As we round into March, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and VCU’s Ace Baldwin make their debuts on the All-Arthur Team.
We only have a few weeks left in the season, but there is still plenty of time for teams and players do some last-minute moving and shaking.
The most significant shuffling will be along the bubble as teams jockey for a position in the 68-team field. Elsewhere around the college hoops landscape, league titles, conference tournament memorabilia and end-of-year awards will all be doled out, too. Here at The Gradebook, the flip to March also means we are close to finalizing our first official Heat Check CBB All-Arthur Team.
it has been a while since we checked in, though, and there have been some big changes over the past month. Of the 12 spots on the All-Arthur Team, five of them changed hands in this latest update — including one major surprise.
Below are the 12 Arthur categories, including two new ones, along with component statistics for each. The roles are broken out into three categories below as a way to help conceptualize how these roles might coexist with one another.
- The Main Attraction – Usage (+), Offensive Rating (+), Effective FG Rate (+)
- The Highlight Reel – Dunks (+), 3-Pointers Made (+), 3-Point Percentage (+)
- The Surgeon – Close 2P% (+), Far 2P% (+), 3P% (+), FT% (+)
- The Floor General – Minutes Played (+), Assist Rate (+), Turnover Rate (-)
- The Cutpurse – Steal Rate (+), Fouls Committed/40 (-)
- The Brick Wall – Block Rate (+), Defensive BPM (+), Fouls Committed/40 (-)
- The Junkyard Dog – Off. Rebound Rate (+), Def. Rebound Rate (+)
- The Artillery Gunner – 3-Point Percentage (+), 3PA/Possession Rate (+)
- The Infantry Gunner – Free Throw Rate (+) Free Throws Attempted (+), FT% (+)
- The Swiss Army Knife – 2-Pointer% (+), 3-Pointer% (+), Assist% (+), Turnover% (-), Off. Rebound% (+), Def. Rebound% (+), Block% (+), Steal (+)
- The Unicorn – Block Rate (+), 3-Pointers Made (+), Assist Rate (+)
- The Secret Weapon – Minutes Played (-), Off. Rating (+), True Shooting % (+)
Without further adieu, let’s jump in to our update through the end of February.
While seven of our spots remained constant, we are introducing five new members to the squad. Let’s jump into the race for each role.
The Main Attraction: E.J. Liddell, Ohio State
Even after we tinkered a bit with the thresholds on this one, Liddell held on and kept his “Main Attraction” moniker for at least a few more weeks. Games like the one he had against Maryland on Feb. 27 won’t help. Quickly gaining on Liddell are three incredibly versatile players in Isiaih Mosley, Hunter Maldonado and Alondes Williams — each of whom could help lead their team to an unexpected Big Dance appearance. Antoine Davis and Tavian Dunn-Martin certainly have the usage, but their slightly lower shooting numbers put them a tier behind the rest of the field.
The Highlight Reel: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
One of the few categories that is based mostly on counting stats, this spot requires a consistent love of the high-efficiency shot. In recent weeks, Chet Holmgren has been lights-out from beyond the arc — and while Keegan Murray has just as many dunks and a few more 3-pointers, Holmgren’s accuracy from downtown is the difference. Benn Mathurin and Paolo Banchero are still hanging around, but Jaden Ivey (last month’s leader) and Justin Lewis have both fallen behind on their highlight reels. They are replaced by mid-major standouts Setric Millner Jr. and Eral Penn.
The Surgeon: David Roddy, Colorado State
Roddy held onto his title as The Surgeon thanks to another big month — one in which his all of shooting splits improved or held firm. Consistent precision is what we ask of these smooth operators, and Roddy has delivered in full. He has plenty of company on his heels, though, as a trio of mid-major gunners (Baylor Scheierman, Ryan Davis and JT Shumate) are all with a half-point in the scoring. While Laravia showed off a good shot at Indiana State before heading to Wake, the other transfer on this list (Bryson Williams) is having the best shooting season of his long career.
The Floor General: Terrell Brown Jr., Washington
The Washington point guard retains his spot as the Floor General for our All-Arthur Team for the second straight month — and the rest of the field seems to be falling behind. Isaiah Stevens, the leader in this category when we first rolled out the team a few months back, has now slipped to fourth. Taking his place in the top three is Kevion Nolan, who has come on strong for Jacksonville during ASUN play. Jacob Gilyard is still hanging out in his bronze-medal spot, while a pair of Big Ten guards, Payton Willis and Boo Buie, round out the six-man shortlist this time around.
