory over Duke, and the door swung wide open for Brown. The subsequent injury to Levance Fields places even more offense/scoring responsibility on Brown's shoulders.

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