Thursday, March 31, 2005

Taking a Look Back (part 2) -- NC State

Statistical leaders on per-minute basis in '04-'05 (departing seniors in bold):

Pts/40 min

1) Julius Hodge -- 19.6
2) Cam Bennerman -- 16.5
3) Andrew Brackman -- 15.8
4) Jordan Collins -- 14.8
5) Ced Simmons -- 14.0

Rebs/40 Min

1) Julius Hodge -- 7.6
2) Andrew Brackman -- 7.6
3) Ced Simmons -- 7.4
4) Gavin Grant -- 7.2
5) Tony Bethel -- 6.0

Ast/40 Min

1) Julius Hodge -- 5.5
2) Tony Bethel -- 3.9
3) Gavin Grant -- 3.5
4) Engin Atsur -- 3.0
5) Ilian Evtimov -- 2.7

Turnover Rate (TOV/Indiv Poss)

1) Engin Atsur -- 15.3%
2) Andrew Brackman -- 15.9%
3) Jordan Collins -- 16.0%
4) Levi Watkins -- 16.6%
5) Julius Hodge -- 16.6%
9) Evtimov -- 24.2%

Hodge's numbers impress me every time I look at them. No one category is spectacular; Hodge is just good across the board. Hodge's leadership in several major categories says a lot about Hodge, but it may also say some (negative) things about the team in general.

Hodge is obviously the team's most productive scorer per 40 minutes, and senior Jordan Collins is no slouch either. Can the other guys pick up the slack? It would be immensely beneficial to the team if Ilian Evtimov and Engin Atsur could pick up their scoring. Those two had some big games, but too often they disappeared from the scoreboard for long stretches. That's easier to overcome when those guys are playing secondary roles (as they were this past season), but with Hodge departing, those two are going to take on something closer to a primary role.

When two positions on the court don't do much damage while at the same time logging a lot of minutes, that's going to hurt the offensive unit. I think it's clear that Ev and Atsur can't be primary options, but they may be forced into that role anyway...and that's trouble.

Replacing Hodge's rebounding shouldn't be much of an issue. While Julius was the best rebounder on the team, he wasn't markedly better than his teammates, and they should be able to account for Hodge's absense without a problem. I expect Brackman and Simmons to become better rebounders as they mature. Furthermore, two of NC State's incoming freshmen are forwards, and while they aren't low post guys in the traditional sense, they bring some extra height to the roster.

Hodge also had the market cornered on dimes, but this is partially because of all the touches he got on the offensive end. In Herb Sendek's quote-unquote positionless offense, there aren't likely to be standouts in this category unless a player handles the ball as much as Hodge did. Engin Atsur is the only returning player who is on both the Ast/40 and TO Rate lists. His steady hand looks impressive, though you should remember that Atsur used only about 15% of the team's possessions while he was in the game (lowest figure on the roster).

I'd like to see Evtimov, Grant and Bethel improve their TO Rates (all three boast rates above 20%...Grant's rate is above 26%). In Evtimov's case, it probably won't happen (simply because of the nature of his role in the offense), but I do expect better from the others.