WUG Stats And Comparisons

  • The world university games provided games against a decent cross section of competition. Further, the eight game sample size was comparable to appx. 1/4 of the college season (not counting the NCAAs). I thought it would be interesting to look at some stats from the tourney, and compare some performances.

    1. Moore vs. Graham: There has been some discussion about Nic Moore and his positive contribution to efforts. No doubt, the guy is a tough and stout defender for his size. And he brought the intangible of veteran leadership. But I thought it would be interesting to compare Moore, a soon to be red shirt senior, to Devonte Graham, our soon to be sophomore. For the tourney, Moore scored .246 points per minute. Last season, Graham scored .317 ppm. Moore had .091 assists per minute, Graham had .117 apm last season. And for the tourney, Moore had .073 turnovers per minute. Graham was lower at .063. Regarding field goal percentage, Moore was 28% while Graham was 39%. From three, Moore was 30% vs. Graham at 42.5%. I know this is not a perfect comparison (WUG vs. CBB), but I think it is interesting that in those five categories, Graham performed better last season than Moore did at the WUG.

    2. Mason: Mason, of course, was amazing. Mason had something in common with Jamari Traylor at the WUG. Mason turned the ball over 16 times, same as Traylor. But Mason played 258 minutes in the tourney to Traylor’s 95, and Mason had the ball in his hands nearly the entire time he was on the floor. Mason is perhaps the best ball handler to put on a Kansas uniform in the last half century.

    3. More Mason: One stat that stuck out to me was that Mason had .077 steals per minute played. That was a stark improvement on his .041 rate last season. We had discussions regarding our lack of steals last season. The .077 rate by Mason is just shy of the gold standard of .082 put on the board by Mario Chalmers in the 2007-08 season. Mason certainly had a better eye for the pick at the WUG than he did last season. And that could bode well for 2015-16.

    4. Ellis: Perry struggled much of the tourney. Ellis’ field goal percentage was just 36% on two point shots, but a decent 35% on threes. It is the two point % that stood out. Against Germany, his inability to score against bigger/longer guys was reinforced. We won’t see any change from Perry on that front this season.

    5. Mickelson: It appeared that Mickelson had a strong tournament. Not only was he active and hustling while on the floor, he provided our only real rim protection in the tourney. His stats were equally impressive. Mickelson shot an excellent 62% from two point range. There are no stats available for % at the rim, but I think it is safe to say it was near 70% for Mickelson. He was excellent near the rim. Mickelson was also very solid with the ball. He had only 5 turnovers the entire tournament, good for .036 turnovers per minute played at the WUG. Compare to Ellis (.049), Lucas (.071), Bragg (.127) and Traylor (.168 ). Mickelson’s rebounding rate was reasonable at .284 per minute. Better than Traylor (.147) and Ellis (.254), but trailing Lucas (.392) and Bragg (.319). But maybe most impressive for the little used Mickelson was that he scored at a rate of .489 per minute played. Ellis was slightly better at .519, but the other three bigs we much lower (Bragg .319; Traylor .263; and Lucas .215). Mickelson earned a promotion.

    6. Traylor: You knew this was coming. Traylor had a poor tournament. His rebounding numbers were nearly 20% worse than his underwhelming season totals in 2014-15. Traylor rebounded at just .147 per minute played vs. the astoundingly bad .182 last season. Remember, the worst post player number under Self was Justin Wesley at .180. Compare to Legerald Vick (.183) or Frank Mason (.174) – or heck, Evan Manning (.200). Worse, Traylor had by far the worst turnover per minute numbers on the team – .168. Compare to Mickelson at just .036, Ellis .049, Lucas .071. Freshman Carlton Bragg rebounded much, much better (.319), had a lower turnover rate (.127), and Bragg (.319 - yes, the same as his rpm) scored at a per minute rate better than Traylor (.263) as well. To put Traylor’s turnover rate in perspective, it was nearly three times higher than Frank Mason.

