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Basketball: Who are Pac-10′s most improved?

By Jeff Faraudo
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 at 4:00 pm in Basketball, Mid-week.

There are, of course, lots of ways to gauge how much a player has improved.

But from strictly the standpoint of increased scoring average from one year to the next (admittedly a one-dimensional gauge), three Cal players rank among the 11 most-improved players in the Pac-10.

Here are conference leaders (courtesy of the Arizona State sports information office):

Name, school                         2010    2011   Increase
1. Joevan Catron, Oregon           5.5      15.2   +9.7 points
2. Jorge Gutierrez, Cal               5.5       14.8   +9.3
3. Markhuri Sanders-Frison, Cal  3.3       11.1   +7.8
4. Matthew Bryan-Amaning, UW  8.8       16.5   +7.7
5. Jared Cunningham, OSU         6.2       13.8   +7.6
6. Trent Lockett, ASU                 6.7       13.7   +7.0
7. Nikola Vucevic, USC             10.7       17.5   +7.8
8t. Donte Smith, USC                 3.9        9.9   +6.0
8t. Justin Holiday, UW                 5.9      11.9   +6.0
10. Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA          7.2      12.8   +5.6
11. Brandon Smith, Cal              0.9        6.2   +5.3

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  • dball

    3 players in the top 11 on the most-improved list…does that help boost his candidacy for Conference Coach of the Year? Curious if he’s even got a shot, but I think we all acknowledge Monty’s done a lot with what he has, especially in a rebuilding year.

  • rollonubears

    if cal makes the ncaa tourney, monty will be coach of the year, guaranteed.

  • Paul Thomas

    ROUB: The award is going to be voted on after this week’s games (and Sean Miller is going to win it). Can’t wait until after the conference tournament.

  • rollonubears

    ah. bummer.

  • Bob

    The obvious one missing there is Harper Kamp who averages 14.4 this year and averaged 3.8 in his last season that he played (2009). That’s +10.6, putting him at the top of the list. Don’t they have a comeback player of the year? He certainly would be that, coming back off knee surgery and the redshirt to have the kind of year he’s having.

    The other thing I notice when considering the Cal players on this list is that a lot of these guys its not so much improvement as just guys getting their shot to take a lead role (no more Randle, Christopher, Robertson, Boykin – somebody’s got to score some more points than last year) and capitalizing on it.

    Finally, just on the Cal guys again, I’d have to say Brandon Smith is the guy who has actually improved the most, not just from last year, but from the start of this year. He didn’t look like he belonged in D1 last year or at the start of this year, and he looks like he’s got the potential to be a pretty solid player now. And his taking over the point role has really allowed Guttierez to blossom and expand his game, even to the point that Gut probably averages more assists now than he did when he was full time point at the beginning of the year.

  • milo

    Brandon Smith’s development is a classic Monty coaching thing. Same with Jerome Randle. For Jorge, I think he just needed playing time and responsibility.

  • Dave

    lol…Milo, with Jerome and Smith it’s Monty, and with Jorge it’s playing time…lol! How would you decipher the difference? DO you listen to or read any of Monty’s interviews? He say’s it is playing time for Smith

  • SteveNTexas

    THESE CAL PLAYERS SCORE MORE THAN LAST YEAR BECAUSE THEY PLAY MORE THAN LAST YEAR.

    Last year’s team is gone and because we have 4 different people taking up those minutes – of course they will score more than last year.

    This doesn’t mean those players are not improved because they are – this is a poor use of statistics.

    MUCH better would be how much more they SCORE PER MINUTE PLAYED.

  • Bob

    Steve, I think even points per minute played is deceiving, because even though they were playing 20ish minutes a game in their last season, Kamp and Gut were role players, and that role wasn’t to take a lot of shots. Now they are the ones that are asked to do the scoring, and to their credit, they’re doing it pretty well.

  • ET

    Can you get these basketball posts out of the Football section?

  • SteveNTexas

    Bob your correction of my correction is correct lol That is another factor or independent variable – √√√√√√√

    Both your and my observations should be used to evaluate the data as well as the situations on the other teams/players.