Monday, January 15, 2018

Oklahoma Surges to #4 Behind Trae Young; Ohio State Star Deserves 1st Team All-American Status So Far


On this MLK Day, Villanova receives 63 of 65 votes in the new AP Top 25 on the strength of the two best players in the Big East listed in the post above. However, Oklahoma surges to No. 4 behind two more dominant performances against ranked teams (TCU and Texas Tech) by Trae Young. While the No. 1 spot in the AP poll has rotated between teams, Value Add Basketball calculates the Player of the Year race so far is a blowout - with Young ahead of where Seth Curry was at Davidson and rivaling Anthony Davis as the best college player of the century in all-time ratings that go back to the year before Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade took Syracuse and Marquette to the Final Four.

Here are the Top 25 players, ranked by how many points per game they improve their team over what a replacement player would do. The fastest riser in this ranking is Keita Bates-Diop, who has been the most valuable player on the court in 11 straight games according to www.kenpom.com and as of today should give the Ohio State Buckeyes a 1st Team All-American. You can click here to sort all 4,090 players this season by conference or the two teams you are watching in a game, or simply look up names to see where your favorite players rank. Email or call 404.606.3163 with any questions.

Rank Player Ht Team VA5D Class
1Trae Young6'2"Oklahoma12.93Fr
2Deandre Ayton7'1"Arizona10.98Fr
3Jevon Carter6'2"West Virginia10.84Sr
4Keita Bates-Diop6'7"Ohio St.10.78Jr
5Jock Landale6'11"Saint Mary's10.55Sr
6Jalen Brunson6'2"Villanova10.43Jr
7Yante Maten6'8"Georgia10.27Sr
8Marvin Bagley6'11"Duke10.12Fr
9Gary Clark6'8"Cincinnati9.9Sr
10Luke Maye6'8"North Carolina9.79Jr
11Devonte' Graham6'2"Kansas9.57Sr
12Dean Wade6'10"Kansas St.9.52Jr
13Mikal Bridges6'7"Villanova9.51Jr
14Keenan Evans6'3"Texas Tech9.21Sr
15Dewan Huell6'11"Miami FL9.19So
16Tookie Brown5'11"Georgia Southern9.07Jr
17Devon Hall6'5"Virginia9.05Sr
18Donte Grantham6'8"Clemson9.02Sr
19Garrison Mathews6'5"Lipscomb8.96Jr
20CJ Massinburg6'3"Buffalo8.65Jr
21Bonzie Colson6'6"Notre Dame8.48Sr
22Kenrich Williams6'7"TCU8.43Sr
23Nick King6'7"Middle Tennessee8.41Sr
24Dakota Mathias6'4"Purdue8.39Sr
25Juwan Morgan6'7"Indiana8.29Jr

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Arizona, Duke and Oklahoma Freshmen Best Value Add Trio in History


Year-after-year the Value Add calculations show Freshman are vastly overrated - until this year when three of the top 6 players in the country are freshman (see 247 story). Only 10 other freshman finished in the top six in the first 17 years of Value Add basketball combined:

YearRankFreshman in Top 6 POYTeamValue Add v5.0 Pts/GameConf
2018    1Trae Young #11Oklahoma12.62B12
2018    2Deandre Ayton #13Arizona11.07P12
2018    6Marvin Bagley #35Duke10.10ACC
2016    3Ben Simmons 25Louisiana St.9.88SEC
2015    2Karl-Anthony Towns 12Kentucky12.50SEC
2012    1Anthony DavisKentucky13.81SEC
2012    5Cody ZellerIndiana9.50B10
2011    4Jared SullingerOhio St.10.40B10
2008    1Michael BeasleyKansas St.13.25B12
2008    2Kevin LoveUCLA12.08P10
2007    1Kevin DurantTexas12.04B12
2007    4Mike ConleyOhio St.9.86B10
2004    3Chris PaulWake Forest10.97ACC

Chris Paul of Wake Forest was the only freshman to finish in the top 6 while stars could skip college completely to enter the NBA Draft (2002-2006). Paul improved Wake Forest by 10.97 points per game, more than enough to deliver narrow NCAA victories over VCU and Manhattan to take Wake Forest to the Sweet 16, and to defeat eventual Final Four teams Duke and Georgia Tech.

Deandre Ayton improved to No. 2 in the rankings after being the MVP in seven of Arizona's last nine games according to www.kenpom.com, with his 11.07 points above replacement to deliver the winning margin over Arizona State, Texas A&M, Alabama and at Utah during the 8-1 run.

With Trae Young still the best in the country, though not of the century after West Virginia's stifling defense knocked him down to 12.62 a points per game Value Add (points above replacement), this marks the only season except for 2008 when freshmen Michael Beasley of Kansas State and Kevin Love of UCLA finished in the top two spots.

However, this season tops even 2008 as the only season in which three of the top six are freshman, due to Marvin Bagley, who CBS Sports Reid Forgrave pegs as the top pick in this summer's NBA draft. Bagley rested a total of three minutes in Duke's first three ACC games to surge up the rankings.

Over the years many future NBA players showed their potential as freshman, but generally make so many freshmen mistakes (turnovers, poor shot selection, defensive liabilities, etc.) that their overall value is not as great as more disciplined juniors and seniors. So far, the three best freshman look like the exception as the get in their one season before all going as lottery picks in the 2018 NBA Draft.

