Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chicken Counting 2010, part I

Villanova's All Time Scoring Leader...Reviewing the Numbers
The all-time leading Wildcat scorer is Kerry Kittles (1992-96), who scored 2,243 points over a 4 year career that saw Villanova win the NIT for the 1st time (becoming 1 of 18 programs to win both the NCAA and the NIT) in his sophomore season, and the Big East Tournament in his junior season. Kerry scored his 2,243 points over the course of 122 games, averaging 18.4 points per game. Scottie currently ranks #15 in the list, just above Tom Inglesby (1970-73, 1,616) with 1,620 points, scored over the course of 105 games. There are two elements (health aside...) to factor in determining if Scottie can match (or exceed) Kerry Kittle's record...

1. How many points does he need?  and
2. How many games will he have to score them?

As to the first question -- 624 points, as posed in the title to a thread posted over at Villanova's VUSport's board last week is the answer. 623 points will tie Kittles' lifetime scoring record, 624 and the record is Scottie's alone. Scoring 600 points in a season has been accomplished only 19 times by (only) 15 players (yes, for the record Howard Porter & Keith Herron scored > 600 points twice during their careers on the Main Line; Kerry Kittles did it three times). The last player to score over 600 points in a season was Dante Cunningham in 2009. Dante scored 612 points in his senior season, leading the Wildcats to a #3 seed in the NCAAs ending in the Final Four. Dante was, by the way, only the third player of the Jay Wright Era to score 600 points -- Randy Foye in 2006 (his senior season) scored 677 points and Alan Ray, with 604 points in his sophomore season (2004) -- are the other two. Should Scottie reach the 600 point mark, it would be only the 5th time since 1950-51 that Villanova teams would have had 600+ point scorers in back-to-back seasons. And only the second time that the feat would have been accomplished by two different players.

Will Scottie have enough games? This is the least certain factor. We know that the Wildcats will play at least 31 games; 30 in the "regular season" and (at least) one Big East Tournament game -- and Scottie is virtually certain to play in (if not start) every one of those games. The math suggests he would have to average at least 20.1 points per game, a scoring pace comparable to Randy Foye's 20.5 ppg in 2006 (and Mike Bradley's 20.8 ppg in 2001), but not as demanding as Kerry Kittles' 21.4 average in 1995 (Kerry scored 706 points in 33 games that season) to have a chance of breaking Kittles' record. If however the 2010 squad plays about the same number of games as the past few seasons, count on Reynolds having between 33 and 35 (maybe more?) games with which to work. At 35 games Scottie will have to average better than 17.8 ppg, comparable to Doug West's 1989 season (17.9 -- he scored 608 points in 34 games) or Chris Ford's 1972 season (also 17.9 -- he scored 500 points in 28 games). With the lack of inside scoring early for the Wildcats Reynolds may have a few early season opportunities to build a good ppg, but best outcomes for the team would be healthy point production from a number of squad members, both in the low post and out on the perimeter.

Milestones & Guide Posts
Even if he has at best a small chance of breaking or even getting close to Kerry Kittles' record, chances are excellent Scottie will pass the 2,000 point career mark and become only the eighth Villanovan in that exclusive club. Alan Ray joined the group in 2006, and Kerry Kittles before Ray. Needing 380 points, a point total Reynolds has exceeded in each of his three preceding seasons, expect (if he plays all games next season and averages 15-16 points per game -- his average currently is 15.2) Scottie to pass the 2,000 mark about 2/3s of the way through the Big East regular season -- sometime in the second/third week of February. For the counters -- if Scottie's ppg > 15.2, move the "record game" up; if his ppg < 15.2, move the "record game" back. In any event, should the Wildcats play 33 or more games in 2010 and should Scottie appear in all of them, he will have tied or broken the record for most games played, 138, shared by Gary Massey and Doug West (both 1985-89).

5 comments:

Villanova Ed '77 said...

GreyCat: Great analysis! I think Scottie has a good chance of breaking the record, but would not bet the ranch on it. Plain and simple, if Nova plays 38 games again next year, he needs to score 46 more points over those games, or a tad more than 1 point per game. The beginning of last year for Scottie could be characterized as "opportunity lost." He started slowly and required 15 games (until Jan 6 when he scored 40 points vs. Seton Hall) before he raised his average up to what would become his season average of 15.2 PPG. Over the course of the season, his game point total was less than his season average in 62%of the games, a phenomenon caused more by inconsistent shooting and matchup issues than volatility in minutes played. For Scotty to break the record, he will need to be more consistent in his shooting (i.e., drive more and rely less on the 3PT shot, particularly with Sutton, King and Cheeks available to pick up the slack on the perimiter). However, minutes will work against Scottie with so much talent coming in this year. IMHO, he breaks 2000, but falls short of the record.

stan said...

Hello greyCat.

In view of the personnel who left, and more importantly of the personnel we have coming in--how do you see the VU game changing if at all--and in this case how do you see Scotties game changing if at all? IE: Will Scottie get more minutes, the same minutes or less minutes than last year? Will he take less 3pt shots than he did last year, about the same or more? Or will he concentrate more on getting into the lane and driving to the tin-finishing and dishing?

