What To Expect From Dion Wiley

 

(Discuss the article here.)

A lot of commotion has been made about the comments Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com said regarding Dion Wiley and his potential upside. Per Johnny Boy himself:

Dion Wiley reminds me of another Sean Kilpatrick. 6-4 and rock solid. Should have a terrific career at Maryland. Needs to score in reserve.

For those who don’t know, Sean Kilpatrick was one of the more accomplished players in Cincinnati Bearcats history. A second-team All-American his senior year, Kilpatrick was a 20+ PPG scorer last season and a career 15 and 6 guy at Cincy. The comparison at first is very high, but when you think back on Kilpatrick’s game, the resemblance is uncanny. The quick release from deep, the smooth finishing in the lane and crafty passing, the 6’4″ sturdy frame; Rothstein may have hit the nail on the head with that one.

While Kilpatrick is very high praise for a kid who hasn’t played a minute of collegiate hoops, we’re more focused on the role Rothstein views Wiley performing within the confines of the team. As a reserve his freshman season, Kilpatrick averaged 9.7 points per game and shot 37% from deep. Those are really good raw numbers for a Big East freshman (the old Big East), and were good for putting Kilpatrick third on the team in scoring behind Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon. That team was also a #6 seed in the tournament, too.

But Kilpatrick was also a year older than the competition when he got started, having redshirted his freshman year because Lance Stephenson chose Cincy over Maryland and they played the same position, in addition to playing a prep season back in high school. Kilpatrick wasn’t even in the same stratosphere a recruit as Dion Wiley, even though (in retrospect) he was stupid skilled at scoring.

All that is to stymie some of those expectations a bit. Wiley is young, on a team with more established scorers than Cincinnati had at the time, and won’t be asked to become the #3 scorer for the Terps, not by a long shot. With Wells, Layman and Smotrycz on the roster, there is simply no reason to suspect that the Terps will lean that much on Wiley right away. With Romelo Trimble thrown into the mix, that’s even more of a certainty.

But Wiley is likely going to pair up with Richaud Pack to be the definitive anchors of the second unit for Maryland, and with that will come a lot of opportunities to score. And as a supposed top 15 shooting guard in the country (for his class), Wiley should be capable of contributing along the lines of some other guys within a few spots of his ranking. So let’s look at that for starters.

In that 10-15 range of shooting guards, there’s usually some real talent to be had there. Lets take a look at some of the players that range of recruit has produced over the past three years that 247sports.com has been doing these rankings:

2013|2012|2011:

10: Brannen Greene, Kansas| Stephen Domingo, Georgetown| Wayne Blackshear, UL

11: Matt Jones, Duke| Gabe York, Arizona|Levi Randolph, Alabama

12: Conner Frankamp, Kansas| Aaron Thomas, Florida State|Sir’Dominic Pointer, SJ

13: Xavier Rathan-Mayes, FSU| Jordan Price, Auburn|Ben McLemore, Kansas

14: Zach LaVine, UCLA| Torian Graham|Nick Faust, Maryland

15: Anton Gill, UL| Nik Stauskas, Michigan|Rashad Madden, Arkansas

When we look at these 18 players, the underlying trend is that while the majority aren’t freshmen phenoms, many of them were more than capable players. Zach LaVine hit the most three pointers by a freshman in UCLA history, while Aaron Thomas was a solid contributor at Florida State with his deep shooting. Even the notorious Nicky Baltimore was a decent contributor his first year in college. Obviously Ben McLemore was a supreme talent for Kansas, but he’s an exception; one of every six players in this group is an NBA player.

But this group very much tends to produce specialists. Stauskas, Thomas, LaVine, Faust — all billed as shooters coming out of high school. Wiley, too, has been pegged as exactly that. But he’s better lumped into a group with Rathan-Mayes, Thomas, and Faust rather than those NBA types. Doubly so when you consider the roster he’s walking into.

Wiley’s probably best-suited as the sidekick to someone as well. In high school he won a state championship playing alongside Randall Broddie, and him not being a naturally aggressive scorer should come in handy when he’s spelling Wells with a proven shooter in Pack on the court at the same time.

