Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Comparing Freshman Campaign's: Melsahn Basabe and Greg Brunner

Note: This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Series

A few weeks ago I compared Melsahn Basabe's stats from conference play to Jared Sullinger's. This time I wanted to get an idea of just how good Basabe's freshman campaign has been. To do that, I decided to use and use their side by side comparison tool to look at Melsahn Basabe's freshman year to date and Greg Brunner's. has Basabe listed at 6'7" and 225 lbs. They also have Brunner listed at 6'7" 245 lbs. I doubt that is Brunner's weight from his freshman year, but still, both players are a little undersized for being post players. However, Brunner was obviously thicker.

Now, when we look at stats, minutes played is obviously an important part. It just so happens that Basabe and Brunner both averaged 24.4 minutes per game their freshman years. That makes this comparison easier. So, let's begin.

First, let's look at how well both players shot the ball:

They both had a very similar effective FG%, though, Basabe's was higher by about 1.5%. However, Basabe is clearly a much better free throw shooter than Brunner was his first year on campus. Not to mention, that he has also taken 21 more free throws than Brunner took his whole freshman year, and he still has at least 4 games left to play.

After shooting, let's look at how much they scored and how often they got to the free throw line:

Not only has Basabe shot better than the Freshman version of Brunner, but he has averaged .13 more points per minute than Brunner did. Basabe has already made 21 more baskets than Brunner did in 31 games in the 2002-2003 season. As I mentioned above, Basabe's 21 extra free throws has also given him a higher free throw rate (free throws attempted per field goals attempted).

It's pretty clear that Basabe's offensive game is already ahead of where Brunner's was at his age. But, what about rebounding? Let's take a look:

Yep. Basabe is clearly superior in offensive and defensive rebounding rate at this stage in their careers. He leads in both categories by a pretty good margin. He grabs about 4% more offensive rebounds than the freshman version of Brunner did. He also grabs almost 6% more defensive rebounds. In 27 games, Basabe has grabbed 17 more offensive rebounds and 10 more defensive rebounds than Brunner did in 31 games.

Finally, let's look at some other important categories:

Well, Brunner did beat Basabe in something. He was much better at dishing out assists. Which, if you've seen Basabe play this year, is no surprise, as he rarely kicks it back out when he gets the ball in the post. Brunner was slightly better in how many steals he had, but 0.70% isn't worth much. Basabe is a much better shot blocker than Brunner was, blocking about 4% more opponent field goal attempts than did Brunner. Then we have the turnovers. Both of them had some pretty bad turnover problems their freshman year. Basabe has 1 more turnover than Brunner did in 27 games.

So, as you can see, Basabe looks to be ahead of where Brunner was when he first landed in Iowa City. He scores more points in the same amount of minutes, while shooting and rebounding better. He also blocks more shots. Brunner was a better passer, but that isn't the most important skill when you play the post (it does help, of course). They both had some pretty big turnover issues.

It's clear to see, that Basabe is the most talented freshman that has run up and down the Carver-Hawkeye Arena floor (that wasn't playing for the opposing team) in a long while. He isn't perfect. He gives the ball up too much, and he could stand to kick the ball back out every once in a while. But, he is still young, and he's already big steps ahead of where Brunner was when he was Basabe's age. If he develops and improves like Brunner did, then Iowa has a real nice piece to build around for three more years.

Next Up: Part 2- How Will Basabe Develop?

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