How Mizzou builds a championship basketball program, Part 1

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Or my preferred title: "Why Kim Anderson should hire me as his assistant so I can show him all of this stuff."

The University of Missouri can win a National Championship in Men's Basketball, and can do so soon. I'm going to target 2016-17 as the first year it's possible. And here is why:

**// If you would like to skip the background and get the meat and potatoes of the discussion...you can avoid the next few paragraphs //**

Looking at the last 10 National Champions (that's when the Rivals data on recruiting was strong enough to support this endeavor) there should be enough information of what it takes to build a roster that can win a championship. What I did was take the contributors (anyone who averaged more than about 7 minutes a game) and looked up the Rivals rating of those players and how many of those contributors were upperclassmen (either juniors or seniors), and then weighted a score based upon those factors. With only 200 minutes, not every minute played by every player is going to be the same. 5-star players are generally going to give you more on the floor than a 3-star player. So with each team forced by the rules to play 200 minutes I tried to find a system that reflected the value of each minute played and I'm pretty happy with the results.

I tried to find a system that reflected the value of each minute played.

For a little background on that the main categories of Rivals Minutes and Experience Minutes showed me quite a bit but I wanted to take it a step further and weighted one more thing. A combination of star rating coupled with experience to create a MEGA-weighted scale of sorts called simply the Adjusted Minutes. What this did was smooth out the numbers a touch more because fewer 5-star players stick around long enough to have an impact as a senior. But 3-star and 4-star guys are very likely to be there as juniors and in most cases as seniors.

There were some teams that have won with borderline unfair amounts of talent. Kentucky won in 2012 with 6 5-star players and just one upperclassmen (only having 7 contributors) who was a 4-star senior. Kansas won in 2008 with 6 5-star players and 6 upperclassmen(with 9 contributors). Most of the teams have had at least 5 upperclassmen contributors with only 2006 Florida and 2011 UConn as the outliers. Florida and UConn also had a limited supply of 5-star players yet each have won two championships in the last 10 years. UConn won with one 5-star this past year and two in 2011. Florida didn't have a single 5-star in their back-to-back championships. Louisville also won with just a single 5-star player.

The lowest seed to win was UConn this past year when they defied the odds of winning by heaping on the experience minutes which they had more than any other champion. There was only one player to not be assigned a rivals rating (I did have to estimate on some of the North Carolina team from 2005) in the last 10 years and that was Niels Giffey (oddly enough the only international player) from UConn, he contributed to both championship teams so it's probably safe to say he would have been at least a 3-star, so that's what I gave him to even it out.

Here are some fun charts of the weight scales:

5*

4*

3*

2*

Senior

7

5

4

3

Junior

6.5

4.5

3

2

Sophomore

5.5

4

2

1.5

Freshman

4.5

3

1.5

1

Here a 2-star freshman is considered a replacement level player

Here a 2-star freshman is considered a replacement level player in this scale. A 4-star senior is better than a 5-star freshman but not by a whole lot. A good example of this was the championship game this past year. A 4 star senior, Shabazz Napier, helped his team (with other experienced guys) defeat a bunch of 5-star freshmen at Kentucky.

Rivals and Experience minutes are a lot easier. For the Rivals minutes, for each minute played by a 5-star player, that minute was multiplied by 4. A 4-star was multiplied by 3, a 3-star was multiplied by 2, anything else was multiplied by 1. Again, an unrated or 2 star player being considered a replacement level. The same system was applied for Experience, with freshmen being given the replacement level minutes. A senior being given a multiple of 4.

