Now that the basketball season is over, it's time to start taking stock. First up: the freshmen. I assault you eyes with numbers after the jump.
Overall, I think Wood had a successful--if inconsistent--debut. He took an appropriate percentage of the shots; the problem was the distribution of those attempts. Nineteen 3FGAs against FSU and Clemson, five 3FGAs in the two games that followed. Eight against UNC, two the next time out. Eleven against Georgia Tech, two the next time out. He took more threes against FSU in the ACC tournament than he did in the previous five games combined.
When he hit a few, he was more inclined to find his shot, or go up with a hand in his face. When he didn't start fast, he was much more conservative within the offense, taking shots only when open. That's not a bad thing. I'm not knocking Wood for his inconsistency. Some of the fault there lies with the offense, because he needs help in order to get looks. And the guards weren't exactly drawing a lot of attention from defenses with their dribble penetration. Down the stretch, I think Sid made a more concerted effort to have Wood on the same side of the court as Tracy, a good way to give Wood opportunities in lieu of running a bunch of screens for him. That adjustment should have come sooner.
I like his patience. He's not Terrence Oglesby, firing up unnecessary 25-footers at every turn. With Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown drawing more attention from defenses next season, hopefully we'll see Wood become that 2-5 guy we need him to be every night.
To put Howell's rebounding numbers in perspective, I looked at individual rebounding percentages going back to the 1999-00 season. Howell is the third-best offensive rebounder we've had over that span, and the best defensive rebounder:
Tracy (2009) -- 17.4
Thornton (2001) -- 12.5
Howell (2010) -- 11.9
Hickson (2008) -- 11.8
Inge (2001) -- 11.5
Howell (2010) -- 26.0
Thornton (2000) -- 22.2
Hickson (2008) -- 21.8
Thornton (2001) -- 21.6
Melvin (2004) -- 20.3
Howell is arguably the best pure rebounder of the decade. His numbers held up nicely in conference play, too. That's the good news. He probably took more shots than he should've (he definitely took more jumpers than he should've), and he committed a lot of turnovers. Those are signs of a player that doesn't fully understand his limitations. I've seen enough to believe he can be an efficient scorer in the paint; he just needs to play with a little more restraint. And find a way to cut down on fouls.
If there is an x-factor on the existing roster, Howell is it. He's got to get to a point where the coaches can trust him to play 60-65 percent of the minutes next season. The more time he spends on the floor, the greater an impact his outstanding rebounding will have on games. We need that.
Josh Davis displayed a clear understanding of his limitations and did exactly what was asked of him--namely, bring the hustle. He's not likely to ever be an effective scorer at this level, and I don't know how much room there is for him next year, but it's nice to know that we have a guy who is willing to handle the little things.
It's a shame the coaches couldn't find a few more minutes here and there for Big V, but the team eventually started playing good defense without him, so it's hard to complain too much. Vandenberg will grab some defensive boards and block shots when he's needed; everything else needs a lot of work. Lock him in the gym and throw away the key.
Painter showed some flashes but, like Howell, he needs to cut out the jumpers for the time being.