    7. Vick: Legerald Vick was an incredibly pleasant surprise. He led Kansas in three point percentage at 57%, going 4/7. He had an overall field goal percentage of 52%, and his turnover rate of .051 per minute was better than our other guards (compare to Moore at .073, Mason .062, and Selden .089). His rebounds per minute were about the same as Selden (.183 for Vick; .185 for Selden). Overall, Vick didn’t seem overwhelmed or hesitant. Vick looked pretty solid.

    8. Selden: Of course, Selden was amazing. His best attribute this tournament is not completely obvious in the the stats. Selden was incredible finishing at the rim. That has been a pretty clear weakness. Selden was our go to player for large stretches, averaging almost 20 points per game. It looks like Wayne has turned the corner. The 2015-16 Big 12 player of the year.

    Anyway, thought some of this might be interesting. Big surprises for me were Mickelson’s emergence, Wayne becoming the alpha dog we had hoped, and Vick’s veteran like play. I was also surprised by Traylor’s miniscule minutes, though obviously very pleased by Self’s decision there. By the end of the tournament, it appeared that he was Self’s fifth choice out of five bigs. That seems about right.

    Oh, and the stat that mattered most – Gold.

  • The KUSA team played 11 games, 2 against Canada, 1 against China in Korea and 8WUG games.

  • @HighEliteMajor I enjoyed it, thanks! Question on Mick. He was impressive, and was thrilled for him. Do you think Mick will do equally well and/or better against the muscle mass of D1 B12 players? I didn’t see the games, hence the question. Thanks HEM.

  • Love the stats! A couple of things I would say about them though.

    1. The Devonte vs. Nic isn’t really a fair comparison. It is interesting! But, Moore’s stats don’t consider he has only had a month in the system. Plus the fact that Nic played a majority of all the games where Devonte got to have fresh legs most of the time he was on the court.

    2. I agree that Vick was a nice surprise! I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a “veteran like” player as he did make some freshmen, or Jamari, type of mistakes. But, I think he has the potential to make Greene be the odd man out this season. The reasons being, I think he could shoot 40% from 3, and at 6’5 with impressive quick-twitch muscles, he could end up being a much better defender than Greene and fit much nicer into an up-tempo offense should we (hopefully) want to play that way more this season.

  • @Kcmatt7

    I agree. Some of the “intangibles” that Nic brought to the table, such as leadership, are not something that can be measured with statistics; his defense was pretty decent, he hit some super timely shots and he took a lot of “bumps” from the bigger opponents and stayed calm and kept his cool…until the Germany game when the Geman player got in his face and he stood his ground. I believe he was a great influence on the team, particularly Frank.

  • I thought our rebounding stat was a very good sign. Officially 2nd in rebounds per game because of Germany only playing 7 games. I thought the boards were an improvement from last year where we struggled at times. Moving Selden to the 3 helped his rebounding go way up, Lucas was strong when in the game, Mason always gets his. Diallo figures to help even more, Hunter did a good job as well.

    Ellis was a player I was disappointed with at times in the tourney because for a Senior with realistic goals of being an All American, First Team Big 12 and possible Top 10 scorer in KU History, he struggled at times. I thought we might see some more perimeter skills, but he was probably the most blocked guy in the tournament. 36% on 2’s will not cut it. He’s better than that, but we know what he is, and what he isn’t. I’m sure he will be better when the real games come along.

    Stats continue to say Mari should be our 6th big now. The eye test didn’t change that view either…I bet he was upset with his lack of minutes and it showed. The turnovers & low rebounding rates just continue to haunt him.

    Vick was a surprise. He was so fluid on the floor and was not afraid to take or hit big shots. The dunk he had against Lithuania on a fast break was filthy! He did have a few freshman entry passes but I thought overall he could be used if needed. He’s definitely a talent I’m glad we got and will have for a few years.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I also think Moore’s leadership & ability to play with guys he’d never even met was immense. IMO but without Nick & no DG, we not only don’t win gold, we may not even make the final 8. Larry & Bill made a tremendous decision to bring Nic Moore. The proverbial “carpenter’s dream”, if you will…Flat as a board & damn easy to nail…

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Kick ass, mid season level of analysis in the off season gives you the gold for the summer so far!!!

