Back In Time
2000-2001: the darkest days of the Herb Sendek era. After the Wolfpack came so close to making the NCAAs in 2000, it wasn't possible to see 2001 as anything other than a step in the wrong direction.
I thought it might be interesting to re-examine that team...
(Definitions for these statistics are here if you need them. I would also recommend the numerous primers I have linked in the sidebar.)
Ron Kelley wasn't healthy--he had knee surgery during the season--and it shows. When I first saw his offensive rating, I went into my spreadsheet and double-checked all the formulas to make sure everything was being calculated properly. Kelley was the basketball equivalent of an out machine. Not only did he shoot poorly in 2001, he also turned the ball over like crazy. Ron Kelley, Possession Killer.
The last time he managed a full season (1999), he was a valuable part of the offense. Injuries completely derailed his last two years in Raleigh:
Year / O Rtg / eFG% / %Min
1999 / 105 / 51.9 / 56.6
2000 / 90 / 46.3 / 40.5
2001 / 85 / 45.3 / 37.2
His FT% and turnover rate also worsened each subsequent year. The unfortunate thing from the team's perspective was that his usage stayed above 20% despite his decline. He played fewer and fewer minutes as his production dipped, but when he was on the court, he got the ball as much as anyone else. As you can see from the table, he led the 2001 team in usage (%Poss). More of his touches should have gone to Inge and Grundy. It wouldn't have hurt him to kick the ball out a little more; he had seven assists all season. Cedric Simmons averaged four times as many assists per 40 minutes.
Grundy was serviceable as the team's primary option, and he became exceptional in 2002, upping his usage and his efficiency.
This was a good offensive rebounding team, and it's easy to see why: the forwards all had offensive rebounding percentages near or above 10%. Thornton was the only guy who was also a really good defensive rebounder, though.
A significant part of Kenny Inge's value was his ability to get to the free throw line. His free throw rate would have led the nation in 2006. That, plus a decent FT%, made him efficient despite the sub-50% field goal shooting.
Cliff Crawford had more assists than turnovers, but that just obscures how turnover-prone he was. Since he wasn't a scoring option, setting up others was his main task--he didn't do it very well. Of course, judging by the turnover rates, if he didn't dribble the ball off his foot and out of bounds, the guy he passed it to would have. He did have an impressive free throw rate.
Archie Miller had an amazing year shooting the ball but turned it over far too much for a two-guard. My memory's fuzzy; if he played the point some, that would partially explain the high TO%.
Scooter's numbers suggest that he wasn't ready for more minutes at this point in his career (he averaged 13.5 MPG).
Super-scrub Brian Keeter's O Rtg was 149. No wonder everyone wanted to see him come off the bench!
Six guys on the roster committed more than three turnovers per 40 minutes. Only a single player on the 2006 roster (and he may be deported...) averaged more than 3 per 40. The 2001 team's eFG%--although I hesitate to call it "effective"--was 49%. In the years since, NC State has never shot below 52.5%.
We'll be back in sub-50%-ville in 2007, I fear.