Monday, February 25, 2013

The Case For Gee

The Mocs are playing for a bye this week, but there are a couple of players also competing for personal awards as the season wraps up.

The most interesting case may be for Gee McGhee, who is trying to win the Freshman of the Year.

Tim Williams of Samford, the player that is McGhee's biggest competition for Freshman of the Year, is averaging 14.1 points per game and is 13th in the SoCon. Williams is third in the SoCon in shooting percentage, and sixth in rebounding. Williams is also fourth in blocked shots, and seventh in steals.

McGhee ranks 20th in the SoCon in scoring at 11.9 points per game. He is 15th in the league in assists, and ranks eighth in steals per game.

In other words, his overall stats are not that far off from what Williams has done. It is surprising considering how much better most people consider Williams to be when compared to McGhee.

Then, when you look even closer, things get even more interesting. When looking at stats in SoCon play, McGhee actually ranks 11th in scoring at 14.2 points per game, while Williams is 12th at 14.1.  Williams is tied with Eric Ferguson, and both are ahead of Derrell Armstrong, Jack Isenbarger, Andrew Lawrence, and De'Mon Brooks. This tells you how well both have played in SoCon games this year. Williams is just tenth in rebounding in SoCon games. He is still third in shooting, while McGhee is 14th in assists. In terms of steals, Williams is sixth and McGhee is eighth. McGhee is also 14th in three point percentage.

In other words, in SoCon games, the two guys are basically equal players. It is almost impossible to distinguish between the two, given that they play vastly different positions. It is actually very exciting to have two candidates that both deserve consideration for being on a postseason All SoCon team (whether that be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team) that are both freshman. This speaks well for the future of the league.

McGhee is fighting the battle of perception. All season people expected Williams to win this award. He started off strong, and his play has not really diminished. The fact is that McGhee's performance has jumped, and he has basically demanded that he be in this conversation. In the last eleven games, McGhee has scored at least twelve points each time out, and is averaging 17.0 points during that stretch. He's also averaging 5.0 rebounds during that stretch and 2.2 assists. He's shooting 68.5% from the free throw line during that stretch, getting to the line about 8.5 times per game. If you take out the College of Charleston game where he went 3 of 9, he has shot 72.3% from the free throw line during this stretch run.

In other words, McGhee has had a huge run down the stretch. He has forced his way into a conversation that looked closed at the beginning of January. He deserves a ton of credit for that. I want the voters to at least really seriously consider McGhee when making their decision about the Freshman of the Year, because the case is compelling. It is good to have two worthy candidates this year, and I hope all the voters take a couple of minutes to really consider who they should be voting for.

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