    Particularly good dissection of Nic, who did not seem to play to his past levels with KU, but who I still found to be decisive in creating the team psychology needed to be the winner they became. I agree with stats that suggest Devonte could be a more productive player, but a more apt comparison would be Nic’s numbers last season with Devonte’s last season, since both teams run mostly the same stuff according to Self.

    Hunter clearly had the rug pulled out from under him by Self the last game by benching him at crunch time. Self sent a clear signal that Diallo and Lucas are his 5s for the coming season, despite Hunter’s superb production. Best advice to Hunter is work on guarding the post and add another 10 pounds. Self is biased against Hunter the way he was biased against Kevin Young for a time, but overtime Self overcomes the bias if you keep producing.

  • Hopefully the guys will get rested up then work on their game. I think the WUG have shown a few players areas they could work on and gave others confidence to excell.

  • P.S.: if you think Self is suspicious about Trey balling, he is absolutely a sceptic about helter skelter bigs. He likes big Barry White M#%^F#%^#ing bigs. Rock solid low voiced stable daddy style bigs. Peripatetic gives him hives. He needs extra reassurance from the peripatetic types.

  • @dylans HCBS said they will have a month off before they start up practice.

  • @HawksWin After seeing Mickelson play, think he’d do fine. From my perspective, if I was starting a team, and had a choice of taking Mickelson or Lucas, I’d take Mickelson. We saw Lucas turn down open 15 footers, Mick could bang that down. Mickelson was much more active tipping the ball to the hoop and keeping balls alive. He was a better defender at the point of release than Lucas. And I thought Mick was more active overall than Lucas.

    But a point a made a few days ago … this is all relative. Personally, I don’t think either Mickelson or Lucas are as good as I would prefer in my back up post player. But Mick sure made a case.

  • @HighEliteMajor Thank you! Now I know what to look for during his game and Lucas’.

  • @HighEliteMajor Best ball handler in the last 25 years. Thats some stuff right there! Sherron Collins and Russ Rob, Aaron Miles, Kirk Hinrich, Rex Walters? Billy Thomas? others I know I am missing.
    Mason is better than all of those guys? Im not doubting at all, just asking if its true.

  • @Lulufulu Actually, I said last half century to take us back to the Jo Jo White days. So even further back.

    Frank Mason is absolutely the best ball handler I’ve seen at Kansas – meaning, specifically, his dribbling ability. He is the most sure handed I have witnessed here. If I had to bet my life on one ball handler who played at Kansas since the 60s, I’d take Mason.

    My top ten ball handlers in the last half century -

    1. Frank Mason

    2. Jacque Vaughn

    3. Adonis Jordan

    4. Aaron Miles

    5. Mark Turgeon

    6. Cedric Hunter

    7. Tyshawn Taylor

    8. Sherron Collins

    9. Darnell Valentine

    10. Russell Robinson

    I struggle with Collins because he was a high dribbler like Darnell Valentine. That’s why they’re behind Tyshawn in my eyes.

  • I agree that Mason is one of the best without question, but he needs to work on his attack with the behind the back dribble. Every time he does it, he stops as if to make sure he maintains control. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him make a behind the back dribble when attacking the defense or looking to score. Could be wrong.

  • Interestingly, Darnell Valentine stayed at my house during a weekend break while we were both attending a Jack Hartman BB summer camp. Dude is/was a STUD!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Very nice read!

    Concerning Perry… yes, he still needs to finish better against players bigger than him. Kind of funny… the “designer” actually could use some technical help. He doesn’t usually protect the ball in low. He could be another 5 inches taller and still get his shots blocked.

    But what I took from all of this on Perry was how he has improved at sticking with it. Up through last year, when Perry started a game poorly, he would usually disappear from sight. He didn’t do that this time. I know he made at least one or two very key plays down the stretch against Germany. Doubtful we would have seen that last year. That right there is a major improvement in Perry. Sticking with it!

