Saturday, December 17, 2011

At Least The Olivet Comets Have One Good Player

The popular opinion was that the Olivet Comets were going to struggle this year. They were losing possibly the most dominant player the MIAA had seen in a decade, Michael McClary, along with solid contributors Nathan Jennings and Joe Post (and they had already lost Andre Evans in the middle of the season). To me, it seemed like they had little hope of finishing above seventh place in the league this year.

But, as we all know, things don’t always pan out the way we think they will.

But, in this case, it looks like it did. It’s exactly as we thought.

The mass departure of the above players left the Comets with a severe lack of talent. Only Junior Alvino Ashley (a transfer from Lansing Community College) has stepped up to play like a bona fide starter. Senior Jaren Edsall is playing well enough to contribute as a starter, but he’s being counted on to be a major factor (and he’s just not that).

Here’s a look at the Olivet Comets (as described by Player Efficiency Rating).

##Olivet PlayerPER
20Alvino Ashley19.0
33Jaren Edsall13.9
34Matt El9.7
22Eric Mack9.1
23Dakotah Ellis8.1
12Stephen Wheelock7.0
3Marquis Childers4.8
10Blake Krum3.6
4Clint Burghdorf3.0
24Paul Lombard0.7
40Adam Ruhle20.2
44Matt Smith14.1
30Ray Johnson12.4
32Paul Koviak6.2

The bottom four players in italics (Adam Ruhle, Matt Smith, Ray Johnson, and Paul Koviak) haven't played enough to include them with the regular rotation. They're all averaging fewer than three minutes per team game.

Here's a reminder of PER's rule of thumbs:

Range     Approximate Role
25+MVP Candidate
20-25All-MIAA Candidate
15-20Solid Starter
13-15Fringe Starter
7-13Off The Bench

So OC currently has one guy playing very well. One guy hanging in there in a starting role, three or four guys that are performing like off-the-bench type role player, and then four or so players that are getting into the game, but not contributing anything of real substance. The average PER of their starters is 11.3; that's easily the worst in the league right now. They're struggling for sure, and that 1-7 record isn't likely to improve any time soon.

Calvin Knights
Here's a full look at the PER of the Calvin players.

44Matt DeBoer28.2
42Tyler Kruis26.9
30Tom Snikkers19.1
52Jordan Mast16.9
24Mitch Vallie15.1
20Bryan Powell14.5
10David Rietema13.5
14Mickey DeVries13.4
40Nate Van Eck7.8
22Brian Haverdink5.7
32Tyler Dykstra-0.3
50Adam DeYoung9.7
4Ryan Nadeau1.6
12Brent Henry-15.1

The situation is obviously a lot brighter for Calvin than it is for Olivet. Calvin has eight guys playing at a level that could justify a starting position in the MIAA. The only senior on the list is Brian Haverdink, who has found himself back in the role-player position, so I'm of the mindset that the near future is still bright for Calvin, even if the current record isn't where we want it to be. Jordan Brink, who should be able to re-join the team next season, put up a 19.2 PER as a freshman last year.

But my optimism isn't just for next year. These Knights will continue to develop as this season progresses, and I think we'll be looking at a much better team come February. Of those top eight guys, half were JV/garbage time players only a season ago, and a fifth (Matt DeBoer) was only a role player (he didn't appear in any of the three MIAA tournament games).

The MIAA Top 20
Here's a look at the top 20 players in the league as rated by PER*.

24Nate Snuggerud Hope31.0
32Eric LewisAdrian28.5
50Joe PrepolecKalamazoo 28.4
44Matt DeBoerCalvin28.2
11David KrombeenHope27.2
42Tyler KruisCalvin26.9
42Tim PearcyTrine26.5
44Peter BunnHope26.0
30Kolin KazenAlbion25.7
5Braden KnightTrine23.1
23Ian JacksonTrine22.9
33Sean GallantAdrian22.9
40Neil SmithTrine22.8
31Lance JongekrigAlma21.1
14Mark GhafariKalamazoo20.3
44Adam MeierAdrian20.2
22Grant CareyKalamazoo19.6
30Sean ClancyAlma19.2
41Scott RogersTrine19.2
30Tom SnikkersCalvin19.1

*Data is through games of Thursday, December 15.

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