Friday, July 11, 2008

Trevon Hughes

Haven't been thinking too much about basketball lately, but Trevon Hughes popped into my consciousness the other day. He was obviously a big reason for last season's unexpected success, but how did he stack up individually against his predecessor, Kam Taylor? Let's go to the stats:

Trevon Hughes, 2007-08: 11.2 points per game, 2.5 assists, 2.1 turnovers per game, 1.8 steals, 3.1 rebounds, 39.4% FG, 31.4% 3-point FG, 68.8% FT. Team: 67.2 ppg, 44.9% FG offense, 54.4 ppg, 38.3% FG defense

Kammron Taylor, 2006-07: 13.3 points per game, 1.9 assists, 1.7 turnovers, 0.5 steals, 2.2 rebounds, 42.1% FG, 38.4% 3-point FG, 79% FT. Team: 70.2 ppg, 46% FG offense, 57.9 ppg, 41% FG defense

So what can we tell from these numbers? Not much that we didn't already know. Hughes played on a more balanced team (lower scoring average), is more of a pure point guard (more assists per game), and isn't as good of a shooter as Kam (field goal percentage). I was surprised to see that Kam had so few steals per game compared to Pop - not necessarily the best measure of a defender, but in this case it's telling.

What do we need from Pop as a junior? He needs to raise his scoring average and field goal percentage by a couple points with the departure of Brian Butch and Michael Flowers. His free throw percentage needs to rise a few points at least, although J-Bo is still our better guy to give the ball in obvious fouling situations at the end of games. It would be nice, but not critical, to see him average another assist per game.

The thing I'd like to see less of next season from Hughes is those minor injuries. He is too important to the team to miss time so often, especially without Flowers as the obvious fill-in at the point. Ironically, had Hughes not been hurt for the Texas game, the magnitude of that win might have been less and the team may not have had the emotional boost heading into Big Ten play that it got in Austin.

It's always been a topic of conversation that the Swing offense doesn't need a true point guard, which is why teams with a Taylor have thrived. Hughes was the first true point guard to run the Badgers since Devin Harris in 2003-04, and it worked out pretty well. It will be fun to see how much better Pop will get as he makes minor improvements to his game.