Turgeon hinted to Rothstein that Wells is probably going to have to play some point guard again this year, but that’s never ideal. There’s probably an equally probably scenario wherein Pack plays the point, and even Wiley when they’re on the court at the same time. Both Wiley and Pack played point in high school, but neither will provide much better or worse than Wells. Still, it’ll allow all three to get rest.

Maryland played a total of 3, 673 minutes of basketball last year, and the minute breakdown was as follows:

1016: Jake Layman

980: Dezmine Wells

876: Nick Faust

865: Evan Smotrycz

601: Charles Mitchell

594: Seth Allen

484: Roddy Peters

440: Shaquille Cleare

291: Jonathan Graham

166: Damonte Dodd

115: Varun Ram

45: Auslander, Susskind, Barks, Lipinski, Metz

With the departures, Maryland loses 2,995 minutes! You read that correctly. 2,995 minutes that need to be eaten up. At first the number is daunting, but when it’s broken down the entire thing is more manageable.

The big man departures (Mitchell, 601 MP and Cleare, 440 MP) should be subtracted from that group, leaving us with 1,954 minutes to play.

Let’s also exclude point guard minutes (Allen, 594 MP and Peters 484 MP) from that total for obvious reasons. We’re now left with 876 minutes — Faust’s exact total. Varun Ram played 115 minutes for Maryland last year, but I expect that to plummet to zero next year, so we’ll add his (plus the other bench guys 45 minutes) to the mix to get to a round 1,036 minutes.

Wiley is likely going to end up playing somewhere in the range of 450 to 550 minutes; below Seth Allen’s massive total he racked up in his return from injury and higher than Peter’s limited minutes after Allen returned. In that time, Allen attempted 219 shots (pretty high) while Peters took 123 shots (a little low). If we split the difference, we can come to Wiley attempting somewhere in the range of 160 shots, which sounds like a pretty fair number. That’s exactly five shots a game, but it could easily be closer to six. That would come closely to replicating Charles Mitchell’s performance.

If you figure that Wiley will take at least a  couple three pointers a game, and hit them at a decent rate, there’s no reason why he couldn’t average somewhere in the range of eight points per game. If Wiley plays a role like that his first year, he could easily get a great start to his career. Not being asked to do too much while providing more efficient scoring than what Mitchell was able to provide off the bench last year.

Rothstein wasn’t far off with his prediction when you look at the numbers, despite how high the praise was initially.

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Would Ubaldo Jimenez Succeed in the Bullpen?

There’s been a lot of discussion on the BSL board about what the Orioles should do with their glut of #3-#5 pitchers given that Ubaldo Jimenez is set to come off the DL shortly. Complicating matters, as Chris mentions in this thread, is that both Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris both threw good games against one of the best teams in baseball. The idea of putting the O’s new $50 million pitcher in the bullpen is likely a far-fetched one for a variety of off-the-field reasons. However, would Ubaldo be successful if the O’s DID decide to move him out there?

 On the board Joe posed that vary question:

“Do we trust Ubaldo with his walk history in the pen?”

BSL Forum

It’s a fair question, and one that’s pretty complex. I won’t dig into too many of the details, but I’ll try to assess the tip of this very unlikely iceberg.

Ubaldo would likely benefit greatly from transitioning to being a three-pitch pitcher out of the bullpen. His slider and curveball have been crushed this season (both with BAA over .345). On the flip side his fastball, sinker, and splitter have done much better (BAA of .233, .229, .186 respectively). The fastball and sinker are pitches that he’s throwing for strikes around 30% of the time, and the splitter has a whiff rate of 13.64%. This would become his out pitch essentially.

Other relievers have succeeded with this repertoire, including one of the best closers in baseball: Koji Uehara. Koji throws his fourseamer about 56% of the time, and his splitter 38% of the time. He’ll mix in other pitches like a cutter or a curve, but essentially those are his two go-to pitches. Ubaldo would take the same approach throwing primarily fourseam fastballs and sinker to get ahead, with the splitter being the put-away pitch.

