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tBBC 2nd Thoughts: Ohio State Men’s Basketball Transfers


2nd Thoughts: Ohio State Men’s Basketball Transfers
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


This has been an interesting week with Ohio State’s men’s basketball roster. The announced transfers of Mickey Mitchell, Daniel Giddens and A.J. Harris, in addition to the earlier transfer of Austin Grandstaff, open up scholarships and open up the line of thought of “what the hell’s going on, Thad?”. I can’t answer that question. Here is one stab at it, Rob Oller of The Columbus Dispatch.

What happened to prompt four freshmen to leave?

The answer is textured, touching on levels that include societal change, family pressures and frustrations. In other words, the issue has more to do with imperfect people than an imperfect program.

First, consider the times in which we live, when millennials do not balk at making frequent changes, whether that means breezily changing jobs or basketball programs. According to the NCAA, about 40 percent of men’s basketball players who enter Division I directly from high school depart their initial school by the end of their sophomore year.

We live in a world short on patience, where satisfaction is supposed to be instant, if not lasting. So when a recruit arrives on campus, he expects to start immediately. It does not help that parents and AAU coaches insist he is better than the guy starting ahead of him. Sit a year or two? No thanks.

Rob’s comment about ‘millennials and changes’ may be a breezy broad-brush explanation, but he cites NCAA roster numbers churn, so it’s not completely a drive-by explanation. I think he makes a very good point in the next paragraph concerning ‘instant satisfaction’ and parents. The following is from an article Bill Landis of cleveland.com in January, citing a quote from Austin Grandstaff’s father, Wes.

“He loved Ohio State, he loved his teammates, but it’s been kind of a roller coaster with him and minutes,” Wes Grandstaff said. “Some games it’s 17, 18 minutes. Against UConn, he gets beat on the baseline and gets taken out.”

A couple points on Mr. Grandstaff’s quote. First, it appears that playing time factored as an issue with this transfer. The other point is that Austin, as a “shooter” had issues adjusting to playing D-I level defense. Most freshmen probably do. That’s certainly not an indictment of Grandstaff; playing fundamental defense is a requirement to play for Thad.

For a sense of perspective, in terms of contribution, what really walked out the door? In an attempt to “normalize” this analysis, I converted “statistics” (points, rebounds, assists, fouls and turnovers) to a ‘quantity per minute’, rather than on a ‘per game’ basis. I’m assuming that as a player is in a system for a longer period of time, he becomes more efficient; his statistics improve on a per-minute basis. I may be wrong with that, but it seems reasonable. Going with that, since we’re talking about a relatively young team, you can assume the freshmen, and sophomores for that matter, would at some point grow into their roles.

Prior to doing the per-minute comparisons, I needed to compile a table of total minutes played, points (PTS), rebounds (REB), assists, (ASST), personal fouls committed (PF) and turnovers committed (TO). I also included ‘minutes per game’ (Min) as a reference.

So, what to we have? No surprise, really. The top end (minutes played) are held by Marc Loving, Kieta Bates-Diop and JaQuan Lyle. Jae’Sean Tate is next (injury), Kam Williams and Trevor Thompson follow. The “transferees” follow, at the end, along with David Bell and Joey Lane.

2 Marc Loving F 1,189 34.0 490 184 54 59 82
33 Kieta Bates-Diop F 1,040 31.5 388 210 36 61 45
13 JaQuan Lyle G 1,040 29.7 391 164 147 59 104
1 Jae’Sean Tate F 813 29.0 328 179 42 85 45
15 Kam Williams G 766 21.9 290 63 28 38 17
32 Trevor Thompson C 628 17.9 228 178 6 97 42
4 Daniel Giddens C 599 18.2 127 119 9 108 33
12 A.J. Harris G 478 13.7 99 35 59 40 36
0 Mickey Mitchell F 295 12.8 47 64 15 41 24
10 David Bell F 126 5.5 26 34 1 24 4
3 Austin Grandstaff G 115 11.5 44 3 0 6 6
14 Joey Lane G 11 1.6 4 0 0 2 0

That’s our base activity. Let’s next delve into the per-minute efficiency of the players, particularly the transferees, table below. For reference, I’ve kept the total minutes played and minutes-pr-game in the table.

