Hi friends. It's time we do a little something new, and a little something fun here at DWG, and that's celebrate my love of chuckers. Who doesn't love the guy who comes in the game for 11 minutes and gets up 15 shots, making 3? Who doesn't love the guard who thinks he has to do everything for his team and ends up with 7 assists and 90 turnovers on the season? It's annoying when you're playing with that guy at the park or the Y, it's maddening when he's on your team, but when it's an opposing player? Good freaking times, as anyone who remembers watching Morgan State's Reggie Holmes will remember.
To quickly recap, Holmes played four years at shooting guard for Morgan State and lived up to the position's name. He averaged 15.4 points per game in his career, including 21.4 his senior season. He did this while shooting a dismal 38% from the floor over those four years, which yes, means he shot the ball a shit load - 15.8 times per game his senior year and 12.1 over his career, good enough to finish 3rd All-Time in career MEAC shot attempts after finishing top 3 in each of his final three years. He topped it off by refusing to pass, putting up just 76 career assists in four seasons for a whopping 0.6 per game average. This versus 156 turnovers which is actually a really good number for someone who handled the ball that much but it looks silly compared to his assist number. Reggie Holmes might have been the most perfect chucker ever. We're looking for the next one.
This season I'll be doing a ranking each week of the top chuckers. I haven't decided if it'll be a week-to-week thing or a running season long ranking, but likely it will be a blend of both. I also was trying to come up with some kind of chucker formula, but I realized it's the kind of thing you can't really define, you just know it when you see it - like a penguin. Anyway, there are four things that go into making a really good chucker, in descending order of importance:
1. Takes a ton of shots. A ton. It doesn't matter if the guy plays 35 minutes or 10, it's all about how many times you can jack that pill towards the goal.
2. Is a terrible shooter. Someone who shoots a ton but makes a respectable amount is just a good player. It's gotta be someone who just clangs clangs clangs bricks all over the place who makes you say geez we should gather up all these bricks and build a shelter for the homeless so your mother has a place to stay tonight. Seriously, I want your mother and sister out of my house.
3. Hates passing. Yogi Ferrell shoots the ball like a chucker, but he ruins the whole thing by passing a lot (and actually he's a little too accurate throwing the ball in the direction of the hoop to really qualify). You need a guy who feels a little bit physically ill when he gives up the ball. If you see a guy refuse to pass out of a double team in a situation where the other team is trying to foul because he wants those free throws and those precious, precious points you may be looking at a primo chucker.
4. Turns the ball over a lot. This is the least important of the four, but it still counts. A lot of chuckers don't turn the ball over much because they basically shoot it before they catch it, and most chuckers love that ball more than their mother so they're loathe to give it up to an opponent (or a teammate). But there are others who rack up the TOs by trying to dribble through people or make fancy stupid passes. Those guys are sweet.
It's rare to find someone who hits all four but we're going to try.
So in this preview I'm going to cover your potential top chuckers in the Big Ten. Although the power rankings will cover all of college basketball I'm just going to do our favorite conference here because seriously there are a lot of teams in D-I.
I looked all the players last year and dug out those who took more than 20% of their team's shots when they were on the floor (so more than their share) and who put up an effective field goal percentage of less than 50% (metric to smooth in 3-pointers since 50% from 2 and 33% from 3 are equivalent). I didn't use true shooting percentage since it folds in free throws and I don't want to miss out on someone good/bad who shoots 95% from the line or something. Plus most chuckers are good free throwers because they want all the points, and those are good ways to get easy points.
So without further ado, here are my top candidates for B10 Chucker of the Year Award.
1. TRE DEMPS, Northwestern (26.3% shots, 45.7 eFG%). Nearly a perfect chucker, with that great chucker mentality that he can make every shot, no shot is a bad shot, and that his range is infinity (note: it's actually less than that). With Drew Crawford gone there'll be even more shots available for him to poach. If he can push his shot rate to 30% and continue to convert at the same levels the award is his for the taking. The prohibitive favorite to win.
BEST GAME LY: 5pts on 1-10 shooting (0-5 from 3) with 2 assists and 2 turnovers vs. Penn State.
2. JOHN JOHNSON, Penn State (22.6% shots, 45.6% eFG%). He transferred into Penn State last year from Pitt with a reputation as a shooter, and though he shot plenty when he was on the court he didn't shoot well, hitting just 32% from three and 44% from two. With Tim Frazier gone he should see a few more minutes, and though he shot more twos than threes last year (69 vs. 66) hopefully he'll take on more of the perimeter shooting burden and throw up a bunch of bricks.
BEST GAME LY: 3pts on 1-8 shooting with 2 assists and 2 turnovers vs. Siena.
3. MARC LOVING, Ohio State (23.2% shots, 43.2% eFG%). He's a bit under the radar since he played just 11 minutes per game last year, but those chucker statistics are sweet. With LaQuinton Ross (31% of shots), Lenzelle Smith (23%), and Aaron Craft (15%) gone there are a whole lot of shots available this season. The Buckeyes have a lot of other talent, both returning and new, so there's no guarantee he morphs into a chucker supreme, but here's hoping he decides he needs to be THE MAN and does just that.
BEST GAME LY: No one game stands out since his minutes were so limited, but he did go on an 0-12 three pointer streak mid-conference spanning 14 games.
