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Sketching Freshman Expectations

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Luke Winn:

Using the RSCI (the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, an aggregator of class rankings), I built a database of the top 100 recruits from the classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008, recording their ranking alongside their freshman-year statistics in a number of categories, the most telling being percent of overall minutes played, percent of possessions used while on the floor (to gauge the significance of their offensive role), and Offensive Efficiency Rating (to gauge how many points they'd score per 100 possessions used).

Check that out and then come back.  I'll wait.

Here's what Winn found as it pertains to our incoming freshmen:

Rank %Min ORTG %Poss
11-20s (Leslie) 57.4 104.7 22.3
21-30s (Brown, Harrow) 46.5 102.4 21.4


I didn't include it in the chart, but the averages for the top 10 group are particularly telling: 69.4/110.2/24.7.  Kids ranked in the top 10 rarely end up busts, and on the the average perform as efficient, major contributors right away.  The numbers for the next two groups, which I've listed above, aren't quite as decisive but still paint an encouraging picture for NC State.  Although kids in the 11-30 range generally don't come in and carry an offense, they contribute at an above-average rate and they do it efficiently.

Winn also broke down some of the averages by position:

Position %Min ORTG
PG (Harrow) 67 103
SG (Brown) 58 103
SF (Leslie) 64 107


As far as our situation is concerned, I think this paints a more accurate picture in terms of playing time.  Though I'd take the over on both Brown and Leslie.

So what do these numbers suggest about the offense as a whole?  Using one of the methods shown here, I calculated the weighted offensive rating of NC State's most common starting lineup last season.  I got a weighted offensive rating of 101, which also happens to match the team's raw offensive efficiency (1.01 pts/poss).

It's tough to project that number for next season, but I went ahead and made an educated guess.  Our most efficient lineup--Harrow, Brown, Wood, Leslie, Macrowave--ends up with a weighted offensive rating around 105.  The assumptions necessary to come up with that figure: that last year's players will have the same offensive rating and workload that they did in 2010, and that the freshmen will put up the averages we would expect based on Winn's research.  Of course, there's no way those things happen, to say nothing about the starting lineup.  But I think these are some good ballpark figures for the offense and the incoming freshmen.

As a side note, here's how the other top-100 players that Lowe brought in fared:

Rank %Min ORTG %Poss
1-10s 69.4 110.2 24.7
JJ Hickson (#9)
71.5 107.3 26.8


Rank %Min ORTG %Poss
61-70s 33.1 101.2 18.4
Tracy Smith (#63)
13.7 105.9 19.7


Rank %Min ORTG %Poss
61-70s 33.1 101.2 18.4
Richard Howell (#60)
28.2 92.8 24.0

(Howell's %Min in ACC play: 33.2.)