Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Seth Curry Shot Chart, Nolan's POTY, Jalen Rose

Good morning, children of March. You feeling the groove? You feeling the hot energy of postseason play seeping from the waking world into your cold blood?


That's the chorus to "Net Gain," my rap song about March Madness. I'm still pretty much just in the shopping-it-around stage of things, you know? A lot of interest, though...a lot of interest.

So much that I've taken the shot-making chart up a notch. For Seth Curry, I didn't just do three-pointers, and I didn't just cluster them in zones. This time, each shot on the floor is more or less exactly where he shot from. Caveats:

*As usual, the CBS game shot charts I took from were not 100% accurate. I was pretty meticulous in my plotting, but at the end I had Seth 57-130 from three. He was actually 56-128. Pretty close, especially considering the sample size, and as before there's no good way to know where CBS goofed. Not without tape.

*My court dimensions, as you see, are not exact. There may be like a 2-3 foot distortion of certain shots. Not much more than that, but I want the perfectionists to know what they're seeing.

*I should have said this before, even though it's pretty obvious; when I talk about right side and left side, make sure you flip it from the chart in your mind. The left side of the screen is actually the right side of the court since the basket is at the bottom rather than the top.

*On the year, Seth Curry is 43.8% from three. He's 38.8% from inside the arc. He's attempted 128 threes, and just 80 shots from inside. The man is a true bomber. My friend Nick had what I thought was an excellent and logical point: he'd probably shoot like 55% from half court. Behold.

As you see, his only real "bad" zone is the left corner, where he shoots 28%. It also happens to be his second-most frequent shooting spot. That's one really interesting thing about making these charts; the players shoot a lot from the cold zones.

With Nolan, his "coldest" zone was the left wing, and he shot more threes from there (42) than any other spot on the floor. Singler was more efficient, shooting the most threes (61) from his hottest zone (right wing). But he also shot 58 from the very cold left wing, showing that he doesn't discriminate between sides of the floor. And Seth takes his second-highest frequency of threes from the cold left corner.

That being said, the man shoots 51.3% from threes on the right side of the floor.

Repeat: The man shoots 51.3% from threes on the right side of the floor.

Incredible. 37-72. On the other hand, he's really poor from like 10 feet away from the basket a little above the baseline; as you see, he's 3-14 in that little cluster. His low 2-point percentage overall (only 6-14 on layups) shows that he needs to work on finishing. Which is to be expected; he's playing in a better conference, and he's not the biggest dude on the planet.

So there's Seth. Moving on to big news:

Nolan Smith is ACC Player of the Year.

"I came back knowing I was going to be a (shooting) guard and playing alongside Kyrie, and at the same time, I prepared if anything, God forbid, happened," Smith said. "And it did, and I was ready, and (coach Mike Krzyzewski) called my number. He was like, 'It's your time to lead this team. You're ready.' And I said, 'I've got you,' and it worked out well."

He received 73 first-place votes out of a possible 75. The other two players receiving votes? Jordan Williams and Kyle Singler.

Yes, you read that correctly: Kyle Singler got a vote for ACC POTY. Who would possibly vote for him? Unfortunately, the votes aren't public, because some public ridicule is in order. I mean, did they even watch the season?

Anyway, no harm, no foul. Roy Williams got coach of the year (I would've picked Donahue, but I guess Roy is a good pick), Harrison Barnes got freshman of the year (should've been Marshall), and John Henson was the defensive player of the year (no-brainer).

In news that certainly isn't bad, Nolan was also voted National Player of the Year by two media outlets: and This probably has zero bearing on the Naismith or Wooden Awards. And there are other voices out there; CBS gave it to Jimmer. I'm not holding my breath.

Back to Singler for a moment. Yesterday, I came across this article from the Winston-Salem Journal about the slump. It's just okay, but it does have some comments on the topic from Coach K. As you'd expect, he's supportive and, at least in public, hopeful:

"He just hasn't shot well," Krzyzewski said. "It's such a tough thing. It's a deep, precise thing you do in basketball, shoot the ball, unless you're an inside player, and you're powering it. He's got to just keep at it.

"Last year there were times when he didn't shoot well. And then all of a sudden he's the MVP of the ACC Tournament. I think he was 0 for 10 against Baylor (in the NCAA Tournament South Regional) and he's the MVP in the Final Four.

"I know he'd like to see the darn thing go in. There's nobody that wants it to go in more than he does. But I'm right behind him."

