Previewing NC Central

(Pomeroy moved his stats behind a paywall, so there will be no more links to the scouting reports and such. Sorry about that. Statsheet has all the same data, it just isn't as well organized.)
2011 Stats
2012 Roster
2012 Schedule

NCCU Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.2 119
Turnover Rate 25.8 320
Off Reb Rate 30.6 231
FTA/FGA 44.2 68
NCCU Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.8 131
Turnover Rate 23.2 318
Off Reb Rate 29.8 262
FTA/FGA 37.6 174

You can say this about North Carolina Central: no longer are they among the 10 worst teams in I-A basketball. Good timing too, because their transitional period is over and they're officially in the MEAC at the I-A level, though why they wanted any of those things I could not tell you.

But head coach LaVelle Moton has been able to reel in some solid high-major transfers, led by former Kansas State Wildcat Dominique Sutton, and while they're still far from anything approaching a genuine mid-major terror, they were picked to finish in the middle of the MEAC, which is actually an impressive accomplishment given their, uh, humble I-A beginnings. (In 2008, the first year of their transition period to I-A and the first year they played a I-A schedule, they averaged 0.78 points per possession at the offensive end.)

A warning about NCCU's 2011-12 player stats: four of the nine games they've played have been against D-II teams. There was Johnson & Wales, which I think makes a fine shampoo; there was Barber-Scotia, which hell if I know. And Morris. We can't forget poor Morris. Here's some video from after the team's loss to Central earlier this year.

Starters:

Ray Willis (6-6, 164) -- Willis comes to NC Central from Oklahoma, where he played sparingly and was really bad. He's been solid in his first year with the Eagles, though he still needs to prove he has some form of outside shot. As it is, there ain't much reason to respect him beyond the arc (save the law of NC State Shit). He is second on the team in scoring on the strength of his solid two-point shooting, but I have to imagine that State's size will bother him quite a bit. And at 164 pounds, he's going to get pushed around.

Emanuel Chapman (6-1, 160) -- May not start but his stat line is too good to pass up. He has attempted 16 shots in 223 minutes, or 2.9 shots for every 40 minutes of playing time. That's good for a shot percentage barely over 5.0. It's tough to be more invisible at the offensive end than that, at least from a scoring workload perspective. His assist rate is north of 40%, and he's turning the ball a ton as well. Now, there will never be another Quentin Thomas. There never could be another Quentin Thomas. But this guy comes about as close as anyone I can remember in terms of his erratic assisty-ness.

Landon Clement (6-2, 180) -- Clement spent two largely unsuccessful years at UNC-Greensboro before making the move to Central, but he's been a completely different player since that transition. Last year he made 40.7% of 268 three-point attempts, and he's 33-75 this year, which means he is a legitimate three-point threat, competition aside. His turnover and free throw rates are low, as you might expect from a shooting guard. He's a guy you want to smother along the perimeter and force to dribble into the lane.

Dominique Sutton (6-5, 212) -- Sutton spent three seasons at Kansas State, two of which as a major part of the Wildcats' rotation. He never established an outside shot, and Wolfpack defenders need to be aware of the fact that he's not going to take many (if any) three-pointers. He's been a solid interior scorer throughout his career, and a good offensive rebounder as well. Those things have carried over to Central, and he did those things well enough and long enough at K-State that we can safely assume they're true skills and not schedule-related. Sutton leads the Eagles in both scoring and rebounding. Since he is a legit high-major talent, Central may rely on him more than they have at any point this year.

Nick Chasten (6-7, 216) -- He'll shoot inside and out, but his best bet is inside the arc, where he's really improved his shooting accuracy over the course of his career. In 2011 he hit 60% of 209 two-point shots, and he's in that neighborhood early in 2012 as well. Solid offensive rebounder who doesn't turn the ball over a lot.

Bench:

Jeremy Ingram (6-3, 175), Ebuka Anyaorah (6-4, 194), Karamo Jarawa (6-7, 215). They do have some legit forward-type-looking guys on this team, but these are the only players who have logged significant minutes in the rotation this year. Anyaorah has been a solid outside shooter this season, while Jarawa has made the best of severely limited shooting opportunities. Good offensive rebounder so far, too. Ingram is more of question mark, but he'll try to score from all over.

NCCU Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 51.0 262
Turnover Rate 22.2 58
Off Reb Rate 35.0 281
FTA/FGA 42.9 266
NCCU Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 54.2 308
Turnover Rate 22.4 113
Off Reb Rate 34.1 216
FTA/FGA 39.8 226

While Moton has upgraded the talent in the program and improved the offense from suck to blow, the defense ... she still is not so good. It's very important to have tall people on your basketball team. Makes stuff easier, and in many cases, more amusing. But mainly it makes stuff like defending the paint or jumping up and getting a missed shot before the other team a lot easier.

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