4. BRYSON SCOTT, Purdue (23.1% shots, 37.4% eFG%). Purdue is an interesting case seeing as they had six players last year who fit the chucker criteria (which explains why they were so terrible). The good news is three of those six are now gone, so somebody is going to be a fixture in the chucker rankings and the best bet is Scott and his horrendous 36% 2-point field goal percentage. He didn't shoot many threes last year (just 13) and hit a respectable 39%, so here's hoping he decides to shoot more and does it more poorly. That eFG% is a thing of beauty, worst among all the qualified chuckers last season.
BEST GAME LY: 13pts on 4-13 shooting with 3 assists and 5 turnovers vs. Washington State
5. RAYVONTE RICE, Illinois (28.2% shots, 48.1% eFG%). I don't love having him on here since he does so much for that team, but his chucker numbers are fantastic, not to mention a pathetically low assist rate for a guard who has the ball in his hands so much (11%, 1.5 per game). With all the talent the Illini have already and the 3 new key pieces there might be too many mouths to feed for a true chucker to emerge, but I have faith that his chuckerish instincts will prevail. It's really too bad Tracy Abrams blew out his knee, because he had even better numbers (24% shots, 38% eFG%). That's one to stash away for your chucker keeper league.
BEST GAME LY: 19pts on 7-21 (1-5 on threes) shooting with 1 turnover vs. Wisconsin, or 8pts on 2-11 (1-4 on threes) shooting with 2 assists and 2 turnovers vs. Northwestern, or 10 points on 3-13 (1-5 threes) shooting with 1 assist and 2 turnovers vs. Nebraska.
6. PETER JOK, Iowa (25.1% shots, 48.4% eFG%). Another off the bench chucker, but this one doesn't have as clear a path to more playing time since Iowa's guards are all back so he'll have to do his damage in a limited time - which he can. Twice last season he had more field goal attempts than minutes played in a game, which is both terrifying and admirable.
BEST GAME LY: 3pts on 1-6 shooting (1-4 from 3) in 5 minutes (5 minutes!) vs. Villanova.
7. DRE HOLLINS, Minnesota (24.7% shots, 47.0% eFG%). Don't pretend like this can't happen, I mean look at those chucker stats - they're legit. Last year Hollins got a bit too comfy shooting jumpers instead of trying to get to the rim, and though it's easy to believe it was mostly injury related, what if it wasn't? What if he decides to let Mathieu and Mason do the driving and he just wants to fire away from the outisde? He finished out the year (last 6 games) 14-63, which is 22%, and put up some chuckeriffic games in that stretch. I hope he falls off this list quickly.
BEST GAME LY: 8pts on 2-14 shooting (2-7 from 3) with no assists and 2 turnovers vs. Wisconsin
8. TRAVIS TRICE (18.4% shots, 54.8% eFG%) or DENZEL VALENTINE (16.9% shots, 48.9% eFG%), Michigan State. Keith Appling, Adreian Payne, and Gary Harris are all gone which means someone has to step up offensively and both the freshmen and most of the returnees are pretty meh. There are three clear guys who need to have big years and that's Trice, Valentine, and Branden Dawson. Dawson is too efficient to end up on this list so it's either going to be Trice or Valentine. Neither qualified last year under my completely arbitrary criteria, but the team dynamic is so different I have faith one of these two is going to become a trainwreck. Smart money is on Valentine since he just seems more likely to become overconfident, but it's pretty close to 50/50. OMG what if it's both? That would be awesome, as Chris Farley once said.
BEST GAMES LY: Trice - not a high volume shooter, but 0pts on 0-5 shooting (0-3 from 3) with 2 assists and 3 turnovers in just 16 minutes vs. Georgetown shows some potential. Valentine - also not high volume last year, but I do like his 3pts on 1-6 shooting (1-5 from 3) with 4 assists and 5 turnovers vs. Illinois game.
9. STANFORD ROBINSON, Indiana (22.6% shots, 45.8 eFG%). Yogi Ferrell is gonna shoot a ton because Yogi be Yogi and Crean be Crean and there's a bunch of other talent on the perimeter coming in so he could be squeezed for minutes, but Robinson has some real potential, especially if he shoots more threes (3-16 last year). He shoots more twos than I'd like (149 vs. 16) and is a little too efficient (48%), hence the low rating, but getting suspended for failing a drug test is a good start to the year. I don't know that drugs and chucking correlate, but it seems like it's probably not a bad sign.
BEST GAME LY: 0pts on 0-7 shooting with 2 assists and 3 turnovers vs. Purdue. No one should have had their worst game (best game) vs. Purdue last year.
10. TERRAN PETTAWAY, Nebraska (32% shots, 48.2% eFG%). Seems pretty silly to have him here given he's a top candidate for player of the year in the conference, but it's hard to ignore that shot % number of 32%, which is the kind of number usually reserved for small conference stars. The only major conference guys with a higher shot % last year were Marshall Henderson (maybe the best chucker in history) and Jabari Parker (just dominated the ball, but efficiently). Nebraska's rotation should be relatively unchanged this season, but the guys lost did shoot a ton so it's possible Pettaway takes his shot percentage number into another stratosphere. Considering most of his value comes from his scoring if he has a bad shooting year man it could be epic.
BEST GAME LY: 13pts on 5-18 shooting (1-6 from 3) with 3 assists and 3 turnovers vs. Illinois.
This is gonna be great.