Hello Wildcat fans. I hope everyone is having a great time watching and supporting our Cats this year, because I know I have. We just finished up our first 10 games of the year, and have a week break before our next test. Speaking of tests, its that time of year where students are finishing up their finals and receiving their class grades before they head home for the holidays. This seems to be the perfect moment to hand out some grades for the players and coach for the first part of the season. Below the jump you will find my grades for the players along with some stats and thoughts about their play throughout the year so far.
Kyle Fogg: (GRADE: B) I was actually going to give Kyle a lower grade because I was expecting him to play better than he has so far this year. However, after realizing what he has done for this team defensively so far, I felt a solid B was a fair grade. He was the other player we were expecting a lot from this year, and although he hasn’t lived up to all the hype he has definitely been a solid leader. Kyle is second on the team in PPG 11.5 and has a 3PT% of .447. His FG% is fairly low at .407 and he currently is only averaging 1.9 APG. HE needs to be a leader that creates a bit more for himself and his teammates.
Jesse Perry: (GRADE: A) I am speechless as far as Jesse’s play through the year so far. I wasn’t expecting what he has been able to accomplish. Not only is he playing as an undersized center, but hes doing it effectively. I believe it will help our team out tremendously when Chol can finally start taking some of those center minutes from Jesse to help him from getting physically beat up all the time, but for now he has been impressive. Jesse is averaging 11.1 PPG and 8.2 RPG. Not only are his numbers solid but hes one of the leaders in shooting for the team. He has a FG% of .506 and a 3PT% of .333. With the way he plays and the contact he draws the one area he really needs to improve on would be his FT%, which is currently .647. Overall though we would be lost without Jesse anchoring our center position.
Nick Johnson: (GRADE: B+) We knew that Nick was a composed freshmen coming in, but nobody knew he would play like an upper classmen. I love watching how calm he looks on the floor, which is why its great to see the confidence Miller has in Nick to finish games out. Nick has also shown to be one of the few players on the team capable of taking the ball and creating his own shot in a pressure situation, and of course it helps to be able to jump into the atmosphere to do so. Overall his numbers aren’t super impressive, but anyone that’s watched him play knows that he is passing the eye test. The one stat I really like with him is in his 26.8 min/game he only averages 1.7 turnovers. Nick is going to be fun to watch grow this year, and I can’t wait to see him continue to become a leader.
Josiah Turner: (GRADE: C-) Josiah had so much hype coming into this year, and so far has not lived up to the hype. He is by far the most frustrating player to watch. He shows glimpses that leaves the audience wondering if he will be a lottery pick and a stud at the NBA level. Then the next play he does something so bone headed you wonder if his evil twin just replaced him. I believe Sean when he says that Josiah is a great kid, and I truly want him to succeed. Although I sound like I don’t like him I really love his potential and I just want him to reach it. What stands out to me is that he is making plays that worked in high school against lesser talent, and those same plays don’t work at the college level. He needs to understand his job at college and the pros won’t be creating amazing plays all the time, but instead being a coach on the court and get team mates in situations where they can succeed. Looking at his numbers it makes complete sense. He is currently averaging 2.1 turnovers in only about 20 mins of playtime a game. He is also shooting very poor right now with a FG% of .386 and 3PT% of .143. I could forgive all those from our point guard if it wasn’t for the fact he’s only averaging 1.6 APG. That just won’t cut it as a point guard.
Jordin Mayes: (GRADE C+) Personally I have really enjoyed what Jordin has given this team this year. He has shown the ability to shoot the 3 PT shot with a % of .361. Jordin is also showing that he values keeping possession of the ball having an average of .9 turnovers per game. However, he hasn’t really taken hold of the chance to be the real leader of this team. With the ongoing issues with Josiah Turner, Jordin could have taken the reigns to this team. As bad as Josiah has been with assists Jordin has actually be worse only averaging .5 APG. That will never cut it as a point guard for Arizona.
Kevin Parrom: (GRADE: A+++) Yes this is an emotional grade, but lets be honest there were signs he may never play again, and he has already played in 8 games. Kevin does look a little slow on the court to me, but I can live with that if he continues to make good decisions on the floor. His shooting % definitely could use some improvement from its current number of .342. One step at a time though. His determination and work ethic truly shows what Wildcat basketball is about.
Brendon Lavender: (GRADE: C) I wasn’t expecting a lot of playing time for him this year, so I don’t know how fair it is to grade him on the same level as everyone else. He hasn’t done anything particularly poor while in the games, but he hasn’t done much to make me say I want him in the game no matter what. The one thing that gives me the urge to want more of Brendon would be his excellent 3PT% of .467 which leads the team. If he can continue this % then it will be harder and harder to keep him off the floor.
Angelo Chol: (GRADE: B+) Everyone said coming into this year Chol would need the most work of all the freshman. To be fair they were probably correct, however he also has come the furthest out of all the freshman. Each game he seems to play more confident and understands where he needs to be. I have noticed that his defense is also getting better, and he’s fouling a lot less down low. To his credit he is working hard to get shots close to the goal which is obvious when you look at his team leading FG% of .565. He could become one heck of a player by the time he’s an upper classman, and he will be on an NBA roster some day.
Kyryl Natyazhko: (GRADE: F) I really wish I could give him a higher grade, because I know he must be working very hard and has been very dedicated to the team. However, it’s so painful to watch how slow he looks on the court. I have a strong feeling the more Chol develops the less we will see of Naty, and that really isn’t a bad thing for the team. I like how he appears to be a very positive team mate, but he doesn’t give us much positives on the floor.
Sean Miller: (GRADE: B) Whenever a player leaves the program it will raise questions about the coach, and if you add Turner’s issues then you must ask more questions of Sean. Do I think he’s doing a poor job of handling those situation? No. But he did recruit those two players, and perhaps miss read their personalities. If he loses Turner then it would drop him a whole letter grade. If he can transform Turner into the type of player we all see in him, then Sean would earn himself an A. Also in Sean’s report card you can find 3 names: Derrick Williams, Jesse Perry, and Angelo Chol. Why are these names on Sean’s report card? It’s because Sean has done a masterful job taking under rated big men and turning them into stars. Derrick wasn’t heavily recruited at all and in 2 years became the number 2 pick in the draft. Jesse came to us last year and the idea of NBA draft would make you laugh, but now his name and draft are being used in the same sentence. Chol was supposed to be a project, but this project is starting to look like a masterpiece.