Tag Archives: Angelo Chol

Paying the Chol Toll

Let’s get one thing straight: Angelo Chol is a model teammate. He works hard, understands his role, takes a team first approach, and plays his damndest.

This, from a January article about the power forward’s playing time:

Miller said he had Chol in his office last week to talk about his role and to reinforce the coaching staff’s belief in the athletic, but still raw, basketball talent.

“He said, ‘Coach, as long as we’re winning, you never have to talk to me,’” Miller said.

The kid just wants to win. What more could you want from a program player? Evidently, you could want more players, better players, at the same position.

Sean Miller has taken a presumably calculated approach/risk in loading his front court. He’s found himself with four and five stars splattered across the four and five position, yet now watches the second member of this wealth of bigs depart.

Choltastic is leaving right on the heels of Grant Jerrett’s league declaration.

This transfer makes more sense than Jerrett’s exit – Cholcredible played just 8.5 minutes per game and never saw the floor in 3 of the team’s final 6 games – and Arizona has brought in Aaron Gordon and Rodae Hollis-Jefferson; both of whom project to take minutes from the Choltender. Additionally, Miller has made a concerted effort to ensure that Kaleb Tarczewski receives the lion’s share of big man minutes (can’t fault him for hoping a monstrous 7-footer develops). And there’s still Brandon Ashley and the arriving Matt Korchek (6’10” 225lbs with similar high-motor-low-offense skills as Cholicious).

So yeah, even if winning was all that mattered to Cholholio, it was becoming abundantly clear that no matter how hard he worked or team first he approached the day, if the push was to improve his position with other bodies, he was going to be the odd man out.

And so now he is out and it raises questions not of Chol-Patrol’s character or dedication, but rather what Sean Miller is up to?

By no means am I insinuating that he’s sabotaging his own program – that’d be asinine – but it’s interesting to read the following:

50% of Sean Miller’s recruits from 2009-2011 have transferred

Momo Jones, Kyryl Natyazhko, Daniel Bejarano, Josiah Turner, Angelo Chol, and Sidiki Johnson are all gone to greener pastures or otherwise. It is yet to be determined whether this is an issue, but for now it is a fact. Another fact is that NCAA-wide, there’s about a 40% transfer rate. This doesn’t excuse the Arizona-exodus but sheds some light on the ubiquity of movement.

Again, whether this 50% attrition rate is an issue is yet to be determined. Arizona could win the 2013-14 National Title and this would all be for naught.

But having to pay this Chol Toll could be indicative of bigger issues, program problems, and a lack of direction, aim, and development. Have I taken it too far? Perhaps, but 1/2 your kids bolt and eyebrows are raised.

From where we sit today, however, there isn’t a problem. Arizona maintains a top-10 roster and sits in the homes and ears of innumerable elite recruits. The eyebrow may be raised, but Arizona fans can maintain a smug grin.

And maybe it’s even simpler than all of that. Maybe it’s all just a big bummer to lose Cholster because he is all of those things I’d previously mentioned. The type of kid you hope to stand and applaud as he holds his framed jersey overhead, his family at his side, on his Senior Day.

The type of kid that prompts Sean Miller to call him “one of the finest people and nicest kids that I have ever coached.”

Here’s to hoping the best for Angelo Chol.

And the program he’s leaving.

BB: More Moments, This One the Choltender’s

As we celebrated McKale’s fortieth amidst tales of moments that filled Arizona’s home stadium, Angelo Chol had one of his own.

With Grant Jerrett out and the dynamic front court of the Stanford Cardinal imposing much of their will onto Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley, it was the intermittently used Chol who captured the opportunity to win. He doubled his previous biggest minutes output of the season in producing 6 points and 8 rebounds and disrupting the active Dwight Powell just enough to allow the Wildcats to pull away. Because without Chol there was no stopping that man.

It was his moment and he seized it.

Sean Miller would go on to rave of his back-up forward’s, back-up’s performance, going so far as to say had he not risen to the occasion it was “game over.” The Wildcats grew dependent on the ninth player off their bench and he delivered. That’s impressive and that’s special.

And so too is the season Solomon Hill is compiling. Which at this point has moderately gone without saying. Twenty second half points while also drawing defensive duties on the overpowering tandem of Huestis and Powell is damn impressive. That Lyons kid was special, too. Miller called it his best game as a Wildcat and you’ll hear no argument from me. He’s “turning the corner” as a point guard, Miller raved. A fact that is both special and frightening regarding the ever elevating ceiling of this team twenty-two games deep.

[This is the point in the post where I must say that Dwight Powell is unstoppable]

Indeed last night was a celebration of the moments we’ve enjoyed and the Wildcats have delivered for the past 40 years inside that stadium. And Chol and his teammates treated us to a few more, painting a clearer picture of what this team is capable of with its depth, fortitude, and leadership. A team unafraid of the moment.

And perhaps capable of a shining one.

Your Not-So-Pac-12-Media Preseason Awards

Last week the Pac-12 announced the media’s preseason predictions. They’ve picked Arizona to win it although they awarded more first place votes to UCLA – indicative of the unstable state that program appears to be in. Alas, we can’t have this be our only predictive conversation.

