According to this tweet by downtheparkway, seven Muskies have scored at least 16 points in a game this season. For those of you who don’t have unlimited data and are hesitant to click that link, the players (and their season highs) are as follows: Paul Scruggs (29), Zach Freemantle (28), Nate Johnson (25), Kyky Tandy (24), Adam Kunkel (22), Jason Carter (20), and Colby Jones (16). Accompanied by art from HydroEdits, this is a Good Tweet.
Accompanying it is an excellent reply from Craig Dollins, who asks, “Who has the best chance to be added to this list this year? A. Odom B. Griffin C. Both D. Other”. Who indeed, Craig? Here’s my take on the candidates.
Average: 6.3 PPG, high: 12 (v. Oakland)
While Odom’s average doesn’t scream of an impending offensive explosion, it’s worth noting that Colby Jones is also averaging just 6.3 PPG, and he’s already on the list of the 16-point scorers. I don’t think Craig is misguided in listing Dwon here, as his ability to break down a defense makes you feel like he’s just a bit of focus on scoring rather than distributing away from lighting up the scoreboard.
That’s where I think this breaks down. If you want to score a bunch, you need to either shoot a bunch or do it super accurately. Dwon is 0-5 from deep this year and hasn’t been the victim of a lot of bad rolls from out there. He’s also just 61% from the line; if he wants to score 16, he’s probably looking at needing to make 7 or 8 two-point field goals. He has never made more than 5 in a game (most recently at St. John’s), and he’s only shot 10 times in a game twice, including in his second collegiate game, v. Bradley (not sure he did anything noteworthy that game).
With DePaul on the schedule twice still, I suppose anything is possible. It’s also worth noting that Xavier still has to play the return leg against St. John’s. If the Red Storm start to speed things up and Odom finds the open court to his liking, he may find that his best opportunity to score 16+ in a game this year.
Average: 5.2 PPG, high: 9 (v. Tennessee Tech)
If it was shot attempts that will hamper Dwon Odom’s quest for 16, I thing that will hurt BG is finding a way onto the floor. He is third behind Jason Carter and Zach Freemantle in a big man rotation that often goes just two guys deep. While Griffin is Xavier’s best rebounder on both ends, Steele has preferred a combination of Carter and Freemantle, or one of those two featured in a smaller lineup. Tough sledding for Griffin, who basically only plays the center.
Despite that, he has shown the ability to hit the ground running in limited action. He scored 6 in as many minutes against Seton Hall, 8 in 12 minutes against Toledo, and 7 in 14 minutes against St. John’s. He’s ready to go as soon as the ball comes his way, and he hasn’t shown any hesitance no matter the game situation or how much run he has gotten. With Ben Stanley out for the year and neither Freemantle nor Carter impervious to foul trouble, it’s not impossible to imagine a scenario in which Griffin is pressed into service and returns with 16 or more points to his name.
WILD CARD: CJ Wilcher
Average: 1.8 PPG, high: 6 (v. Providence)
We just need CJ to crack open a can on someone to the tune of like nine times his current average. No problem, right?
While Odom’s low shot output and Griffin’s limited minutes were detractors to their potential to get to (or even eclipse!) 16 points in a game, I think they’re actually points in Wilcher’s favor. Against Providence, he got just 6 minutes of run, but he got 4 shots up in that time and drilled a pair of threes to get to his 6 points. He has shown potential to be a bucket and there is reason to believe he has a clip (I can use young-people terms!); when he gets onto the court right now, he has one job.
I’m not sure that one-job focus is enough to keep him on the court long enough to get to 16 points though. There’s no question his contribution was vital against Providence, but if Coach Steele is looking for a bench player to go out there and get him a bucket, how many guys is he going to have to look past to get to CJ? Currently, Dwon Odom, Adam Kunkel, probably Kyky Tandy are all bench players who have huge impact on the game on the offensive end. If you need someone to stick a three, Nate Johnson, Paul Scruggs, and Zach Freemantle are all indisputably more prolific, and Adam Kunkel has a track record that belies his struggles from deep this year. It takes a special set of circumstances to get CJ a lot of looks, and he’s going to have to claim a chance that doesn’t come too often to get to 16.
I think those three guys are it. Ben Stanley is out, and - though I’m open to being proven wrong - I don’t see Dieonte Miles or Danny Ramsey having a reasonable route to 16 points in a game. The depth of Xavier’s offensive attack is evident through the fact that they’ve had seven guys go for 16 this year; there’s chance they get to eight or even nine before the season ends (if they ever play another game).