    Vick is going to be a scorer. You can see the “itch” in the kid to score. He wants the rock and he wants to score. His athletics and physique are amazing. Add in his desire to score and I’m certain he will eventually be a big time scorer for us. And give him some time to master defense and he should be an excellent lock down defender!

    Mick definitely earned plenty of attention from this. I’m not sure where he will fit in this year, but surely he’ll get more minutes than last year! The key will be to give him enough minutes so he doesn’t rust up!

    Jamari desperately needs to attend “basketball school.” He needs a ton of individual coaching. I would say his basketball IQ is FAIR-TO-POOR! Without question, he has the lowest basketball IQ on our team. He has a great motor, athleticism and even adding in tools to his toolbox… but he can’t get over the hurdle of not understanding the game well enough and seeing more of the game while on the floor. This is really tough to witness because I’m sure he works his butt off and he is a lot more capable than his results because he often makes poor decisions.

  • @HighEliteMajor Wow! That is some impressive company indeed!
    Think Mason will play in the big leagues?

  • Impossible? No. But highly unlikely given his size, and the way the NBA plays the game. It’s his lone, but one big disadvantage, as I question how he would fair against other fast but taller NBA PGs. I would love to see him in the NBA, but me thinks he will serve better in other leagues. Hope I’m wrong. The man definitely has the attitude and fight in him to take 'em on!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I think ya gotta separate ball handling and shooting.

    Frank is such a great trifectate and FT shooter that me makes one giddy about having him as a PG.

    Looked at in isolation, I am not sure he is a superior ball handler. Miles, Vaughn and Jordan were terrific ball handlers without the inflation of being such good shooters. Miles particularly was a brick artist.

    If I look at Frank I see a now competent ball handler, who could join the ranks of Miles, Vaughn and Jordan if he improves another year.

    He still lacks the light speed acceleration of Tyshawn Taylor on the way to the iron, though he actually seems to have faster acceleration that Tyshawn had in open court. Tyshawn was the fastest there ever was in college basketball for those first three steps and dribbles. Insane fast. Photon phast. Plasma fast. Two flipping places at once fast.

    Frank lacks Darnell’s and Russell’s phenomenal combinations of strength, mass and speed that allowed them defensively manhandle opponents, but he is probably better than both otherwise, though Darnell suffers from playing in another era and a less dynamic system. Its hard to do Darnell justice except to say his numbers one or two years were staggering, regardless of era.

    Frank cannot come close to Sherron overpowering opponents on the drive, or to Sherron’s total wins, so far, but he seems wilier.

    But of course no one can touch Frank as a flipping rebounder.

    The jury is in.

    Frank is the best rebounder on our team last year, this summer, and likely next season. I don’t every recall being able to say a point guard was the best rebounder on any team I have ever seen in my entire life. But Frank is on ours.

    If Self started Frank at center, I am pretty confident Frank would pull down 15-17 rpg, whether or not he got scored on at will because of being so short. He is that good. We are talking Bill Bridges in “Honey, I Shrunk the Rebounder.”

    And part of his rebounding is his incredible hand size and hand strength for his height. The guy clamps down on a rebound like Wilt and Bill Bridges, ferrchrissakes.

    Frank is in some ways as big of a freak of nature as Wilt.

    I’ve never seen a PG this short do this many things well including rebound like a power forward.

    Most of the time Frank has me shaking my head with his freakish rebounding; so much so that perhaps I underrate the rest of his game as a result.

    Regardless, I feel like we haven’t seen him really have a conventional shooting slump. Until we do, I am not sure I can objectively gauge how good of a ball handler he is or isn’t. I can’t get past the consistency of his shooting and the freaking rebounding!!!

  • @drgnslayr

    Really astute assessment of Traylor. Gave words to what I could only sense. Thanks.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Rebounding is all about position and position depends heavily on predicting where the ball will end up. Mason has mastered the art of being at the right place at the right time. Some of the greater rebounders in the game were not particularly tall, although height obviously helps. Frank has managed to be one heck of a rebounder at under 6 feet. AMAZING!

