After Kentucky survived a scare from a Miami (OH) team that, although they are good at hockey, was just 104th in the Pomeroy ratings last year, the internet was all a flutter with John Wall’s debut. Meanwhile, Kansas, who beat last years 175 team Hofstra, got barely any ink for their Freshman, Xavier Henry, who happened to have a school record 27 points in his debut. Just for fun, let’s take a look at how they did side by side.
Wall had an OK day from the field, going 4-9, but Henry had a truly elite day as he made more threes (5) in as many field goals as Wall took total. Now, Wall did get to the line a fair share (10-14) so let’s calculate their true shooting percentages, which takes this into account
I’m assuming (hoping) I calculated these correctly, but assuming (again, hoping) that I did: wow. Granted Wall is a point guard and his job is more to facilitate than shoot, it is clear Henry blows him away on this front.
Speaking of facilitating, I won’t get too wonky with these next couple stats, but in 38 minutes played, John Wall had 5 assists (or 1 per 7.6 mins), while Henry had 2 in 24 mins (or 1 per 12 mins). Factoring in the fact that Wall is supposed to get assists and Henry is not, it becomes closer, but Wall certainly gets the edge here.
However, Wall also had 5 turnovers, for an Assist:Turnover of 1, whereas Henry didn’t turn the ball over at all.
Next, rebounding. Reading blogs about Wall, everyone was gushing about the fact that he was 6’2″, yet could rebound like a forward. Calculating a player’s rebounding percentage for one game can be a bit hairy significance wise, but I think in this case it will illustrate the disparity.
Neither player was an elite rebounder, but given the fact that Wall had to compete with Patrick Patterson (who was a good but not great rebounder) and DeMarcus Cousins for rebounds, while Henry has Cole Aldrich (elite rebounder), Marus Morris (decent rebounder) and Markeiff Morris (very good rebounder, although in limited playing time) for rebounds, Henry has to have the edge here, even factoring in his size advantage.
Even though Wall’s team was playing better opposition, it’s not as if they were playing Duke and Kansas was playing a D2 team. And remember, the CAA was a better conference than the MAC last year. Somehow, I doubt this will matter to all the pundits. Everyone will be raving over Wall’s last second shot that let Kentucky escape, while Henry’s unbelievable shooting game will go largely unnoticed.
But not by the Beadlemaniacs.