Monday, February 23, 2009

A look at the rooks

UMaine has begun campaigning for Gerald McLemore as a Rookie of the Year candidate in America East. The San Diego native has put together a solid season and is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year for the Black Bears. But is he a legit contender for the conference's top rookie honor?

It's fairly easy to whittle the candidates down to five clear-cut contenders: McLemore, Jake O'Brien (Boston U.), Bryan Dougher (Stony Brook), Tommy Brenton (Stony Brook) and Chauncey Gilliam (Maryland-Baltimore County). These five stand head and shoulders above the rest of the first-year class.

Garvey Young at Vermont and Kyrie Sutton at Binghamton have contributed some good play, but they just haven't logged the minutes of the top five.

Let's look at how the five compare in seven statistical categories (5 points for a No. 1 rank, 4 for No. 2, etc.):

Points per game
O'Brien, 12.4, McLemore, 12.1, Dougher, 11.1, Gilliam, 10.8, Brenton, 6.8.
Rebounds per game
Brenton, 8.9, Gilliam, 4.6, O'Brien, 4.4, McLemore, 2.6, Dougher, 1.6.
Assists per game
Dougher, 2.0, Brenton, 1.6, McLemore, 1.1, O'Brien, .8, Gilliam, .5.
Steals per game
Brenton, 1.8, McLemore, 1.4, Dougher, 1.1, Gilliam, .7, O'Brien, .4.
Field goal percentage
Gilliam, .541, Brenton, .504, O'Brien, .400, McLemore, .374, Dougher, .337.
Free throw percentage
McLemore, .791, O'Brien, .764, Gilliam, .760, Dougher, .757, Brenton, .585.
3-point percentage
Gilliam, .481, Dougher, .380, O'Brien, .375, McLemore, .356, Brenton, .345.

Point totals
23. O'Brien
22. McLemore
21. Gilliam
19. Brenton, Dougher

Categories where each appears in the America East Top 20
McLemore: Points per game (17th), 3-point field goals (fourth).
O'Brien: Points per game (15th), free throw percent (10th), 3-point percent (eighth), 3-point field goals (seventh), blocked shots (sixth).
Dougher: Points per game (19th), 3-point percent (seventh), 3-point field goals (fifth).
Brenton: Rebounds per game (first), steals per game (sixth).
Gilliam: Rebounds per game (19th), field goal percent (fourth).

The big question; does Brenton's status as the top rebounder in America East overshadow the all-around performances of the other four. I'd be more inclined to say yes if Brenton were doing just a little more in some of the other areas. Just like Brenton, Dougher has played a key role in Stony Brook's rise in the standings (remember, this is a program that had played in five straight play-in games until this year). Eliminate Dougher and Brenton.

That leaves Gilliam, O'Brien and McLemore. They are nearly equal. O'Brien and McLemore have been a little more consistent beginning of season to end. Gilliam is probably finishing the regular season as strong as any of the above mentioned five. What hurts McLemore is that he's putting up a solid season on a poor team. That may not be fair, but it will be weighed when the coaches vote. O'Brien and Boston University were in the championship race until last week and Gilliam has helped UMBC rally to stay in the mix.

If I had a vote, right now it'd be O'Brien, Gilliam, McLemore, Brenton, Dougher. In that order.


MattT said...

I think O'Brien will probably get it. One kid you didn't mention that probably is a candidate for the All-Rookie team is Anthony Raffa from Albany.

thepit said...

Yeah, thought about him briefly, but never came back to it. He's averaging 10 a game or so, but just don't think he's anywhere near the other five at this point. You're right, though, should have mentioned him with Young and Sutton. Thanks.

JD said...

don't be such a homer letting gmac get to the second round. brenton has to advance on the strength of his rebounding, however o'brien was by far the most impressive of the rooks i saw, give it to him.

T.A.T. TEAM said...

I think the dedication of Gerald McLemore should place him at the top of the list. Numbers he put up are outstanding and anyone who travel from San Diego to play Basketball in the Snow loves the Game. How about using that to recruit more west coast player.

thepit said...

As stated, my picks would be O'Brien, Gilliam, McLemore, Brenton and Dougher in that order.