The writer points out that Singler is 2 for his last 19 from three since the Virginia game, and only 30 for 83 overall. Unlike Coach K, I'm not super confident that anything's going to change. Aside from a few good games, it's been an entire year of disappointing shooting, and as Nasty's chart from yesterday showed, the entire style of his play is altered. He's less involved in the offense, for one reason or another, and his assists and inside points have suffered. I'm not sure if he came into this year trying to re-define himself as a pure jump shooter, or what, but as of now he's doing a poor impression of J.J. Redick. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think that whatever Singler lost can be turned back on overnight.

And then there was this. Jalen Rose, former Fab 5'er, had some pretty hard words for Duke. "I hated Duke," he said. "I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms." Check the video:

The meat of the issue is this quote from Rose:

"Well, certain schools recruit a typical kind of player whether the world admits it or not. And Duke is one of those schools,” he said. “They recruit black players from polished families, accomplished families. And that’s fine. That’s okay. But when you’re an inner-city kid playing in a public school league, you know that certain schools aren’t going to recruit you. That’s one. And I’m okay with it. That’s how I felt as an 18-year-old kid."

As you might imagine, this caused quite a stir in the Duke world yesterday. Some people were pissed. But here's the thing: he's not wrong.

He was wrong about using the label "Uncle Tom." That's nonsense, because it connotes an abject, servile black person who's always bending over backward to please white people at the expense of his own people. The players recruited by Duke had no say about the circumstances into which they were born, and they shouldn't have to apologize or be stigmatized. In Rose's defense, though, he was speaking to his feelings as an 18-year-old kid from Detroit. That's probably what he thought at the time, and that's probably what he was being told.

And here's where I sympathize with Rose: Duke really does recruit a certain kind of black player (and white player, for that matter). Yes, you can find exceptions. Absolutely. What I'm saying is not true 100% of the time. But by and large, the black players Duke goes after come from either middle class or affluent families. Some of them are sons of former NBA players and others just happen to be well-off for a variety of other reasons. But it's happened too often, with too much frequency, to be considered anything other than a trend. Coach K obviously has an ideal kind of player, and a talented black kid from a poor, urban environment is not that player.

So if you were Rose, how would you feel? Why wouldn't Duke recruit him? If I were him, my suspicion would be that Coach K and the Duke program in general didn't trust blacks from the inner city. That they doubted their character and intelligence based only on their origins; that there was something inherently less reliable about Jalen Rose than Grant Hill, that they were worse as people. Of course you'd resent the Duke program. It would feel like a silent, legal form of discrimination. It would feel like a white establishment propping up black players and families who were like them and hanging the 'real' black culture out to dry. You'd feel like dirt in their eyes, and you'd feel hopeless, and then you'd feel angry.

I'm not saying Jalen Rose is right in his beliefs or that Coach K is wrong in his recruiting practices. I'm just saying I understand how Rose feels, especially as an 18-year-old kid. And he's expressing a common sentiment; you'll notice that Ray Jackson and Jimmy King aren't disagreeing. There's a deep bitterness on their part, and the fact that they never beat Duke stings more than any other loss. To beat Duke would have proved that Coach K was wrong about not recruiting them, and by extension wrong about the perceived stereotypes that urban black players everywhere have been trying to overcome for decades. You can tell it's something they deeply wanted, and it's a bitter pill to this day.

Anyway, I saw that Rose took some grief for the comments, and I thought they were sentiments worth defending. I can definitely see how he feels, and I know I'd feel the same way if I'd spent a childhood in his shoes.*

*(At the end of the day, though? Fuck Michigan.)


Arkansas Little-Rock, Butler, and Oakland punched their tickets last night. The Big East kicks into high gear today, with UConn and Georgetown squaring off at noon (I'm rooting for the scoreboard to fall) and the hometown Johnnies taking the floor at 2pm in a tough game against Rutgers.

Gothic Madness starts next week, and I still need e-mails from: Tim, Daniel, Lisa, Keith, Ty, Robert. I'll give you guys until about noon tomorrow, then I'll start recruiting newcomers.

Tomorrow morning I'll post an ACC preview. Later, I'll be sitting pretty at the ACC Tourney in Greensboro. My plan right now is to do some live updates throughout the day, especially during office hours. I'll talk mostly about the ACCT, obviously, but also about the day in MBB in general. It kicks off at noon with Virginia-Miami, a surprisingly enticing game. That's when the updates be poppin,' and I'll see you then.

I wish this video was less weird, but I don't wish the song was more awesome; we might pass out from the glory.


  1. Did you get mine? I sent it last night! I'll send it in a FB message.


  2. Got it, Lisa, thanks!


  3. Actually, no I don't. Drop me an e-mail if you can.


  4. And also, re: Jalen Rose. It would've been different, I guess, if he'd only criticized the Duke program and Coach K. That, like you said, is a valid point.

