Sunday, March 20, 2011

2010-2011 Season in Review: Zach McCabe

Unlike fellow freshman Devyn Marble, whose playing time increased as the competition got tougher (Thanks in part to Eric May). Zach McCabe's playing time went the opposite direction as Big 10 play started. Here's a handy graph:

Now, McCabe is sort of a "tweener." He lacks the ideal height for a power forward and the athleticism for a small forward. So, he goes back and forth between positions on the court. As Basabe and Marble's playing time increased, and May's never dipped below 20 minutes per game, there was less playing time left for the struggling McCabe.

Though, his season may not have ended the way he would have liked it, McCabe did show some promise. He flashed some shooting ability from downtown at times (when he was on he was on, but when he was off....) and he was also a pretty good rebounder. He didn't have a great season overall, but he was only a freshman. With some more development, McCabe definitely has the talent to be a very good role player for Iowa for the next couple of years.

  • Rebounding- McCabe's 15.25% defensive rebounding rate and 6.64% offensive rebounding rate, finished the season right between Iowa's post players and wing players. He was nestled nicely between Brommer and Marble. His defensive rebounding rate was good for twenty second in the conference. While, his offensive rebounding rate was good for twenty sixth in the conference. Both numbers are pretty good when you consider that McCabe spent a lot of time out behind the arc.
  • Free Throw Shooting- McCabe was easily Iowa's second best shooter from the free throw line this year. His 80.43% free throw percentage was only worse than Gatens' on the team, and was better than third place by about 9%. If there was one thing that McCabe was consistent in shooting this year, it was free throws.
  • Shooting- McCabe made only 51.02% of his shots in the paint. Easily, worst on the team by about 10% (team average = 68.86%). McCabe also made only 28.57% of his three point attempts (team average = 31.40%). As you will see later, both of these categories took a huge hit when McCabe started playing against Big 10 opponents. Overall, his 42.01 eFG% was pretty underwhelming. Let's hope this improves next year.
  • Turnovers- McCabe, like most freshmen, had a bit of a turnover problem. His 24.3% turnover rate was tenth worst in the Big 10 this year. However, Andrew Brommer and Eric May were even worse this year. That's right. Iowa had three players in the top 10 at coughing up the ball this year. If you want to expand it to the worst 15, Iowa adds Cartwright and Basabe to the mix. That's 33.3% of the top 15. Easily the best. Yay! We won at something!

Here is more evidence that McCabe had a lot of trouble when Big 10 opponents started rolling into town. As competition got harder, McCabe's points per minute dropped by 0.16 and his points per scoring attempt dropped by 0.30. Those are ridiculously huge splits. If you look at his eFG%, McCabe shot a 49.38% eFG% in non-conference play (pretty decent), but just a 35.39% eFG% in Big 10 play (Holy shit. Really?) He clearly had issues adapting to Big 10 competition.

Like Gatens, McCabe is a very three point-centric shooter. He took about 50% of his shots from downtown, and then took a little bit more two point shots inside the paint than from outside of it.

Considering, 84 of his 169 field goal attempts this year were three pointers, and that those shots are worth more than two pointers are. It's not surprising that McCabe got about 40% of his value from long range. After that, he got most of his value from two point shots in the paint and free throws. Bringing up the rear? Two point shots in the paint.

The only one of these that I have not covered yet, is McCabe's 27.78% FG% on two point shots outside the paint. While, his other shooting stats (except free throws) left a lot more to be desired, his 27.78% was actually pretty decent. The team average was 28.17%. So, McCabe was actually middle of the pack in this category.

What you don't see in this graph, is how McCabe's shooting stats tanked (except for free throws and two point shots outside of the paint) when conference play started. In non-conference play, McCabe hit 39.47% from down town. While, that was most likely unsustainable, there was no reason to think that he would fall of a cliff. And his 19.57% 3pt FG% in conference play was exactly that. Falling off a cliff. His FG% in the paint also did the same thing. In non-conference play, McCabe made 60% of his shots in the paint. In Big 10 play, he made only 40.91% of the same shots.

If you want to be even more confused. McCabe made 11.76% of his two point shots outside the paint in non-conference play, and then went on to shoot 42.86% on the same shots in conference play. Quite the odd combination that McCabe put together.

McCabe's 24.3% turnover rate looks bad as it stands. However, it got even worse. In Big 10 play, McCabe put up a 30.7% turnover rate. Good for number two in the Big 10 (Brommer was number one!).

His offensive rebounding also took a little bit of a hit in Big 10 play. He went from an 8.07% offensive rebounding rate in non-conference play, to a 5.2% offensive rebounding rate in conference play. His defensive rebounding rate stayed pretty consistent, only falling from 15.59% to 14.69% in Big 10 play. Unlike almost every other stat, rebounding was consistently one of McCabe's strong points.

Expectations for Next Season:

McCabe should expect to see his minutes increase next year, right? Well, maybe and maybe not. In the 2011 recruiting class, Iowa has Aaron White. The 6'8" forward is more of a long small forward, but he has the height to also man the power forward position at times. He is direct competition for McCabe next year (and May). I think White will get a lot of playing time, which means McCabe's 19.61 minutes per game won't see much of an increase next year. That's not a huge deal, though. If McCabe plays a little under 20 minutes per game and improves his shooting, especially from long range, he would be a real asset off the Hawkeyes bench.

Every team needs a player like McCabe, for those nights when the usual star players just can't get it going. McCabe's the type of guy that Fran should be able to bring in the game to hit some big shots, and to pull down some key rebounds. That is pretty much his game. He should be an important role player for Iowa as he gets older. His stats against conference opponents should also go up, now that he has a full season of Big 10 experience under his belt. His upside may not be as high as some of the other players on Iowa's team, but all in all, McCabe should be a very useful piece in the rebuilding of this Iowa Hawkeyes program.

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