  • @JayHawkFanToo the other pt has to get back on D too. That helps.

  • @drgnslayr

    Awesome on the basketball school reference, Mari could really use it. When the game slows down for him he plays well but there’s too many times where he seems sped up. When you don’t rebound the ball even average for your position, you turn the ball over at a high rate and your not a good shooter its hard to endorse playing time for him. Energy & hustle plays were his calling card and ever since Tarik left he hasn’t been the same. I’m sure he’s going to have a few games this year where he’s one of the main reasons we win a game because he’s done that in the past. Mari is a rare 5th year player in Self’s tenure that is trending down the depth chart. That has usually been the opposite for kids that have waited their turn here.

    Interesting note on Ellis, I had not thought of that but it’s true Ellis is a player that gets down on himself easily. I think he finally realizes to think next shot, his teammates trust him and he knows he has to keep attacking. We have seen Perry play better then he did in Korea, even if it was an off week by his standards he still put up 13pts pg. He should easily average more than that during the season.

  • @Lulufulu - I would be surprised if Mason didn’t play in the NBA. The height thing doesn’t bug me. But we’ll see how his game develops further.

    @drgnslayr I think you are exactly right on Traylor. It is the hoops IQ. I had posted a while back about just understanding simply geometry and angles. That’s been an issue for him on rebounds as he many times overruns the ball. But also, and I have harped on this, he is lazy many times, not blocking out and standing around. This is in stark contrast to what we saw from Mickelson and Lucas at the WUG. @JayHawkFanToo mentioned that rebounding “is all about position.” That is really where Traylor fails. @BeddieKU23 hit on the key point with Traylor – He’s a 5th year senior. It’s likely too late. Traylor can have some really good performances, but those are few and far between. The best place for Traylor is the bench, and for use only in spot situations where his talents match our need.

  • @BeddieKU23 @HighEliteMajor

    Over on KUSports, Tom just published a story on Self keeping the pace faster. I’m afraid Jamari is the only guy left (that went to Korea) that hasn’t been able to keep up with the tempo. So while the rest of the guys earned Self’s trust, Jamari wasn’t one of those guys.

    Can he mentally catch up?

  • @drgnslayr

    It would be the greatest thing since sliced bread if we keep the pace we had in Korea.

    That would mean that Self is willing to evolve the system to the changes, and today’s game. He certainly has the players to do it but a lot of that will depend on the health of Graham & Greene. I’ll hold back my optimism & enthusiasm until it happens because Self always leaves you guessing.


    Mason definitely can make the NBA, especially at the rate he’s going. He can defend & can rebound exceptionally well for his size. There’s not too many NBA players quicker than him with the ball either. He should at least get some looks but let’s see how his Jr season goes first.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Right on! Many of us have been screaming for years that we need to up the pace. Having a team full of uber-athletes and we never took advantage of our speed and depth. Run teams out of the gym, they will tire down the stretch as we use our bench.

    This is a process… to learn how to up the pace. Self talks a lot about how he is starting to trust his players on this. In reality, it is more about trusting in himself to be able to orchestrate a different game.

    Self is human like everyone else. In new areas he may have to deal with confidence issues just like the rest of the planet. He has made changes all of these years, but slowly and methodically. He is now moving into the direction of “modern basketball”… which is a quicker LATERAL pace. Moving up and down the court quicker, running offense before the defense sets, running primary and SECONDARY break offense. Proper substitutions and management of player PT.

    “Proper substitutions and management of player PT.”

    This is a big one for Bill. He really has to learn to use his depth better. We can’t expect a good March outcome again if Frank is completely worn out come March. Plus… what available depth we have has to have plenty of PT minutes throughout the year so they don’t rust. We can reduce the risk of injuries by making more frequent substitutions so guys aren’t playing out there totally exhausted… when they are more likely to get into a situation where they get hurt. This alone will up our March chances so much higher. Eventually, it is going to be hard to land the top recruits if a high percentage gets hurt playing for Kansas. You can bet that other coaches will pitch this against us. We have to keep our guys healthy. Playing 36 mpg is not going to keep your guys healthy.