The Cutpurse: Ace Baldwin, VCU
Whoa. This is the shocker that we alluded to in the introduction — Jacob Gilyard, the NCAA’s career steals leader, has abdicated his Cutpurse throne. That is because his steal rate dipped under the threshold; however, a last-minute crime spree against his fellow A-10 ballhandlers could see him back on top thanks to his elite minutes and foul rate. As it stands, though, Ace Baldwin keeps the title within Richmond city limits and is looking at Quan Jackson as the top threat. In reality, though, this will likely come down to Baldwin and Gilyard simply because they are on the court so often.
The Brick Wall: Walker Kessler, Auburn
Kessler holds tight as one of the few guys to keep his place on the All-Arthur Team through each of the first three updates. The Auburn big man has become a bit more foul-prone over the past few weeks, but his elite block rate still wins the day. A new challenger has emerged, though, as WKU’s Jamarion Sharp is swatting his way up the Brick Wall shortlist. He replaced Chet Holmgren on this list and shot straight into second place, all within the span of a month. Ike Obiagu, Kur Kuath, Mark Williams and Marcus Bingham Jr. all reprise their roles after appearing in last month’s top six.
The Junkyard Dog: Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky
Oscar Tshiebwe joins Walker Kessler as one of just three players to remain in the lead for their role in each of our three updates. There really does not appear to be any question of whether he will retain this award. His ability to rebound on both ends has him in position to be the first player in at least the last decade to record an offensive rebound rate above 20 percent and a defensive rebound rate over 30 percent. Armando Bacot, Norchad Omier and the others are all elite on the boards, but none can hold a candle to what Big O has been doing in Lexington since Day 1.
The Artillery Gunner: Kyle Foster, Howard
As teased in the last blurb, there are three players who have kept their position in this team for three months straight: Walker Kessler, Oscar Tshiebwe and Kyle Foster. Though Howard may not be must-see-TV, the Bison’s sharpshooter is one that you might want to check out. He is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the pack, too. Demaree King, Patrick Good and LJ Cryer were all on this list last month, but Foster spent February putting considerable daylight between himself and the field. Cali shooters Jake Kosakowski and Julian Rishwain also make their debuts.
The Infantry Gunner: Aljami Durham, Providence
When we introduced this category last month, it resulted in one of our closest races of the season as Isaac Mushila barely edged out Durham for the top spot. A month later, the Providence guard has pushed his way into prime position — and Mushila has fallen back to third as Pitt’s John Hugley gets in on the action for the first time. Williams, Choh and Burden are all new faces in this list, but it looks likely to come down to one of the top three. Thanks to his elite conversion rate from the stripe, Aljami Durham is the most likely player to be named as our official Infantry Gunner.
The Swiss Army Knife: Jalen Slawson, Furman
For the first time, our Swiss Army Knife is leaving the San Joaquin Valley, as Fresno State star Orlando Robinson saw his offensive rating dip under 110. As a result, we now have a player — Jalen Slawson of Furman — leading the pack, even though it is his first time on the list. David Roddy continues to be the closest to stealing two places on the All-Arthur Team, but he has been held back consistently by less-than-elite numbers in the assist/turnover departments. Perhaps the most surprising twist here is the inclusion of two Long Island teammates, Ty Flowers and Eral Penn.
The Unicorn: Jake Stephens, VMI
Stephens is back on top of our Unicorn rankings again after another stellar month showing out for the Keydets. In fact, each of the top four players on the list have been included in all three shortlists that we have put out for this category. Holmgren is making a strong push up this list (to nobody’s surprise), while Big Ten big men E.J. Liddell and Pete Nance keep their names in the running. New this month are Luka Brajkovic of Davidson and Ty Flowers of Long Island. Stephens may not be the shot-swatter Holmgren is, but his shooting and passing are second to none on this list.
The Secret Weapon: Jyare Davis, Delaware
OK, this is the only category where we made some truly significant changes to the thresholds. Rather than focusing on minutes percentage, we are simplifying this to minutes per game, and we’ve also nixed any player that has started even once. As a result, the list looks plenty different from last month’s version — and it has given us one heck of a race to follow down the stretch. Jyare Davis (8.6 ppg) and Anton Watson (7.6 ppg) are neck-and-neck at the top, with Montana State’s Raequan Battle not far behind. Davis’ 64.5 percent shooting on 2s is the difference-maker.
We’ll release our final All-Arthur Team following the conclusion of the regular season and conference tournaments, as part of our March Madness preview coverage.
Header image courtesy of VCU Athletics.