MBB: How deep is this bench going to be?

If you scrunch up your eyes and look at this roster, you might think, "We've got to play all of them!" And I think you can make a reasonable case for just about everyone. (I'm going to include Kam, but I am skeptical that his wavier request will get approved)

  • We've got six guys who have started 42 or more games. They will get a lot of minutes.
  • Middlebrooks started 11 games last season at CU. He'll be 'Dusan II' (sigh), certain to split minutes with DJ at center.
  • MJ Rice didn't play much last season due to injuries and a strong starter in front of him. He's a 6'5" 215 and can play 1-4, according to what we're hearing. That fits Keatts' system well, a la Bryce & Dorn. And he is the gem of Keatts' recruiting career. He'll get all the minutes he can handle.
  • That leaves our four traditional HS recruits, Breon, Ernest, LJ, and Dennis, plus Diarra. Breon and Ernest are juniors, know the system well, and deserve minutes. LJ is an outstanding 3PT shooter who looked pretty good all around as a freshman last year. Dennis is a 6'6" 205 guard, the size and skills that Keatts loves. Diarra is an unknown. He's 6'10" 215 (considerably lighter than DJ or Ben) and we hear he is very athletic and was poorly used at Missouri.
Historically, (reference: ) Keatts has averaged playing 10.67 scholarship players, (I've ignored the walk-ons) but that number comes with a mile long list of caveats. The roster tightens down once conference season starts. The average minutes played is based on number of games, so skews the numbers a bit. (Example, Ian Steere played 5 minutes in only one game, avg is 5 min per game) And our never ending run of injuries gives minutes to players that might not have gotten as many.
But if you look at the pattern over six seasons, it's surprisingly consistent.

Minutes played: number of scholarship players averaging those minutes for the season
0-5 mins: 3
5-9 mins: 9
10-14 mins: 9
15-19 mins: 9
20-24 mins: 8
25-29 mins: 13
30-35 mins: 10
35+ mins: 3

  • Under 5 minutes - Nick Farrar (20-21) only played 7 games, 3 mins per. Manny Bates (21-22) and AJ Taylor (19-20) only played one game that season.
  • Over 35 minutes - Seabron (21-22), Joiner (22-23) and Morsell (22-23)
So if you toss out the outliers, use the player counts to create percentages, and round to whole numbers, we can guess this pattern of player minutes per game based on Keatts' history.

5-9 Mins: 2 players
10-14 mins: 2 players
15-19 mins: 2 players
20-24 mins: 1 player
25-29 mins: 2 players
30-35 mins: 2 players

This suggests it likely that - at best - only 11 players would get at least 5 minutes per game, so I'll assume Woods sits out the season, but not sure who the other will be but I'll guess Diarra. Based on our disturbing recent past, injuries will probably influence that.
What gets you minutes in Keatts' system? There are intangibles to be factored in based on practice, but there are also some obvious metrics. Team leaders based on last season:
  • Scoring: Taylor 12.9 ppg, Burns 12.5 ppg, Horne 12.5 ppg, Morsell 11.8 ppg
  • Rebounding: Burns 4.8 rpg, Morsell 4.4 rpg, Taylor 3.8 rpg
  • Assists: O'Connell 3.1 apg, Horne 2.4 apg
  • Steals: Taylor 1.3 spg, Horne 1.1 spg, Morsell 1.1 spg
  • Experience (GP / GS): Burns 124 / 89, Horne 120 / 107, Morsell 117 / 70, O'Connell 89 / 76, Taylor 65 / 42
Not surprisingly, those five guys, Burns, Morsell, Horne, Taylor, and O'Connell are likely to get the most minutes.

Best guess at who gets the minutes this season:

5-9 Mins: 2 players (Pass, Parker Jr)
10-14 mins: 2 players (Thomas, Ross)
15-19 mins: 2 players (Middlebrooks, Rice)
20-24 mins: 1 player (O'Connell)
25-29 mins: 2 players (Taylor, Burns)
30-35 mins: 2 players (Morsell, Horne)