    But he had to lump in the recruits too. That's what pissed me off, the fact that he thinks his fellow black athletes "sold out." Would HE have turned down an opportunity to go to Duke? No way.


  5. Are you going to do an ACC tournament preview?

  6. Heck yea he would've turned Duke down, Michigan could definitely offer more money. Ba-dum-ching!

    Oh goodness ACC tourney time, what a titillating event.

    Roy winning ACC Coach of the year is laughable. A poster on the scout forums sums up my feelings pretty well:

    "Duke loses Kyrie Irving
    VT loses a bunch of guys
    FSU loses Singleton
    UNC loses all of their crappy players so Roy has no choice but to play his best"

  7. Jimmy King isn't doing anything to remove the "stigmatism" that inner city black kids are less intelligent. (2:15 to 2:25 of the video).

    I understand Rose's feelings as an 18 year old, but hearing a guy from a team that had to vacate both of their Final Four appearances because of NCAA violations criticize the Duke program is kind of ridiculous.

  8. Yes, ACC tourney preview tomorrow morning early.


  9. Marc, you're probably right; also, I think Roy has benefited from last year's shitshow. It looks like he rebuilt the program, to some extent.

    Lisa, totally agree. That's why the "Uncle Tom" comments didn't sit well. The recruits have nothing to do with it.

    Nasty, that's the tough part: too many of the college programs that do recruit inner city black kids have been outed as dirty. Like you said, it doesn't help the perception. Who would you (or anyone) say are middle ground type programs, who recruit everywhere but don't violate the rules? I'm thinking maybe Michigan St. is the best example.


  10. Chris Herren's SponsorMarch 9, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    I wonder what Jalen's buddy C-Webb thinks of his comments, considering Webber almost went to Duke. It's really interesting that the Fab 5 is remembered for just about everything but actually winning:

    1) Getting smoked 71-51
    2) Calling extra timeouts
    3) Wearing black socks
    4) NCAA violations
    5) No Big 10 championships

    Aside from the fact that he's totally wrong, it's just incredibly ignorant to defend those statements 20 years later. Off the top of my head, are these guys Uncle Tom's?

    Sean Dockery--west side of Chicago, issues with grades
    Shelden Williams--rape allegations
    Corey Maggette--Myron Piggie
    Elton Brand--grew up in Dunbar Heights housing project
    William Avery--not a scholastic all star
    Ricky Price--plagarism at Duke
    Roshown McLeod--from the inner city in Jersey City (even if he was a transfer)
    Chris Carrawell--from East St. Louis

    There are 'exceptions' and there are 'trends.' I'd say the above is more of a trend than an exception. Like every school, Duke recruits athletes from all backgrounds. People like Jalen keep race relations in neutral--keep it up moron.

  11. Chris Herren's SponsorMarch 9, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    The above should read "are all these guys from polished, well to do families?" Whoops.

  12. I occasionally visited Inside Carolina (because I'm an intellectual masochist) and it's funny that by the Georgia Tech loss they were having strokes over Roy not benching LDII for Kendall. One of their stalwarts even surmised that Roy was experiencing strokes (thus the near-fainting during games) and the debate over when he'd be "on the bubble" (one more NIT appearance, damnit!!) raged.

    So Turnover Jesus self-jettisons, KM does what everyone but Roy knew he would do, and Roy is Coach of the Year?

    To paraphrase SNL... "really???" (thanks, Jill)

  13. CHS, I mean, look at your examples:

    *A transfer
    *A guy from Oklahoma who was on the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Shelden)
    *A lot of players who had trouble AFTER coming to Duke.

    When you reduce it, you have maybe four or five guys who were really from "the streets." And you'll notice that none of your examples come from the last few years, which means that even if Coach K recruited poor black players, he seemed to back off from the practice.

    Sorry, but 4 guys is not a trend, it's an exception. The OVERWHELMING majority of black players at Duke fall into the other category. Just because some got in trouble after coming to Duke doesn't mean they fit the profile Rose was talking about.

    I do agree with you about the Fab 5, though. And I don't have a huge problem with whatever Coach K does on the recruiting trail. That's his business, and I think reading racism or anything into it is problematic. We don't know why they operate the way they do.


  14. Somehow this comment got deleted. This is starting to get annoying:

    CHS, look at your examples:

    *A transfer
    *A guy from Oklahoma who was on the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Shelden)
    *A lot of players who had trouble AFTER coming to Duke.

