Morning Five: Christmas Day 2013 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 25th, 2013


  1. Since we are essentially at the end of non-conference play it seems like a reasonable time to assess some of the top freshmen in the country. We do this with the understanding that players can improve drastically in the second half of the year. It goes without saying that the most criticized member of this freshmen class–Andrew Wiggins–is also its most hyped member. As Peter Bukowski points out, some of that is due to Wiggins’ reluctance to take over games like he (presumably) can. When Wiggins has asserted himself (admittedly too infrequently for most people’s taste) he has shown the skill that still puts him at or very close to the top of every draft board out there. As for the rest of the top freshmen, they all have basically been as advertised.
  2. Taking a step back from all of the NBA Draft talk, Kelli Anderson has been taking a look at the top candidates for this season’s Wooden Award. Although her list of candidates is not particularly remarkable, she does raise some interesting points about Marcus Smart‘s development. Smart’s point guard numbers (assists and turnovers) have been unremarkable as they do not show much change from last season, but Smart has shown growth in his ability to control the flow of the game more by himself rather than with the assistance of his coaches. While Travis Ford and other Smart supporters may have a point in today’s era of advanced metrics, Smart might need to show more statistical improvement before getting others to buy into him as a next level prospect along the lines of a Wiggins or Parker.
  3. There is a tendency for many people to view the holidays as a time for celebration, but for others it is also a time for reflection. According to Mike DeCourcy the latter is something that new USC coach Andy Enfield has been doing recently. Enfield made national headlines as the affable coach of the Florida Gulf Coast team that captured the nation’s attention with Dunk City and leveraged those two wins into a better job at USC. Since arriving at USC things have not gone that smoothly for Enfield most notably with his comments that were published in Men’s Journal that set off a verbal then nearly physical war with Tim Floyd. Although we were more cautious on Enfield than most after his two-game stretch, we are aware of his ability to coach and hope he can use the lessons he learned over the past few months to make USC into the legitimate program that it should be.
  4. By now you have probably seen quite a few variations of the “Can Wichita State go undefeated?” columns. As usual Ken Pomeroy has a slightly different take on it. Unlike other Pomeroy posts this one is based on a statistical fallacy as it looks at when the Shockers are likely to lose their first game based on how many games they have already won. The real utility of the charts are to look at how much Wichita State’s chances of going undefeated (at least for the regular season) improve when they get through specific tough stretches. At any rate, if the Shockers can build on their current undefeated record this might be useful to look at to figure out just how long they might go undefeated.
  5. As you can imagine yesterday was a slow day for college basketball news, but it also allowed us to catch up on some stuff that we normally would not have gotten around to. One of those things was an excellent longform piece by Alexander Wolff exploring the world of 3-on-3 basketball. Most of us know 3-on-3 as a practice drill or more often a pick-up game, which is often devoid of rules, but the world that Wolff explores is one of FIBA-governed tournaments and individuals seeking inclusion in the Olympic Games. Now we don’t see the Olympics happening or it even becoming a NCAA sport since there would be too many issues with cannibalizing the current offering, but it is an interesting read into a different basketball culture.
nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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