You can sort all 4,175 players by conference, class or team at www.valueaddbasketball.com and pull up stories at www.pudnersports.com or on this 247 site, part of the network greatly improved since CBS Sports took over.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Irony: Georgia Rally Prevents Oklahoma Duo From Overtaking Tebow-Horford for Greatest of Century


Thanks to the Georgia Bulldogs' Rose Bowl performance, Florida's 2007 combo of Tim Tebow and Al Horford (or Joakim Noah) still stake a claim as the greatest football-basketball duo of the century. Ironic since Georgia was also the only team to ever hold Tebow to negative yards rushing in his 55 college football games.

Monday Georgia's defense held Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield to a season-low 64.0 Quarterback Rating, well below his nation leading 92.6 which led to him becoming one of only five players this century to take over 80 percent of the Heisman Trophy votes. Coupled with the fact that Oklahoma's Trae Young now leads the nation with a ridiculous 13.17 Value Add basketball rating, which would make him the only freshman to ever be more than two points a game better than any of the other 4,000 college basketball players, indicates that Mayfield and Young give Oklahoma the most dominant football-basketball duo of any school this century.

On the football side, some claim Tebow as the greatest college football player either, but only 52.4% (462 of 881) Heisman Trophy voters thought he was even the best player for a season. By contrast, based on Heisman votes Mayfield is one of the five most dominant players of the century.

RnkBest Football of CenturyHeismanYearRunner-Up
1Troy Smith, Ohio State91.0%2006Darren McFadden, Arkansas
2Marcus Mariota, Oregon88.5%2014Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
3Reggie Bush, USC87.9%2005Vince Young, Texas
4Cam Newton, Auburn82.6%2010Andrew Luck, Stanford
5Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma82.5%2017Bryce Love, Stanford

If Mayfield's dominant first half performance (360 yards of team offense) and the 17 points lead held up, he would seem to have a clear edge over Tebow's best season. However, Georgia's ability to cut the Sooners' to fewer than half as many yards after half time as Mayfield struggled to get passes over a tough rush contrasts with Tebow following up his Heisman with a 2008 National Championship during which he delivered on his famous vow after a loss to Mississippi to not lose again.

Which leads to the second half of the equation, the fact that if you were walking around the Oklahoma campus this year or the Florida campus in 2007, you might see both one of the greatest football players and one of the greatest basketball players of the century.

When Oklahoma's Trae Young torched No. 10 TCU on the road this weekend for 39 points and 14 assists in a one-point win, he continued a domnance of college basketball that has not been seen yet this century. His Value Add rating indicates that the Sooner's basketball team is 13.17 points better per game with him than if a replacement player needed to take his place, and that makes him 2.14 points better than the second best player in America (Jevon Carter of West Virginia at 11.03). If this rating holds up, Young would be the first freshman to ever be more than two points better than anyone else in the country:

RnkBest Hoops of CenturyValue Add > 2ndYearRunner-Up
1Trae Young , Oklahoma2.142018Jevon Carter, West Virginia
2Kevin Durant, Texas1.822007Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
3Shelden Williams, Duke1.432006JJ Redick, Duke
4Anthony Davis, Kentucky1.382012Jae Crowder, Marquette
5Michael Beasley, K-State1.172008Kevin Love, UCLA

The next best football-basketball combo of the century would be Tebow and either Horford or Noah from the 2007 Florida Gators that made it two championships in a row the year Tebow took the Heisman. We will not know the Wooden Award vote until April, but right now Young would likely be a lopsided winner like Mayfield was on the football side. Noah was voted the 7th best player in 2007, while Horford was the third draft pick behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the same spot Young is projected to go. Noah reached as high as 10th in the historic Value Add, Horford 20th.

So just as Mayfield was more dominant based on the Heisman vote, Young is now more dominant than either Horford or Noah.

Statistically, Oklahoma's duo is the best of the century based on the dominance demonstrated in Heisman voting for football and Value Add basketball ratings for basketball. The overwhelming Heisman Trophy vote for Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, coupled with new Value Add Basketball Rankings showing Oklahoma's Trae Young as the best basketball player of the century so far, give the Sooners a chance to challenge Florida's Tim Tebow and Al Horford as the greatest football-basketball duo of the century.

However, the odds are still long against Young and his Sooners' (or any one specific team) emerging with a national title in March Madness.

So despite the case you can make that Young and Mayfield are actually the more dominant duo, the fact that Horford (with Noah) or vice versa delivered the Gators basketball titles in 2006 and 2007, while Tebow's football teams (albeit with him as a back-up the first year) delivered the football title in 2006, will still lead defenders of the Gators' duo as the greatest of the century to fall back on the hillarious exchange from the movie Bad Teacher (see clip here):

  • Student (Sean): LeBron has more rebounds and more assists.
  • Teacher: Will you listen to me! Call me when LeBron has six championships!
  • Student: Is that the only argument you have.
  • Teacher: It's the only argument I need Sean!


For Gators' fans, the four championships may feel the only argument they need is the four national title delivered to campus from 2006 to 2008. And for that, they can thank their rival Bulldogs for letting Mayfield leave for the NFL without a title.