Comparing Scottie to say, Johnny Flynn, Flynn scored 663 pts last year or 17.4/gm over 38 games to Scotties 578 pts or 15.2/gm over 38 games. Flynn averaged 37.3 min/game vs Scotties 32.2 min/game.
Flynn's 3 pt % wasn't as good as Scottie, but he took a hell of a lot less 3 pt. shots and more 2 pt shots.

Will it help Scotties NBA prospects to be more "Flynn" like with his game?

Your thoughts/comments would be appreciated.

greyCat said...

Hey Stan, funny you should ask about the "State of the Team" -- I am planning a post on that. It should be done and ready for posting sometime around the middle of October. The short answer is there are a lot of questions, but also -- potentially -- some very good answers. As for Scottie, there are a few elements I think we can count on for his senior season (good health is an important qualifier here)...

1. He will most likely average at least as many, probably more minutes per game than he did last season. But not many more...something like 0.5 - 1.0 more minutes. That would be consistent with a number of senior starters, though there are a few exceptions (Bump and Nardi come to mind, but Bump was displaced by Dante, and Mike had dings that eventually became dents).
2. Scottie's possessions and shots will probably not grow next season. He stayed between 24%-25% in both all season long (I check this when Villanova Ed '77 wrote that Scottie missed opportunities early in the season -- I was curious to see if he was missing shots, or just passing them on to teammates -- he was missing them). Scottie was consistent with his possessions and shots in his sophomore year too, again around 24-25%. His lack of accuracy shooting is offset by his assists (about 25% both his sophomore and junior years) and his ability to get to the free throw line (and knock down his FTAs once there). If his possessions & shots don't change much, he can put more points on the board only by shooting better. 2FGAs versus 3FGAs might be a good barometer for 2010.

I don't know what Scottie has to do to improve his chances of being drafted next June, but I don't think he has the same physical gifts as Flynn. Flynn is jet-fast and can hit the lane very quickly. Flynn has the ability to step back, creating enough space to shoot before his defender can react too, though his range is not quite that of Reynolds'. Scottie does not have that extra gear; he just scores. He has an ability to find the seam and get a shot off, even with a hand in his face or some physical contact. When I looked at his in/out stat (the degree to which he is an "inside" or "outside" player) I was surprised to see that even though 51.2% of his 2009 FGAs were 3s, his score was only -2.4 (very slightly "outside"). Anderson by contrast took only 45.3% of his FGAs from beyond the arc, but had an in/out score of -19.3. The difference was contact. Reynolds got to the line about once for every two FGAs he took. Scottie is smart, he received a ton of advice/evaluations throughout the workout process, and I for one am curious to see what changes that might bring to his game. We will see once he takes the floor. I know Scottie is one of those players who generates a lot of commentary, mostly negative, from fans. But after 3 seasons he still surprises me with his ability to drop baskets on Villanova's opponents. I don't know if you have seen Sean Donovan's highlight film, but there is a fast break in the Louisville game where Scottie does a 360 in the lane and scores. I laugh (involuntarily) every time I see it, even though I know it's coming. If this next season is like his first three, I will definitely miss him (I am fully prepared to enjoy watching him this season).

Back to the "can he" or "can't he" debate Villanova Ed '77 -- a faster start might help. The number to watch is ppg. If he is sporting a 17.9 or better ppg through the OOC, he might get there. I sent a note to Mike suggesting Scottie has a realistic chance of being only 1 of 3 (there are two right now) Villanova players to break 2,100 points. The number to watch is 16.0 ppg. If Scottie is tracking below that he may not make it, but if he is above it, the chances are excellent he push through 2,100 points before the end of the regular season. That would make him #3 on the all-time scoring list.

stan said...

Hello greyCat.

I can't wait to see that "State of the Team" post when it's done in October. And I appreciate your comments here.

You know, I was at that Louisville game (with neighbors who are originally from Ky BTW) but we were in a nosebleed section so I never fully appreciated Scottie's move. Now that you mentioned it I just watched it again. Quite incredible. Full blown transition, a fake step to the outside, a 360 spin and a reverse lay-up FINISH WITH THE LEFT HAND. No coach in America teaches that move. You either "got it OR you don't got it".

It certainly is going to be interesting to watch Scottie this year. I don't disagree with your characterization of Flynn. He was/is jet quick and could execute moves (step backs etc)and counter moves at lightning speed and smoothly if a defender did go with him. Scottie can do the same things just maybe not as lightning quick. Sometimes it's just a matter of practicing and doing. And sometimes it's better not to be too lightning quick. It is a good thing he went through that NBA draft thing, so he knows what he has to work on. And BTW, I think the reason Scottie got a few less minutes last year than Flynn is because we had more guard talent than Cuse.

Regarding that 2100 level and "two right now" who can break that level...I'm curious. Has that second player taken the court in a game yet? Or are you talking about Fisher?

greyCat said...

The "two" I was referring to have already scored more than 2,100 points during their Villanova careers. Kerry Kittles (1992-96) is highest scorer in program history with 2,243 points. Keith Herron (1974-78) is second with 2,170 points. #3 on the list is Bob Schafer (1951-55) who scored 2,094 points in his 4 years on the Mainline. Pretty rare company if you ask me.