Note: All statistics in this post are from ESPN.com or the magical spreadsheet that I pump the ESPN.com statistics into.
Oliver Purnell's system has opened up a whole new genre of basketball to the fans at DePaul University. The pressing, attacking offensive style makes for some super-fast paced games and some odd scores. It also really distorts facts. For instance, the Blue Demons are 104th in points scored, but actually rank 221st in offensive efficiency.
Thus, the easiest way to find the truth in the statistics is to jump into the world of tempo-free. Has anything really changed? How are the freshman doing? Who is playing well? That's what I'll attempt to answer after the break.
After Mac Koshwal left early and Will Walker graduated, someone had to take over the load on offense. Welcome Mike Stovall into the fold. Apparently he really wants to be this team's go-to-guy. Thus far this season he has a usage rate of 28.5 percent, by far the highest on the team amongst players getting regular minutes. Unfortunately, his offensive rating, while improved, is still below average at 93.7.
Not to pick on a freshman, but Moses Morgan's statistics seem to suggest that he might be in a little over his head this season. The small forward is struggling with his shot, as he's shooting 17.6 percent and is 0-9 from three-point range. That's led to a miserable offensive rating of 41.1, even though he's using 23.7 percent of the team's possessions when he's on the court. It might be time to sit Morgan down for a while, which happened in the overtime loss to Stanford, so that he can get his bearings again.
On the other hand, two other freshman - Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young - have played very well. Melvin has the second highest offensive rating on the team while using 24.3 percent of the team's possessions. You might say, "That's because he dunks a lot!," but dunks are good shots. Also, the other thing that helps Melvin is that he's hit his free throws thus far this season. He's 8-9 from the line. The one problem the 6'8 freshman big man has is rebounding. He needs to attack the rim more. There's no way that someone with his length and athleticism should have rebounding rates in the single digits on either end of the court. You have to wonder if Purnell is trying to send a message by only playing Melvin 13 minutes a night because of his rebounding woes.
As for Young, he's been everything the Blue Demons could've asked for. His usage rate is 22.5 percent, which is fine, but his assist rate is 20 percent and he's going to the basket. Young's offensive rating will improve with time, but his passing is what's making this offense better. One caveat to all of this, Young's turnover rate of 19 percent could use some work.
Another player that's been turning the ball over too much is Krys Faber. 10 of Faber's 37 possessions have ended in a turnover, or 27 percent. That's way too many. Even with that said though, he's got an offensive rating of 121.5 because of his offensive rebounding and 57.7 percent field goal percentage. Faber needs to stay on the court for the Blue Demons to be successful, but 18 fouls in five games really limited his minutes. The other good part about an offensive player that's successful due to rebounding? You don't have to pass him the ball to generate offense. That's a big plus.
Finally, let's talk a little bit about Jimmy Drew. Drew has played between 15 and 20 minutes each game this season and he just had a breakout game against Stanford with 17 points. The former walk-on has proven he can be a very valuable contributor. Drew has a 112.8 offensive rating, which is outstanding on this team, but his usage rate is pretty tiny at 14.6 percent. I'd like to see that rise as the season continues.
Actually, one more note: You might be worried about Jeremiah Kelly. Don't be. It seems like he'll adjust. His effective field goal percentage is nearly identical to last season's, but turnovers are holding him back. Whether that's from playing more minutes or something else though is something to keep an eye on.