  • The columns to the right of minutes per game (MPG) are: points per minute (P/M), rebounds per minute (R/M), assists per minute (A/M), personal fouls per minute (PF/M) and turnovers per minute (TO/M).
  • With P/M, R/M and A/M, the higher the number the better.
  • For PF/M and TO/M, lower is better.

Nbr Player Pos Min MPG P/M R/M A/M PF/M TO/M
2 Marc Loving F 1,189 34.0 0.41 0.15 0.05 0.05 0.07
33 Kieta Bates-Diop F 1,040 31.5 0.37 0.20 0.03 0.06 0.04
13 JaQuan Lyle G 1,040 29.7 0.38 0.16 0.14 0.06 0.10
1 Jae’Sean Tate F 813 29.0 0.40 0.22 0.05 0.10 0.06
15 Kam Williams G 766 21.9 0.38 0.08 0.04 0.05 0.02
32 Trevor Thompson C 628 17.9 0.36 0.28 0.01 0.15 0.07
4 Daniel Giddens C 599 18.2 0.21 0.20 0.02 0.18 0.06
12 A.J. Harris G 478 13.7 0.21 0.07 0.12 0.08 0.08
0 Mickey Mitchell F 295 12.8 0.16 0.22 0.05 0.14 0.08
10 David Bell F 126 5.5 0.21 0.27 0.01 0.19 0.03
3 Austin Grandstaff G 115 11.5 0.38 0.03 0.00 0.05 0.05
14 Joey Lane G 11 1.6 0.36 0.00 0.00 0.18 0.00

So, what do we have? This table is fairly simple to interpret, you can draw additional conclusions, but here are some bullet point quick impressions:

  • Marc Loving, Kam Williams and Jae’Sean Tate are the most productive scorers, in P/M, followed closely by Kieta and Trevor. Austin finished fairly high, but with on’y 115 minutes of court time (<2%), he production was a non-factor. Giddens, Mitchell and Harris were not good at all.
  • Giddens and Mitchell were fairly efficient rebounders, on a par with returners (or ‘stayers’) Thompson and Tate.
  • Harris was 2nd in efficiency in assists; Mitchell was on a par with Tate/Loving, but Giddens was a ‘black hole’; he ball went in to him, but rarely came back out.
  • Giddens and Mitchell (along with Thompson) were foul machines – they never saw a foul they wouldn’t commit.
  • Harris and Mitchell had comparatively fairly high turnover numbers, but Harris had a lot of “touches”, so that’s not surprising, nor an indictment.

The transferees (Giddens, Mitchell, Harris and Grandstaff) contributed 21% of the floor time to Ohio State. They contributed:

  • 13% of the points
  • 18% of the rebounds
  • 21% of the assists
  • 31% of the fouls
  • 22% of the turnovers

Some of these were in line with playing time and some were, unexpectedly, out of line. It indicates to me they were still in the learning process of playing at this level.


I think that if you’ve followed Buckeye basketball, you could have seen this season coming in terms of wins-losses. Early in the non-conference portion of the schedule, Joe Dexter and I had a conversation where we concluded that a 20-win season would be in doubt as was qualifying for the NCAA’s. This team was an ‘under construction’ effort all year. This was always going to be transition year. Among Marc Loving, Kieta Bates-Diop, Jae’Sean Tate and Kam Williams, there was, one starter amongst the four. Loving and Tate split starts while Bates-Diop and Williams did not start a game. I think this season was as much about “seasoning” those four as it was getting the freshmen players significant game experience.

This year’s roster was center ‘heavy’ and guard ‘light’. With these transfers, Thad should/better seek better balance in the position groups. Bill Landis makes a good argument in this regard. At least no upperclassmen (as of yet) have left the program, so it could have been a lot worse.

The post 2nd Thoughts: Ohio State Men’s Basketball Transfers appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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