This is the second of a three part series on BYU Forwards and Centers, coming after the second third of the season. Click here for Part 1. The third installment will come at the end of the season.
Two thirds of the season is already over. Now that we are well into conference play the rotation should be set. Unfortunately due to injuries there are still several question marks regarding the best rotation moving forward.
Who is the Big Man on Campus?
Eric Mika (mission), Nate Austin (injury), and Jamal Aytes (injury) have been sorely missed this season. Most will agree that the weakest part of the BYU game plan is big man play. BYU is abysmal at offensive rebounds (#79), blocked shots (#277), personal fouls per game (#258) and point in the paint.
|PER 40 First Third||10||40||9.8||7.3||0.6||1.7||0.0||2.2||7.5|
|PER 40 through 2/3||21||40||6.2||5.1||0.6||1.1||0.1||1.7||7.6|
Worthington has played in every game but his minutes have only gone up by 1.5/game since Austin was injured. He has started several games but has not become a reliable and consistent player. Indeed, his production has actually dropped in nearly every category since league play started (with the exceptions being FT% and turn overs) and he has just one block for the entire season.
|PER 40 First Third||9||40||11.7||11.3||0.4||0.8||1.6||3.6||8.9|
|PER 40 through 2/3||20||40||9.2||9.3||0.3||1.0||1.6||2.8||9.1|
Like Worthington, Corbin Kaufusi benefitted little (in increased minutes) by Austin’s injury, gaining only another 2.7 minutes/game. And also like Worthington, this was for good reason. He has not “developed” throughout this season like so many hoped he would. While he has shown moments of potential his per 40 line of 9.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks with 9.1 personal fouls does not make me too optimistic for his immediate future as a Cougar. He is still very much a work-in-progress.
|PER 40 First Third||10||40||18.6||10.5||1.6||1.6||1.6||1.6||5.8|
|PER 40 through 2/3||21||40||15.2||9.8||0.7||2.0||1.6||2.6||6.5|
Contrary to my first third recommendation, Isaac Neilson saw no increase in playing time despite easily having the best statistics of any big man playing for BYU this season. Ultimately, Rose not listening to me did not matter as Neilson—like the other bigs—did very little to warrant playing time. While he does score a little more than the others his PER 40 line of 15.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 6.5 personal fouls does little to instill confidence.
|PER 40 First Third||8||40||15.2||7.6||4.4||0.6||0.6||1.3||7.0|
|PER 40 through 2/3||18||40||9.3||7.4||3.4||0.4||0.4||1.7||4.4|
Like the others, Dalton Nixon 1) didn’t get much of a bump in playing time (7.9 to 10.5 minutes/game) with Austin’s injury, and 2) does not deserve an increase in playing time. His numbers are also down across the board except in personal fouls per game. It is worth noting that he is still perfect from the free throw line this season (11/11) so he may be a good choice for end-of-the game big man.
I have not bothered including Josh Sharp (74 total minutes) and Ryan Andrus (35) as they have not played enough to warrant any type of statistical analysis.
Conclusions and Recommendations for future playing time
The four bigs who are now playing just 10-15 minutes per game each only seem to do one thing real well: foul opposing big men. It’s depressing to look at and analyze these numbers because this is so obviously the biggest weakness on our team this season. None of the bigs have stepped up since Austin went out with injury, and our young players who we hoped would quickly developed haven’t. Quite simply our best bet for improved PF and C play is to cross our fingers that Austin and/or Aytes can get back on the hardwood soon.