Matt Humphrey, Patrick Heckmann and the Identity of Boston CollegePosted by KCarpenter on November 28th, 2011
Boston College does not have a good team this year. It’s likely to get better as the year goes on, but any amount of improvement is still likely to find the Eagles in the basement of the ACC. This weekend seems like it might be a microcosm of the rest of the season for BC: Friday saw the young team eke out an overtime win against equally woeful UC Riverside thanks to the heroic effort put forth by Patrick Heckmann and his 32 points on 13 shots scoring performance. Then, on Sunday, the team got blown out by New Mexico. Matt Humphrey led the way with a very inefficient 12 points on 18 shots. This looks to be the future of Boston College: Tough wins behind Heckmann or the team chucking up misses on the way to clear routs.
Heckmann’s early promise has been pointed out and analyzed before, so I’m not going to waste a lot of time talking about the clear-cut best player on the team. However, I will use him for the sake of comparison: So far this season, he has scored 69 points for his team on 38 shots. Humphrey, the second leading scorer, has scored 66 points. It has taken him a whopping 73 shots. In per game terms, Heckmann is taking 7.6 shots a game and making them at 47.4% rate. Humphrey is taking 12.2 shots a game and making them at a 27.4% rate. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that offense is being allocated inefficiently. This team needs to fall behind Heckmann, giving him more touches while simultaneously decreasing Humphrey’s role in the offense.
Now, I don’t want to say that Humphrey should be written off or metaphorically left for dead; I just think that his role should be decreased. While the folks at The Heights Sports maintain that there is a “Good Humph,” I think we have to reject this idea. While their might be a physique comparison to Kevin Martin, the two players are hardly alike in terms of results: Martin is a paragon of efficiency, mixing uncontested threes with drives to the hoop where he is inevitably fouled. In his two seasons at Oregon and in the early going, Humphrey has showed little to no signs that he can be an effective high volume player. In limited usage at Oregon, Humphrey still never managed to post over a 35.1% field goal percentage. He doesn’t get to the free throw line much, and has never posted more than a 62.5% mark from the charity stripe in any case. Humphrey was a role player at Oregon and he should be one at Boston College instead of the current player who routinely shoots the Eagles out of games.
So why hasn’t Heckmann already been given the leading role over Humphrey? Maybe it’s style. While Humphrey is happy to lean on the three like the prototypical Steve Donahue player, Heckmann takes three’s sparingly, preferring high-percentage forays to the rim and trips to the free throw line. It’s not the flavor of offensive efficiency Donahue may be used to, but it’s still an efficient way to score. The identity of the team is currently about an up-tempo three-point barrage, but right now this identity is hurting the team. Donahue has some real talent with Heckmann and if he wants Boston College to win more games, he needs to find out how to highlight the German and how to reconfigure the team’s offensive identity around him.