Following last week’s statistical analysis article on W&M big man Nathan Knight, we thought we’d keep the party going this week. Only instead of focusing on Knight, our focus shifted to the Tribe’s 5 vaunted freshman.
Coming into the season, we knew this freshman class would be good. With 5 frosh already having garnered significant playing time this year — we wanted to see if we could identify any statistical trends or insights.
And specifically, with CAA play set to begin on December 28, we wanted to better understand how Head Coach Tony Shaver has allocated minutes to his 5 freshmen up to this point, in hopes that this would shed light on how we can expect these players to receive minutes moving forward.
Points Per Game Analysis
Already 10 games into the season, we started off with game-by-game analysis of each freshman’s point totals. Right off the bat, you can see the green and gold lines jump toward the top — signifying that Chase Audige (green) and L.J. Owens (gold) have led the talented class in scoring thus far.
Another interesting game-over-game insight to note here is, aside from Owens and Audige, no other freshman has garnered more than 10 points in a game.
Thornton Scott, signified in spirit yellow above, has come close; we would certainly expect him to be the next freshman to break the 10-point barrier this season.
Now that we’ve analyzed game-over-game scoring metrics, we wanted to compare the relative scoring averages of all freshmen. Again unsurprisingly, both L.J. Owens and Chase Audige lead the pack in average points per game.
It’s interesting, and perhaps unsurprising, to note that Audige hasn’t yet developed to the point where he’s contributing a certain expected amount of points every game — like we’re used to seeing with Justin Pierce and Nathan Knight. There will be games where he scores 15+ points, and then there will be games where he scores 5 points or less.
And that’s completely fine — he’s an incredibly promising freshman talent, and we’re excited to see what he can produce moving forward. Owens, in comparison, has been slightly more consistent in his point totals; for example, he’s scored more than 10 points in 5 out of 10 games thus far.
As for the other freshmen: we certainly expect Thornton Scott and Quinn Blair to contribute even more as the season goes on. They’ve both contributed multiple games over 5 points, and we have no doubt they’ll develop throughout the year. As for Mehkel Harvey, his development and playing time is largely tied to fellow big man Nathan Knight, and how long Shaver keeps Knight on the floor game in and game out.
As we noted in our recent article, the longer Knight stays on the court, the better the odds are that W&M wins the game. So moving forward, it might be difficult for Harvey to significantly plus up on minutes at this point in the year — but it’s certainly possible.
Minutes Per Game Analysis
In what might be even more interesting than points per game is each freshman’s minutes per game to date. This graphic sheds a bit more light on Head Coach Tony Shaver’s use of each player, and what we can expect moving forward in CAA play.
Again, Owens/Audige/Scott have garnered loads of playing time thus far. Alternatively, Blair and Harvey have seen their minutes temporarily drop off. All 5 players have shown that they’re capable of contributing valuable minutes this season, as all will undoubtedly contribute off the bench during CAA play.
However, up to this point, the trio of Owens/Audige/Scott look poised to receive a great deal of playing time in the near future.
Our final graphic lists each freshman’s average minutes per game at this point in the season. Owens and Audige average a significant chunk of the 40-minute game total, with Scott not far behind.
Blair and Harvey contribute as well, and we might expect their numbers to go up in specific game situations during CAA play.
To conclude, we expect big things out of this freshman class. Given that these players were playing in high school just a year ago, and given the fact that they’re already contributing at a high level — this speaks volumes to each player, as well as the W&M coaching staff’s ability to recruit.
We’re looking forward to conference play, and seeing what this team can really do against its rivals.
LET’S GO TRIBE.