Making the Leap

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When analyzing the offseason losses for the hoops team, one name comes up time after time:  Daryl McCoy.  While his effect may have a net positive on the offensive end of the floor (a post for another day, but soon) it projects to almost certainly have a negative effect on the defensive end as well as on the glass at both ebds of the court.  Per kenpom, during his four years at DU McCoy averaged out to be a top 100 rebounder in the country on both ends of the floor, and that’s despite playing alongside strong rebounders like Givens and Ruffin who grabbed some that may otherwise have ended up in Daryl’s hands.

In the 12-13 season, Drexel ended up with the ball exactly one third of a time that one of their shooters clanked one off the rim.  This is a good, but not elite number.  The team secured the ball 74% of the time that it was up on the defensive glass though, good for 6th in the country.  Having two space eaters in the middle really helped with that as the two bigs on the court at any time were responsible for 56% of Drexel’s boards last year.  But now, without the king of all space eaters, how can Drexel continue to achieve rebounding success?  Looking back to 2005-2006 (coincidentally the last DU team to play Thanksgiving weekend in the NIT), Drexel pulled down 36.5% of their possible offensive boards and 70% of defensive boards doing this with a frontcourt of Elegar, Crawford and Oveneke, not a wide body amongst them.  The secret to how this smaller group pulled down as many boards as the big guys from last year?

They didn’t.

That trio (and Kenny Tribbett, Tim Tillman, and Matt “Mad Dog” Stevenson) combined to pull down just 48% of the team’s rebounds that year.  The guards on that team (not exactly with the size of our current guards) hammered the boards that year.  Sanchez had a monster season on the glass, but even 6′ pg Bashir Mason contributed with a triple digit rebounding total that year.

In the very short and potentially worthless sample that we have thus far this year, Drexel’s rebounding at a poor rate of 26.39% on the offensive glass, and 71% on the defensive side which is above average.  Perhaps more importantly, the frontcourt has pulled down 58% of these boards.  While this certainly could be small sample, it can also be read as the guards being just as reliant on their bigs for the boards as they were last year, if not moreso.  This seems like an unfair expectation given the loss of McCoy.  In order to try to assist our small sample, we should look for other areas that also may show a lack of adaptation from the guard play.

Looking further, we do see more evidence: Thru two games, Abif and Ruffin have hit 63% of their shots, combined for only three turnovers, but have only combined to take 19 of the 123 shots (15%) taken by the team.  Despite the coaching staff running plays for the big guys after seemingly every timeout during the UCLA game the forwards only took 9 of the 63 shots in that game.  The big men got the ball after timeouts, and were never fed the ball again, just like last years bigs.

When you combine the lack of passing into the interior, and the lack of extra help on the boards, one begins to see a pattern that looks a lot like last years team.  To the fans eye, there’s a large difference between Kaz Abif and Daryl McCoy.  To the eyes of Drexel’s guards, this difference might not yet be clear, the confidence yet to be increased.  The sooner that the Drexel staff can deprogram these guards from last years squad and get them to better explore the strengths of this years team, the sooner they start helping out on the boards and feeding the bigs, the faster this team can make the leap to the next level, on the glass and in the standings.

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