Sunday, July 20, 2008

U18 Tournament of the Americas -- Some Possession-Based Thoughts

The last few statistics from the U18 tournament. I wanted to take a look at the members of the Team USA squad to see how each did. In truth I was most curious about the Villanova recruits and other squad members headed to Big East schools in the years to come. I have borrowed Ken Pomeroy's format for presenting individual player stats (available on any D1 Scouting Report Page, Villanova's for example, so for those unfamiliar with the format, scroll to page listed to get a sense of the stats and layout. Players are listed last name first (that's how I found them on the FIBA Basketball site box score(s), from most often played (by percentage of available playing time) to least often played...

Walker Kemba71.522.222.3115.252.81.10
Releford Travis53.611.512.0144.451.61.03
Kelly Ryan50.625.725.676.336.20.81
Lee Malcolm50.622.022.0117.953.41.12
Wear Travis43.918.919.0122.050.01.05
Green JayMychal42.421.021.0138.472.41.48
Wayns Maalik40.320.420.4100.744.80.96
McDonald Leslie36.813.613.8100.032.00.75
Cheek Dominic 31.719.619.497.342.60.87
Plumlee Mason31.220.320.199.640.00.99
Humphrey Matt28.625.925.486.137.50.78
Wear David18.918.317.7130.464.31.27

I have highlighted the Big East recruits (and targets) in yellow. Kemba Walker earned his MVP trophy (as the data suggests). The staff (Davidson's Bob McKillop, Georgetown's JT3 and VCU's Greg Anthony) thought enough of him to play him nearly 3/4 of the available time, using him nearly 36 minutes per game in the 2 medal round games. Walker's numbers were not the most efficient on the squad, but given the amount of attention he drew, they were very good. Villanova's own Maalik Wayns had a pretty good tournament too. Wayns, the youngest member of the squad, performed well for his first time abroad. Wayns pulled 40% of the time at the #1, functioned as a second/third option on offense. While I would have liked to see better scoring numbers (eFG% and PPWS), he will learn from the experience. Dom Cheek out of St. Anthony's in Jersey City saw less floor time than I thought he would. Rumors of a ding persisted through the medal rounds, but Cheek did see 18 minutes in the loss to Argentina. The rebounding and free throw rate stats:

Walker Kemba3.010.627.837.724.1
Releford Travis2.46.318.830.911.6
Kelly Ryan11.819.227.77.322.0
Lee Malcolm5.
Wear Travis13.612.565.611.511.5
Green JayMychal19.222.958.65.413.4
Wayns Maalik4.29.417.237.734.8
McDonald Leslie2.35.724.014.319.1
Cheek Dominic 6.79.322.211.611.6
Plumlee Mason12.328.455.022.726.5
Humphrey Matt13.414.825.09.79.7
Wear David11.317.914.320.820.8

Looking at Ryan Kelly's offensive numbers I was not sure why he drew so many minutes (in fairness a number of players struggled offensively). Then I saw his rebounding numbers. Definitely good enough to keep him in the game. I was just a little surprised that he had the ball so much given his eFG% was so low (36.2). The entire field (except host Argentina) had difficulty hitting the 3 point shot consistently -- as the table below shows...

Team3FG %2FG %AFG %
Argentina (A)39.450.246.9
Canada (A)31.846.842.8
Puerto Rico (B)29.541.037.0
Mexico (A)28.440.534.9
Venezuela (B)27.550.943.9
USA (B)25.550.944.7
Bahamas (B)25.034.931.9
Uruguay (A)25.038.735.3

Team USA adjusted accordingly by pushing the ball inside to try to score more consistently from the lane. Given the number of D1 players (most teams appear to have had at least one present or future D1 player) the general ineffectiveness at 20-6 may foretell next season. The assist rates posted by both Walker and Wayns was very encouraging for both. But Team USA did not stay with it through the medal round games. The assist percentage (number of made field goals that were assisted...) dropped from the high 40's through high 50's down to the high 30's. JayMychal Green is another player who, according to the numbers, really stood out.

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