A Three-Part Fool's Errand: Projecting the 2013-2014 UT Frontcourt


The last installment was a high-level look into overall team projections, so let's drill down a little further into the frontcourt. Last year was largely a disappointment from this group, due largely to 3 factors:

1) The gap between Cameron Ridley's expectations(he had offers from pretty much every school of consequence) & actual performance. He had moments where he flashed the potential all the coaches saw in high school, but he battled foul trouble & fitness issues that kept him from matching expectations.

2) Jonathan Holmes' uneven performance. He seemed to start rounding into form, but a hand injury derailed that improvement and he never really made it all the way back.

3) The Sheldon McClellan Saga*. This could honestly be its own entry, but suffice it to say between Barnes' bi-polar handling of him & Sheldon's shooting percentage dropping significantly as the #1 scoring option, it was a dumpster fire with fault laying on all sides.

*I'm putting this here because Sheldon played more 3 than 2, but you could put this into the backcourt section & I wouldn't blame you. It screwed up damn near everything on and off the court.

PLAYER: Projections

Cameron Ridley: 10 PPG, 8 RPG, 1.5 TOs, 1.8 BPG, 0.5 SPG, 22 MPG

This projection comes with my first and perhaps largest(no pun intended) caveat: there are reports Ridley was pulled from the Houston game with a heart issue, not entirely unlike what happened with Gary Johnson. Like Gary Johnson, all of the signs point to Ridley being full-speed at the start of the season, but we won't know until the games start. If Ridley's healthy and is able to establish himself in the low post more effectively, 10/8 out of him seems like a reasonable estimate for him.

Prince Ibeh: 7 PPG, 6 RPG,1.5 TOs,1.5 BPG, 21MPG

I'm not expecting much out of Ibeh on the offensive front in terms of designed plays, mainly offense created off of transition opportunities & put-backs near the basket. His length & bounce should create situations where he can score & rebound with reasonable efficiency, but until he develops some go-to moves & a jumper even out to 10-12 feet, he's likely to make more of a defensive impact than an offensive one. Also, he might consider not listening to assholes on the Internet so much.

Connor Lammert: 5 PPG, 4 RPG, 1 APG, 1 TOs, 0.7 BPG, 0.5 SPG, 15 MPG

I like Connor's game, or at least what I think it will end up being in a couple of years. Right now he's the low man on the totem pole, so I don't expect him to get a lot of minutes in big games unless Ridley/Holmes/Ibeh has foul trouble...which they probably will. Shit.

Jonathan Holmes: 8 PPG, 6 RPG, 1 TOs, 0.5 BPG, 0.5 SPG, 26 MPG

Holmes has these moments where I watch him & think 'YES, MORE OF THAT GUY'. Then he has these moments where I wonder what he's thinking..or if he's thinking at all. Holmes has the capacity to be a forward that could compete for all-conference honors if he'd stop making the silly mistakes that keep him in foul trouble regularly. I don't see that really changing (otherwise I'd have him in the 10-12 ppg range), but I'm keeping his minutes up mainly because he's got seniority on this team and Barnes loves starting the older guys when he has the option.

Ioannis Papapetrou: 14 PPG, 6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2 TOs, 0.5 BPG, 0.5 SPG, 32 MPG

If there's one player on this squad I have to resist going full homer about, it's Papi. He really started to come into his own at the end of last season and his performance at the Euros seems to point to him having an even better year this year. The homer in me actually feels like this might be a little low on the scoring, but I'm not ready to pick him as a 15+ ppg player just yet. Time will tell if he's able to step up as the likely #1 scoring option on the team, but I'm optimistic...possibly unreasonably so, but at least I'm owning it.

Danny Newsome: N/A

An alert reader pointed out I skipped over Danny, which is a fair point. I don't see him seeing the floor unless there's a massive blow-out going on or Ridley and Ibeh and Holmes foul out. Even then, I think Barnes probably goes small with a 3 guard lineup & plays Papi and Lammert.

Essentially what we have here is a pair of players - somebody called this hypothetical combination 'Ribley' on the board, I like that - that combine to put together above-average production at the 5, a forward that can score effectively from all over the court, and a few other parts that have the potential to help fill in the box score in their own ways. It's a solid group that will shoulder the majority of the scoring burden, which isn't really an option so much as a requirement given the youth & question marks in the backcourt. If the team falters this season, it's likely because this group can't consistently put together these kinds of stat lines.

Part 3, The Backcourt (coming soon)

Be excellent to each other.

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