He’s done a good job keeping the splitter down so far this season, and you’d expect that to continue in the bullpen. Here’s a chart of his splitter locations:

UntitledOn top of that, we’d be seeing a lot more groundballs out of Jimenez than he has when starting. That’s because his sinker (50%) and splitter (57%) generate a ton of ground balls. If he used those two pitches far more often, he’d be generating groundballs that would surely be scooped up by the O’s excellent infield defense.

Moving Ubaldo to the bullpen isn’t a likely outcome, but it’s one that could be successful. Granted, that requires he change his approach a bit, but it’s something to consider given the tumultuous season he’s had in 2014.

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Project 2014: Darius Kilgo

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Image Credit: 247Sports

2013 Statistics: 37 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, 1 pass broken up

Best Game: vs. West Virginia (3 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, 0 passes broken up)

Worst Game: vs. Syracuse (0 tackles, 0.0 tackles for loss, 0.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, 0 passes broken up)

(Discuss this article on the BSL Message Board here.)

Whenever a football team at any level makes the move to a 3-4 defensive style, the most concerning position for coaches is the nose tackle position. In fact, the main reason why so few teams run the 3-4 defense, especially at the college level, is the lack of players who can truly be that dominant nose tackle that you need to have success in the 3-4 defense. Luckily for Brian Stewart and the Maryland Terrapins, they have Darius Kilgo to anchor the center of their defensive line.

In 2012, Kilgo played between two of the best defensive lineman to grace College Park in the last decade, A.J. Francis and Joe Vellano. They teamed up to form a dominant defensive line, and led the Terps’ defense to national recognition. They were one of the best run defenses in the country that season, and Darius Kilgo was a big reason for that. In 2013, Francis and Vellano had graduated, so Kilgo was playing between two new players. He didn’t show the dominance that he had in 2012, but still played the tough nose tackle position very well. His senior season should be one to watch, as he should get a chance to show his talents to an NFL team at some point after he graduates.

In order to play the nose tackle position in a 3-4 defense, you must be both a gifted athlete and a big man. Most nose tackles are a good bit heavier than 300 pounds, and Kilgo weighs in at 310 pounds. While you have to be big to play the nose tackle position, you also have to be agile enough to cover two gaps in the offensive line. While a traditional 4-3 defensive tackle is only responsible for one gap, the nose tackle in a 3-4 defense is responsible for two, making the position too difficult for many players.

In a 4-3 defense, the line is normally constructed such that the two defensive tackles are good run stoppers, and the two defensive ends are good pass rushers. This leaves the three linebackers, who are normally smaller and help in coverage a good portion of the time. A 3-4 defense is different in that most of the defensive line is dedicated to stopping the run, while the two outside linebackers are the team’s best pass rushers.

In the 3-4 defense, the strong side defensive end is normally the better pass-rushing defensive lineman. However, he must also be able to stop the run, and is normally much bigger than a traditional 4-3 defensive end. Andre Monroe is a good example of this for the Terps. The weak side defensive end is normally a small 4-3 defensive tackle, who moves outside and stops the run from there. He is not usually much of a pass rusher. Keith Bowers is a good example of this for Maryland. The nose tackle is a pure run stopper, able to clog the middle of the offensive line, and make sure tackles on the ball-carrier. As I mentioned above, most nose tackles are above 300 pounds, and they have to be that large in order to fully execute their assignments. Darius Kilgo fits this mold very well.

The front 7 of the Maryland Terrapins defense in 2014 should feature between 5 and 6 seniors, depending on who wins Marcus Whitfield’s old outside linebacker position. The middle of the defense will be anchored by seniors, with Darius Kilgo at nose tackle and Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree at the two inside linebacker positions. The Terps will be looking for Darius Kilgo to have a big year for them as they go up against some of the best power running teams in the country. While he will likely sit out for the majority of games against spread teams like James Madison, West Virginia, and Indiana, he will be needed in a big way for the team’s games against the powerful running styles of Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan.

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