    When you reduce it, you have maybe four or five guys who were really from "the streets." And you'll notice that none of your examples come from the last few years, which means that even if Coach K recruited poor black players, he seemed to back off from the practice.

    Sorry, but 4 guys is not a trend, it's an exception. The OVERWHELMING majority of black players at Duke fall into the other category. Just because some got in trouble after coming to Duke doesn't mean they fit the profile Rose was talking about.

    I do agree with you about the Fab 5, though. And I don't have a huge problem with whatever Coach K does on the recruiting trail. That's his business, and I think reading racism or anything into it is problematic. We don't know why they operate the way they do.


  15. Chris Herren's SponsorMarch 9, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    "and I think reading racism or anything into it is problematic"

    And that's my problem with Jalen--he's basically calling Coach K a racist for not recruiting people from 'the hood.' (I know that's taking what he said out of context, but that's how I read it, and if I'm wrong, so be it--look at all those commas!) If you want to talk about racism and college basketball, the conversation starts with John Thompson II and ends with John Thompson III.

    Oh and that list I came up with earlier doesn't include guys we recruited and missed on such as John Wall (very recent).

  16. Let me get this straight. All of a sudden Mike Krzyzewski is a racist because the kids he recruits aren't black enough??? Good grief. I guess filling your roster with kick ass black players (Duke's list is lengthy) isn't enough. They have to be from the 'hood. I thought it was all about recruiting GOOD players (white or black or green or purple), winning basketball games and national titles. Now there are style points and political correctness? It's enough to make me sick.

  17. I'll throw some of the Big 5 coaches in for consideration as well: Jay Wright at 'Nova, Dunphy at Temple, and Phil Martelli at St. Joe's.

    I'm seeing a pattern:
    Post about religion = lots of comments
    Post about stats = few comments
    Post about race = lots of comments

    You should go on a rant about abortion tomorrow and really get those page views up :)

  18. Coach K is a West Point graduate. It shows -- the discipline, the standard operating procedures, the military-type precision in which he runs his program. There are a lot of kids who can't meet that challenge.

    Whenever I watch a Duke/UNC game I quickly recognize within the first few minutes that Carolina most always has more athleticism. Which, for me, makes me appreciate even more what Duke accomplishes year in and year out. But then, that's the military-type challenge in getting the most of out of one's players every day, both on the court and in life. Duke seems to be prepared to play pretty much every game compared to, say, Virginia Tech.

  19. I sent mine in a while ago.


  20. Where to start? Shane really hit the nail on the head, because it really doesn't matter what a bunch of educated white guys who read blogs (what a word) think. Maybe K's schtick doesn't play well in less-affluent housholds. Maybe the whole faux-gothic, private school thing is more appealing to other types of families you mention. Maybe urban black kids don't want to go anywhere with their Korean grocers' kids. Maybe it's because K is a fucking republican. At any rate, if the kid with teardrops tattooed on his face was the next John Wall, do you think would tell him "No, thanks"? Nevertheless, "Fuck Michigan" sums it up nicely.

    Also, the word you are looking for to describe your muse is "floater", not "bomber".


  21. I just sent you an email, let me know if you didnt receive it

    Also, I agree with anonymous, his recruiting style is much similar to those of the academies, and he runs his program similar to the 4 year program at west point.

  22. Nasty, tomorrow's headline is: "Why abortion should only mandatory for Protestants."

    Great call by anon on the military comparison. I was talking about this with my friend in the car tonight, and you can't say Coach K's strategy is motivated by race. You could easily say it's motivated by socio-economic background, to the extent that his strategies clearly show he's risk-averse in that regard, but that's up to him. Anyway, I do agree that he recruits kids who are more likely to buy into the system from day one.

    Mark, your reaction was a little harsh. Jalen Rose was essentially giving one perspective, and I thought it was interesting to hear the perception of Duke from his little corner of the world. Nothing more.


  23. Should only be* mandatory.


  24. The comment connecting Coach K to his West Point background hits the nail on the head. his program is all about discipline--if you don't fit that mold and can't accept it you better go elsewhere--i don't care what color you are or whether you're from the hood or the burbs !
    He's shown some mellowing, including recruiting players who might not stay 4 years.
    I can understand Roses's feelings but his conclusion is all wet. and yes the biggest racest in college basketball were A. Rupp and John Thompson !!

  25. Anon, I remember reading about Rupp in "Loose Balls," a great book about the ABA. He got hired as a consultant or something by some team, and one of the guys (white dude) was remembering how he was just constantly saying racist shit. Sounds like not a nice dude. Makes it poetic justice that he lost to the first all-black champions ever.