    We need to shuffle in more substitutions while running at a faster pace.

    I really loved how we tired out most of the WUG teams. I hope that sticks in Bill’s mind. Seriously, I doubt we would have come home with gold had we not run all those teams out of the gym. Many showed early how they could play us tight.

  • @BeddieKU23

    I will have to disagree with you on the part that there are not too many players quicker than him. Just about every players in the NBA is a superior athlete and most were All-American or a least All-Conference in college and all the PGs in the League are as fast or faster than Mason. In college Mason is well above average speed-wise, in the NBA he is average. Tyshawn is faster than Mason and he is no longer in the League. Players entering pro sports, particularly the NBA and the NFL. will tell you that the main difference from college is speed. I posted an interview with Jeff Withey where he talks specifically about this issue and indicates that the games was so much faster in the NBA that it took a while before the game “slowed down” for him and only then he became more effective.

    I also posted that if any undersized guard can make it to the NBA, Mason would be the one I pick. In addition to his ball handling he has the rebounding skill which will not be nearly as effective with other world class players guarding and blocking him, and his outside shooting, although the 3-point line is 3 farther out in the NBA. The only shorter active player in the NBA would be Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics; Nate Robinson is also shorter but it is currently not playing since he was cut by the Clippers last season.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I might have been over-zealous in my comment about Mason being quicker than most in the NBA. But I am confident in his abilities if he continues to develop as a PG. He already has a lot of qualities that could stick at the next level. Hopefully one day we weren’t wrong for projecting him to make the NBA.

  • @drgnslayr

    Coach Self and most every other coach I have heard on the subject (I posted links before to several of them) have always indicated that by the time the main portion of the schedule comes, they like to have a rotation of 7-8 players. Of course they will play more than that but the bulk of the rotation will be 7-8. Calipari had a deep bench lasts season and tried the platoon system which did not work well and indicated afterwards that he will never use it again and will go back to the more traditional 7-8 player rotation. So, even with a faster pace, I expect to see Coach Self settle with an 8 player rotation taking the bulk of the minutes.

    Now, with the shorter clock, there might be more possessions, although the average time of possession for all Division I is only around 18 seconds so I am not expecting to see a huge change going from 35 to 30 seconds.

  • So do u guys think if Mason played the same uk team again, right now, would we see a huge improvement? I think playing them is the reason for his improvement.

  • @BeddieKU23

    I agree with that. I can’t wait to hear…and from the University of Kansas and starting at point guard…FRANK MASON!!!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I believe KU will have a better team than Kentucky this upcoming season. Too bad we don’t play them in November (instead of the 3oth of January) when the roles would be reversed from last year. By the time UK plays KU, they will have played 12 non-conference games including UCLA,. ASU, Ohio State, Duke and Louisville before KU; no question a tough schedule. KU will play 9 non-conference games before Kentucky and the toughest ones will be Michigan State and San Diego State. However, they both will also have played 6-7 conference games and the Big 12 is considerably better than the SEC. No question that both teams will have plenty of experience by the time they play…trump card? AFH.

  • @JayHawkFanToo that’s not what I meant. If Mason went against the uk team from last year, would he do better now? And is he better 'cause of that game. I’m always confusing!😳

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    No question that Mason is head and shoulders (no punt intended) better than he was last year. Keep in mind that in his freshman year he played behind Tharpe and the UK game was only his 2nd start of the season I teams and the previous year he had maybe a handful of starts? More specifically, I think he would do much, much better against last year’s UK team, and he ismuch better, not necessarily because of that game, but because of his natural talent and overall development as a player.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I was thinking that game last year lit a fire in him.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I am sure that game was wake up call to the entire team and it will be looking for a little payback…

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