Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Freshman Point Guard Comparison

While it will be nice to have a few more months of Dick Vitale free basketball on ESPN, he's certainly not the only thing wrong with their hoops coverage. Their fixation on certain teams and conferences shows an obvious bias and definitely skews their objectivity. Their constant talk of certain members of this year's freshman class is no different.

Take a look at the stats for 3 freshmen point guards below. One of them is a guard who you probably know all about, as the talking heads on ESPN wax poetic about him incessantly. Another is a guard you’ve probably heard of if you follow SEC basketball. The other you may not have heard of even if you do follow SEC basketball. Tell me - based on these stats - which one deserves all the hype, while the others get little to none...

Ok, enough with the suspense… Guard A is Florida’s Nick Calathes, Guard B is Memphis’ Derrick Rose, and Guard C is Ole Miss’ Chris Warren. I understand that Memphis is the best team of those 3 – Florida lost nearly everyone of consequence off their back-to-back title teams and Ole Miss is still recovering from the Rod Barnes era – but when you compare player to player, there’s very little difference in any of the three.

So, you tell me, based on season stats, what has Derrick Rose done to be deemed “one of the best freshman guards in America” and Calathes and Warren haven’t? The teams are a combined 26-1 and Ole Miss is the lowest ranked team at #32 in the new polls. I’m sure it has nothing to do with ESPN picking Memphis #1 in their rankings or that Memphis (justifiably) is on the family of ESPN networks more than Florida and Ole Miss combined.

I’ve seen very little to justify Rose’s hype. He’s remarkably strong and tall for a guard of any age, but he’s no outside threat at all. The majority of his points come inside the paint and from the foul line. As the season wears on, teams are really going to start playing off of him and making him prove he can shoot the ball.

That’s not to say he isn’t the best player of the 3 of them. He’s certainly got the best chance for a pro career, as Warren is listed at 5’10 and Calathes is a bean pole at 6’6, but only 185. Neither comes close to the strength packed into Rose’s 6’4, 195 frame. My argument is that Rose has done no more to distinguish himself as a top freshman than Warren and Calathes have. If he has, please feel free to comment or email me to let me know...

**UPDATE: 8:30 PM CST (12/19)** Okay... so just hours after I posted this, Rose scores 26 points, including 5 3s. He looked great for the most part tonight, but his 6/5 A/TO ratio still needs improving. That said, his updated numbers still don't put him significantly ahead of Calathes and Warren for season stats.

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