Basketball: Crabbe stands tall top top freshmen, but others across the country also are exceling

Cal freshman guard Allen Crabbe continues to show growth.

Last Thursday, after what had been his toughest game in weeks, he delivered a huge 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to ice the win over Arizona State. Then he scored 27 points — all but six of them after halftime — in Cal’s triple-overtime loss to Arizona.

The 6-foot-6 guard still is a better shooter than a scorer, but he showed improved aggressiveness after halftime against Arizona. He used head fakes to drive into the lane and score in ways beyond catch-and-shoot from the 3-point line.

Still, his pure shooting stroke is his strength: 47 percent from beyond the arc over his past 12 games. And he’s scored double digits in 10 straight games, a sign of consistency that’s unusual among freshmen.

As we proceed deeper into February, I thought it was time to examine how Crabbe compares to other top collegiate rookies around the country. Because he began to take off when the Pac-10 schedule started (and because that’s the most meaningful portion of the season), the numbers below are conference stats.

I surveyed stats from the Pac-10, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, Mountain West, Atlantic-10 and Conference USA (plus a couple individuals) and ranked players according to scoring average:

— TERRENCE JONES, Kentucky (6-9, F): 19.3 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, .446 field-goal percentage, .318 3-point percentage, .723 free throw percentage. Note: Scored 35 vs. Auburn.

— PERRY JONES, Baylor (6-10, C/F): 18.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, .633 FG, .767 FT. Note: Has five 20-point games in Big 12.

— JARED SULLINGER, Ohio State (6-9, C/F): 18.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg, .545 FG. Note: Has five double-doubles in Big Ten for the nation’s top-ranked, unbeaten team.

— TREY ZEIGLER, Central Michigan (6-5, G): 18.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.8 apg, .436 FG, .359 3-PT, .537 FT. Holy Toledo! Scored 30 vs. Rockets.

— CLEVELAND MELVIN, DePaul (6-8, F): 18.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.4 blocks, .500 FG. Note: Blue Demons are winless in the Big East, but Melvin has five 20-point games, including 29 vs. Georgetown and 25 vs. UConn.

— ALLEN CRABBE, Cal (6-6, G): 16.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, .456 3-PT, .796 FT. Note: Scored 44 points in two games vs. Arizona.

— DeANDRE KANE, Marshall (6-4, G): 16.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.6 apg, .385 3-PT. Note: Averaging 21.3 ppg over the past three games.

— BRANDON KNIGHT, Kentucky (6-3, G): 16.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, .455 3-PT, .778 FT. Note: Had 24 points at Florida.

— HARRISON BARNES, North Carolina (6-6, F): 15.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, .465 FG, .389 3-PT. Note: Averaging 22.7 the past three games, including 26 vs. Boston College.

— TOBIAS HARRIS, Tennessee (6-8, F): 14.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg, .427 FG, .375 3-PT, .704 FT. Note: Has five double-doubles in SEC play.

— BRUCE ELLINGTON, South Carolina (5-9, G): 14.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, .336 FG, .328 3-PT, .741 FT. as three 20-point games in the SEC.

— TRISTAN THOMPSON, Texas (6-8, F): 13.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.8 blocks,.533 FG. Note: Had 13 rebounds vs. Missouri.

— WILL BARTON, Memphis (6-6, G): 13.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, .483 FG, .324 3-PT, .667 FT.

— DORON LAMB, Kentucky (6-4, G): 13.1 ppg, 3.1 apg, .468 FG, .394 3-PT, .909 FT.

— RAY McCALLUM, Detroit (6-1, G): 13.1 ppg, 4.1 apg, 2.5 rpg, .437 FG, .281 3-PT, .795 FT.

— MELSAHN BASABE, Iowa (6-7, F): 13.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.4 blocks, .573 FG, .824 FT. Note: Included a 22-point, 13-rebound performance vs. Ohio State among four Big Ten double-doubles.

— C.J. LESLIE, North Carolina State (6-8, F): 11.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, .451 FG, .591 FT. Note: Was held scoreless vs. Clemson.

— JOSH SELBY, Kansas (6-2, G): 10.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, .441 FG, .400 3-PT. Note: Currently nursing foot injury.

— CORY JOSEPH, Texas (6-3, G): 10.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.4 steals, .508 FG, .500 3-PT.

— JOSHUA SMITH, UCLA (6-10, C): 10.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, .593 FG. Note: Has scored double digits in five of past six Pac-10 games.

Jeff Faraudo

  • David

    Nice research, Jeff, thanks for the effort!

  • milo

    Indeed nice research and read.

    Not totally surprising given Crabbe was CA high school player of the year. Given the size and talent in the state, that’s not chump change.

    The big question is how long these players stay in school. My guess is Crabbe stays for at least 3 years.

  • Bobby

    Hope you’re correct Milo.

    Jeff seems to imply that Crabbe, for all his skill, still has some learning to do at the college level. Plus, Monte recruits typically don’t jump for the pros early.

  • Uh Huh!

    Well, I hate to bring up the point, b/c I’d love Crabbe to be around for 4 years, but when you start talking about any freshmen on the national stage, you have to wonder what his prospects are for the next level.

    It would see to me that Crabbe has the size and smooth shot to be a pro. But like Klay Thompson at WSU, he has been mostly a one dimensional first year player. Klay has been much praised for his work in the off season to develop his dribble drive, and this same thing is what you are pointing out, JF, that Crabbe has been improving in his game these past weeks. It still has a long way to go before that is anywhere near ready for the next level. But I think we should expect it will improve as time goes by. And once that happens, then I think you can start to assess Crabbe for the pros. Certainly, there’s a lot more to it, but that’s a rough draft.

    The reason I bring this up is b/c I always thought it was a bit strange how Monty brought in so many players this season that played more or less the same position. Rossi, in particular, would appear to be a clone of Crabbe: tall outside shooter. Emerson and Franklin are also guards who perform more on the outside. Ideally, I think I would have taken another big to go with Solomon in this class.

    Of course, you can’t always get exactly what you want in the recruiting game. But I also wonder if Monty had an inkling that Crabbe might not be around all 4 years. In that case, it’s probably a positive that Rossi has been forced to redshirt this season thru injury. If Crabbe stays only 3, Rossi gets 2 years alone without Crabbe in front of him.

    Did Monty foresee all this, or did he just get the best players he could and this is how it worked out?

    I’ll go with the latter, but fun to talk about nonetheless….

  • Yoda

    Re the recruiting, keep in mind that Monty thought he had two other junior inside players to go with Kamp and Sanders-Frison with Bak as a soph and Solomon coming in as a frosh. Also, there were some better big prospects in the current class that he was shooting for but unfortunately did not land. He is however bringing in one 6’10” player with skills and possibly another PF in this class and actively recruiting a top-flight PF for the next.

    I think the plan made sense until Amoke screwed up and Max didn’t return from China.

  • milo

    Agree on the Amoke and Max not returning element. If in fact both were at Cal now, Cal would be much better, perhaps competing for the conference title.

  • Calfan

    Not sure if Cal would be better with Max in the middle, but Amoke is missed. Definitely need a big body to bang down low though.

  • milo

    Let me rephrase that…if Max were around and could give a solid 15 mins, average 8 pts and get 6 boards and mess with other teams big men (like UA’s Williams), Cal would be that much deeper…and better. I agree Amoke is missed more but combined the front court would be much different.