Following last season, we awarded the Not So Coaches Pac-12 Awards. The Dorothy, The Steinbrenner, The Grecian, and others were all awarded to the most deserving of candidates. Now, on the cusp of a highly anticipated 2012-13 Pac-12 basketball season, I present, the Not So Pac-12 Media Preseason Awards:

The Casey Jacobsen: Awarded to the player most likely to frost his tips

  • Pick: Ken Bone, WSU
  • Look, sometimes its tough to look cool when all you do is stand on a sideline and shout. And, with so many players getting busted for possession, Ken Bone needs to find a way to better relate to his team. Maybe a stop by the stylist is his best option.
  • Others considered: Rosco Allen (Stanford), Roster (ASU),

The Jorge Guitierrez: Awarded to the player most likely to piss off opposing players and fans

  • Pick: Mark Lyons, Arizona
  • Not only is he a seemingly unprecedented transfer with title implications, but by all accounts he’s got a mouth, is havoc on the defensive end, and became renowned for his participation in the Xavier-Cincinnati melee. He’s going to beat you – or at least try real hard to – and then let you know about it.
  • Others considered: Aaron Bright (Stanford), Jio Fontan (USC), Nick Johnson (Arizona), EJ Singler (Oregon)

The Brock Motum: Awarded to the best player you’ve never heard of

  • Pick: Devon Collier, Oregon State
  • It was hard not to pick Brock himself as the dude barely gets any love already despite projecting to have another stellar season lost in Pullman. But Collier has only gotten better year-over-year and projects to flourish with the departure of Jared Cunningham and the pending emergence of Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks.
  • Others considered: Dewayne Dedmon (USC), Scott Suggs (UW), Davonte Lacy (WSU)

The Josiah Turner/Jabari Brown: Awarded to the player most likely to miss expectations by a year and a mile

  • Pick: Shabazz Muhammad
  • At this point, this isn’t even a preseason pick, we’re just giving it to him. Odds are he won’t play a game in new, old, or otherwise Pauley; but if he does I’ll swallow the crow whole. His commitment to UCLA had Howland and crew a pre-pre-season top-10 team. Now they’re not.
  • Others considered: Dominic Artis (Oregon), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona), JT Terrell (USC)

Player I Want to Party With: (no criteria provided)

  • Pick: Brock Motum (WSU)
  • If you’ve never traveled abroad and stayed at a hostel with an Australian, I suggest you do it.
  • Others considered:

The RomCom: Awarded to the player that most resembles a cast member of Love Actually

  • Pick: Angus Brandt

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Others considered: Unanimous decision

The 2007 Patriots: Awarded to the team most likely to lose you money

  • Pick: USC Trojans
  • Here is the team that’s super interesting and I’ve called the hipster pick but they were 1-17 last year! Sure they’re grossly revamped but we know absolutely nothing about them but everyone keeps picking them. What if they’re wrong and the juice is flowing the wrong way?
  • Others considered: Arizona Wildcats, UCLA Bruins

The 2001 Patriots: Awarded to the team most likely to make you money

  • Pick: Washington Huskies
  • Not many people are high on the Huskies but they have heavy experience at three critical positions at the point, wing, and center and a wild card in RS senior Scott Suggs. Maybe, just maybe, the Huskies can eek out a competitive season and spoil the preseason predictions.
  • Others considered: Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans

The Golden Mane: Awarded to the most luscious locks in the conference

  • Pick: EJ Singler
  • He cut them. They’re gone and he looks like an everyman but we’re awarding him this for potential. What if he grows it out over the season? I want it to happen. Make it so.
  • Others considered: Angelo Chol (Arizona), John Gage (Stanford), Sabatino Chen (Colorado),

Best Iranian: Awarded to the best Iranian born player in the conference

  • Pick: Arsalan Kazemi
  • Uh…pretty sure he’s the only one to play D-1 ball. Ever.
  • Others considered: Unanimous decision

Sophomoric Stats: A Look at When Players Make the Leap

The point of this site has never been to deliver you overwhelming statistical analysis. That’s me being honest and directing you to the likes of Ken Pomeroy and Luke Winn or some of my go to pals, @jgisland and @ontheproviso.

These are gentlemen who excel at Excel. Knuckles.

Me? I’m really damn good at watching the game and knowing that four points per game is fewer than fourteen. A regular Bill James here folks!

But let’s focus a touch deeper. I’ve always been curious about when a player makes his biggest leap. When he goes from scrub to star, role player to role model.

And this has piqued my interest because the Pac-12 has some interesting pieces getting older. Players who’ve performed well or hardly at all to date and I want to know – essentially based on anecdotal evidence (i.e. what I like to call tempo-full stats) – who we can expect big things from? Who’s going to make that leap to leader and usher his team from a Pac-12 team to the Pac-12 team.

To examine such, I compiled an arbitrary list of 21 Pac-12 players who participated in at least three seasons. The list itself was fun to build. Example: Did you know Brian Scalabrine went for 14/6/2 in 31mpg as a pup? That’s ridiculous. Do you know what Colorado fans would give to get that from Josh Scott? Or what UCLA fans would do to get those minutes out of Josh Smith – a top-5 offensive player in the conference? Alas, not every incoming player will put up White Mamba numbers but that’s what we aimed to look at here.

