Minnesota: Stealing Is Not The Answer

Minnesota: Stealing Is Not The Answer

You know, my first year at FIU we were top ten in the country in steals. We certainly were not that last year. I think that number will go up…” – Richard Pitino at Big Ten Media Day

In fact, the Gophers had the 23rd best steal rate among 351 D-I teams (including teams transitioning in). Only Ohio State, who boasted one of the nation’s best defenses, was better among conference peers.” – LateNightHoops.com

Head coach Richard Pitino has talked about more steals as a way to improve the 2014-15 Gophers, but the Gophers aren’t likely to improve their defense much by creating more steals. Last season was already very good and the team’s top thief has graduated (Austin Hollins).
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Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part IV: Turnovers

Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part IV: Turnovers

On Offense…
Turnover percentage in 2013-14 was down throughout college basketball, dropping to 18.3% from 20.0% a year earlier. The decline is largely attributable to the increase in fouls called by referees.

So, while Minnesota’s improvement in offensive turnover percentage was good last season, it wasn’t as remarkable as it may initially appear.

Minn D-I % Diff
2013-14 18.1% 18.3% -1%
2012-13 21.5% 20.0% 8%

 

The Gophers turned the ball over at about the same rate as the average D-I team this past year. In Tubby Smith’s last run with Minnesota, the squad’s turnover percentage was 21.5%, or 8% higher than the D-I average.
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Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part III: Defensive eFG%

Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part III: Defensive eFG%

The Gophers had a defensive eFG% of 48.7% (vs. D-I opponents) in 2013-14, the program’s worst since Dan Monson’s last full season in Minneapolis.

Looking both at last year and what it means to the future, there are good and bad indicators. We’ll explore a few of them in this article.

Minnesota’s 42.8% defensive 2FG% will rise significantly this season. Big, big concern and a key indicator for this team.” – LateNightHoops.com, preseason 2013-14

The bad news is that our projection quoted above was spot-on. Minnesota’s 2FG% shot up to 47.1% from 42.8%. The chart below illustrates the trend over the past six seasons.

2FG Chart

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2015 Big Jonathan Nwankwo Commits to Minnesota

2015 Big Jonathan Nwankwo Commits to Minnesota
Scholarship Table Updated

2015 C/PF Jonathan Nwankwo, 6’9″, 245 pounds, committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers today while on his official visit.

He’s a New Yorker who plans to play this season in Florida at Victory Rock Prep. The relationship between him and the Gophers goes back more than a year. As was the case with fellow 2015 commits Dupree McBrayer and Kevin Dorsey, the pledge to Minnesota was not a surprise.

With 5th year seniors Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker finishing their careers before next summer, Nwankwo will have an opportunity to earn minutes both as a center and power forward.

He’s a big, strong kid who can help rebound and defend (so long as he keeps fouls in check) early on. How well he progresses with the ball in his hands is up to him and the staff. The potential is there to be a quality player for Pitino.

Following is an updated scholarship table:

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2015 Dupree McBrayer Commits to Minnesota; ’14 Diedhiou out

2015 Dupree McBrayer Commits to Minnesota

The scholarship table has been updated and is included at the end of these notes. This commitment is not at all a surprise and we’ve long thought he’d wind up a Gopher. Nonetheless, McBrayer is a very good addition to the program.

  • The 6’4″ lefty guard may grow a bit taller despite already being 19.
  • He’s been at various high schools and needs to finalize a decision on his prep school for this year. Vermont Academy, where rising sophomore Daquein McNeil attended, is a strong possibility.
  • Talented and exciting scorer. He can put on a show and wow the crowd.
  • Capable of bringing the ball up the court, but figures to play off the ball on offense. Not a lot of physical strength, but his size should enable him to defend multiple positions (1, 2 and 3).
  • LNH last saw him in person a few weeks ago in Vegas where he played with New Heights. Gopher assistant Kimani Young was the director of the New Heights organization and a consistent spectator at McBrayer’s games.
  • Dupree was impressive when viewed live. However, he had at least 2 years on most of the competition. How much did he benefit from the age advantage is a relevant question.
  • Minnesota will now have two big  guards/wings who are aggressive scorers in Zach Lofton and Dupree McBrayer. The 2015-16 Gophers will be able to unleash a mean attack on opposing defenses.

8/26/14 edit: Not a surprise, but Gaston Diedhiou is not expected to join the program this fall. Based on the roster makeup we do not see this as a significant issue. The scholarship table below includes Diedhiou, but most likely he will never join the program. Thus, the Gophers still have 3 “open slots” for new scholarship players in 2015 after the McBrayer commit.

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Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part II: Offensive eFG%

Gophers 2013-14 Recap Part II: Offensive eFG%

There are thousands of angles to consider when talking about the topic of Minnesota’s eFG%. Today we’ll share a select few.

Often you’ll hear people, including traditional media, talk about a player’s field goal percentage when describing their game. “Player X shoots 44% from the field – that’s pretty good for a guard,” they might say.

The problem with such statements is that there’s not enough information provided to make such a claim. When evaluating how well a player or team shoots the ball, we must give (among other data) effective field goal percentage proper attention.

When looking at a team’s eFG%, the first things to understand are the basics – and the basics do not include overall FG%. The components of eFG% are: 2FG%, 3FG% and 3FG/FGA. In other words: At what rate does a team convert 2-point and 3-point attempts, respectively, and what is the mix of shot attempts between 2-point and 3-point attempts?
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2014 Nike Global Challenge Statistics

2014 Nike Global Challenge Statistics

This year’s Nike Global Challenge finished today. Schedule and game results can be found at NikeGlobalChallenge.com. Attached is a summary compilation of team and player stats, including traditional and advanced statistics for each player.

Open/Download: 2014 Nike Global Challenge Summary Book

The pace was hot (91 poss / 40 minute game) and 2-point attempts were converted at a strong 53.9% rate, but  we saw some poor outside shooting.

Teams shot sub-30% 3FG% (the U.S. teams had a lower 3FG% than the international teams)  and some big names were among the worst, including Malik Monk (1/19 for 5%) and Antonio Blakeney (3/23 for 13%).

Advanced stat studs include: Noah Dickerson, Stephen Zimmerman, Jalen Brunson, Edrice Adebayo, Tyler Davis, Chris Clarke, Khalea Turner, Esa Ahmad, Omari Spellman and Dedric Lawson.

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adidas Nations 2014 Advanced Stats

adidas Nations 2014 Advanced Stats

Busy time for us at LNH, but plenty of analysis going on behind the scenes. A quick share today is a PDF with advanced statistics for the U.S. teams at the 2014 adidas Nations event.

The statistics are consistent with what we thought we saw in some cases: Dennis Smith was excellent; Maverick Rowan continues to impress; Dwayne Bacon is 100% legit.

Some statistics highlight areas you may not have noticed or read elsewhere: Thon Maker’s turnover rate was the worst among on the court for at least 30% of their team’s minutes; Jalen Adams wasn’t far behind.

Questions or comments? Email us at latenighthoops@latenighthoops.com.

adidas Nations 2014 Summary Book

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