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Sophomore Point Guards at UNC

The Tar Heel basketball program has been the beneficiary of a long tradition of good-to-stellar play at the point guard position. As a result of this, as well as the departure of Ty Lawson, who authored one of the most scintillating seasons in Carolina (and ACC, for that matter) history, it is no surprise that the play of Larry Drew II has been among the most scrutinized aspects of a season that has been dissected more times than a med school cadaver, including here, where a little over a month ago I posted a column looking at UNC's guard play that included a comparison of Larry Drew's season to the sophomore campaigns of Ty Lawson, Raymond Felton, and Ed Cota. THF has recently asked me if I would update and expand this. With the help of our friends at SCACCHOOPS (who maintain a database that houses the career and single-season stats of every player who has ever played in the ACC) I have complied a list of the output of every PG who played 20 or more MPG (rounded) for UNC during their sophomore season. [Note: I have taken the liberty of classifying Steve Hale, Kenny Smith, and Jeff Lebo as PGs, though if they played now they would more likely be referred to as "zero-guards" and this list only dates back to the 1979-80 season because that is the first season in which MPG were tracked officially.]

[table id=25 /]

When looking at how Larry Drew's current season stacks up against the sophomore seasons of the UNC PGs who preceded him, it is clear that Drew's production is fairly comparable to everyone who is not named Ty Lawson.  His FG and FT percentages could be improved upon (45% and 75% would be nice) and he does not not get his hands on as many balls defensively as most of the others did, but steals can sometimes be more of an indicator of overall team defense, as opposed to what an individual is doing, so it is hard to know how much emphasis to put on that.  However, the rest of his numbers are fairly decent, and his assist-rate is second to only to Ed Cota, who is one of only 3 players in NCAA history to have more than 1,000 assists.

Drew's A/T ratio is currently 1.8, which, while by no means great (2.0+ is generally considered  good),  is not exactly terrible, either.  For instance, during their junior seasons, both of which culminated in National Titles, Raymond Felton and Derrick Phelps had A/T ratios of 1.9 and 1.7, respectively.  The problem with (the perception of) Drew's turnovers is really two-fold.  First, he is following a PG who had a 3.5 A/T ratio.  Ty Lawson played the game at such a high level and speed that it really warped the reality of what defines good PG play.  And second, some of his turnovers tend to be "spectacular" and possibly (probably?) avoidable with just a few slight adjustments (bounce passes, subtract a few MPH, teammates being more aware of passing style, etc.)  Some will also argue that consistency has been a big problem with Larry's season, and with respect to shooting, that is is correct, but it does not necessarily hold with respect to his A/T ratio.  If we again look at Felton's junior season, he had 8 games (21.6% of the season) in which he had an A/T ratio of less than 1 and 4 games in which it was less than 0.5.  Drew, on the other hand, has only had 4 games (15.4%) this season with an A/T ratio less than one, and Tuesday was his first game in which it was less than 0.5.

One thing that should also be pointed out is that, with the exception of Adam Boone, all of the other players on this list had backcourt mates who were (considerably) more talented than Drew currently does.  We have already seen, in limited minutes, what a difference the presence of Dexter Strickland has on Larry Drew's performance.

[Note:  I do not have any data to back this up, but I would suspect that the jump in rebound rate, starting with Derrick Phelps, can be attributed to an increased use of the 3-point shot.  The 1990-91 season would have been the first season in which all players had been recruited with the  3-point shot in mind.]