I was disappointed to find that there weren’t ORtg numbers going as far back as I’d like so I ran with good old fashion points/rebounds/assists and gut analysis. That’s to say, I built the spreadsheet and looked at the numbers and thought,  “Yeah, those look better than those,” then highlighted the year in which the player’s numbers took the biggest jump.

I won’t spend any more of our time explaining the holes in this study and so without any further ado, the spreadsheet:

From this chart we find that 14-of-21 three year players showed their most dramatic statistical jump (most notably in points per game) from their freshman to sophomore year. Five players had their biggest jump from sophomore to junior and two players leapt into their senior year. One player had an arguably lesser sophomore season. Three players had arguably lesser years as juniors.

That’s the black and white look.

The Second-half-of-the-Wizard-of-Oz look (colorful) directs me to the Pacific Northwest and Abdul Gaddy. With this now senior, we find that his numbers didn’t quite high jump from FR to SO, but they did improve (4/1/2 to 9/3/4). But what I found most interesting is that his ORtg jumped 40 points – from 85 to 125. Ok, ok, it’s not fair to just throw ORtg stats into the equation all of a sudden but 40 is significant. It’s also not fair that Gaddy only played 13 games while recording that 125. But I’m not gunning for a Nobel Prize here.

I am, however, interested to see that guys like Patrick Christopher took his freshman year to develop into a consistent player. Dude put up essentially the same, very solid numbers for the three years following his debut at Haas. As did Arron Afflalo, the infamous Lukes, Channing Frye, and Darren Collison. Some terrific Pac participants.

What this says to me is that, above all else, players grow in confidence. Sure their minutes grow but I keep coming back to Gaddy and his improved output as an offensive player. He just became better at being a basketball player. He didn’t necessarily do more, he just did it better.

The numbers can also show us that this perceived confidence comes at different times. Look at Quincy Pondexter and Jerome Randle.

QPon perplexed and frustrated Husky fans during his tenure in Seattle but when push came to shove, he had a dynamic senior season. That’s the kind of stuff I love. That’s the fairytale stuff when the beleaguered vet wills his team to big things. He followed no traditional path but when you record 19/7/2 and lead your team to the school’s fifth sweet sixteen, you figured it out. And in the nick of time.

As for Randle – the conference’s POY in 2010 – he appears to have been the perfect recruit. He incrementally improved every year, stayed four seasons, and lead the school to a conference championship. What more could you ask for? OK, a national championship I suppose, but Randle did work year-in-year-out and it showed.

But I’ve been sidetracked from the topic at hand – biggest statistical leaps – and what we can learn from my spreadsheet.

My conclusion to this conundrum is that players make their biggest leap – as I suspected – from their freshman to sophomore season. Again, I’ll make no bones to the arbitrary nature of this analysis but I like my answer.

And you should be encouraged by my findings if you’re a fan of any of the following programs:

Colorado:

  • Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie are two of the first names that come to mind as I looked over these numbers. This tandem put up 9/3/1 and 10/4/2, respectively, and will only have their 2012-13 roles grow in the absence of Nate Tomlinson and Carlon Brown.

Arizona:

  • At this point you know he can hop and defend and heard rumors he can shoot. But this is the year that all of those things should come together for Nick Johnson (9/3/2), Arizona’s presumed starting two-guard. He played confidently (reason #1 for anyone’s improved anything) in the Red-Blue scrimmage and is poised to shine.

California:

  •  What I like most about David Kravish (7/6/1) – and what I think is the most significant marker of his forthcoming FR-SO explosion – is he played his best ball when the Bears lost Richard Solomon. He closed the season averaging 8 & 6 in Solomon’s absence, including an 18 rebound performance at USC. Confidence gained as a successful contributor and the return of Solomon should allow the lanky big to thrive.

Washington State:

  • So…it’s going to be a tough one in Pullman unless this guy – DaVonte Lacy (9/2/2) – takes the leap. But he’s a got a great mentor as Brock Motum blew up into arguably the most efficient player in the universe (SO-JR). With Reggie Moore gone, Lacy is going to have plenty of chances to show off just how well his summer workout routine worked.

And that’s just to name a few.

I’m not mentioning the likes of Chasson Randle (14/3/2) orByron Wesley (10/5/2); two very interesting players. Randle is going to be good – scary good – and so I’m not going to bother reiterating that. Wesley is no doubt solid but finds himself in a completely revamped lineup and while my “study” took into account exactly zero extenuating circumstances, Wesley is playing in an extenuating circumstance.

I’d also keep an eye on Norman Powell (5/2/1), Angelo Chol (2/2), Stefan Nastic (2/1), and Jonathan Gilling (7/2/2); players with emerging roles on each of their respective teams.

Look, this conference is back. The stage is set for a lot of this talent to emerge and if you look at the crop of sophs in the league compared to what their predecessors have accomplished, it’s my impression that the good kind of parity is back.