With these three categories added together, I then divided that number by the number of players who were contributors. What came out was what I'm calling the Score Per Player, or ScorePP for short. All that data worked out into a chart that looked like this:

Year

Team

Rivs Mins

Exp Mins

Adj Mins

Total

ScorePP

2014

UConn

525.9

626.6

828.6

1981.1

198.1

2013

Louisville

508.2

503.2

846.2

1857.6

185.8

2012

Kentucky

749.5

332.7

946.1

2028.3

289.8

2011

UConn

624.5

396.3

826.7

1847.5

184.8

2010

Duke

662.7

603.4

995.6

2261.7

251.3

2009

N Carolina

720.6

613.9

1098.9

2433.4

243.3

2008

Kansas

740.1

608.8

1163.4

2512.3

279.1

2007

Florida

480.3

425.3

763.2

1668.8

185.4

2006

Florida

495.0

440.0

638.3

1573.3

174.8

2005

N Carolina

646.7

590.8

985.4

2222.9

222.3

AVG

615.4

514.1

909.2

2038.7

221.5

Some interesting aspects derived from this chart: Kentucky in 2012 is a huge outlier because they were a team of almost all underclassmen 5-star players who only went 7 deep. So they've got an unusually high ScorePP despite having the lowest score of ExpMin. With only one player who was a non-5-star player they were able to overcome the obstacles of not having any real experience. Teams that we would be good to pay attention to however are Florida, Louisville and UConn. They never had a ScorePP over 200. So they were competing and winning championships with good talent and experience in the right areas. And this is where Mizzou and it's recruiting is typically going to make a living. But let's see how this goes anyway.

**// End of the explanation, now let's talk about the process //**

The Process, Year 1 (2014-2015)


Looking at this upcoming 2014-15 season we all probably expected it to get a little rocky if roster departures included both Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson. Since the roster did take those hits the team is left with a talented, albeit young, core of players. If Coach Kim Anderson can get to 10 deep next year on a contributor level, there will likely be 7 4-star players getting minutes. Senior Keanau Post, Junior Deuce Bello, Sophomores Wes Clark, Cameron Biedscheid and Johnathan Williams III, and Freshmen Jakeenan Gant and Namon Wright. They will all be joined by 3-star players Junior Ryan Rosburg and Sophomore Torren Jones. The last guy to get expected minutes is Keith Shamburger, who is a 2-star recruit but a senior. That also doesn't include two outstanding scholarships and D'Angelo Allen who is a very intriguing prospect but probably isn't ready for big time minutes early.

The biggest concern going into next year (other than figuring out who is going to score points) is that there are only 4 expected upperclassmen contributors next season. Bello, Rosburg, Shamburger and Post. That's not a ton of experience coupled with the fact that we have no idea what to expect from any of them outside of Rosburg. The strength of overall talent is offset by the low showing in experience. And it's that lack of experience on the roster keeps Mizzou's ScorePP down. But a lot can be gained in a year like this.

I think we can expect a total of around 40 minutes per game for the four-star freshmen.

Wes Clark averaged 20.4 minutes a game last year and for this teams ceiling to be higher both in the near and long term they need Clark to average about 24-26 minutes. They also need about 25 minutes a game from Biedscheid once he's eligible. It's safe to expect an output from Johnathan Williams III to be in the same realm of what he gave you last year if not a few minutes more. With 75-80 minutes accounted for, you also want to find a way to get 15-20 minutes each from both Gant and Wright. I think the more minutes you get those two the better the future will be. I think we can expect a total of around 40 minutes per game for the four-star freshmen. That would bring the total accounted for to 125, with around 75 unaccounted for from the other 5 players.

The toughest projection going into next year is Duece Bello, a guy that could give you 25 minutes or 10 minutes. At Baylor, Bello had a tough time getting on the court and realizing his potential as a top 60 recruit. Will a year off and a change of scenery help him get there? I'm estimating that it will. And I'm going to project Bello at 24 minutes a game next year. I think that number may dip by the end of the year as Biedscheid and Wright start to get more minutes, but to start out I think we'll count on his energy a lot.

With 51 minutes left between 4 guys the pickings start to get a bit slim. I personally believe that the ceiling is higher for Mizzou if Rosburg is closer to 20 minutes than he is 25 minutes. I'll split the difference and give him 22. The last three guys are also a bit difficult to project. The more minutes Post is getting the fewer minutes Rosburg is, it's that simple. Post may have the higher ceiling so that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. For now I'll give him a bit more time than last year at about 10 minutes. Any more and you just subtract minutes from Rosburg. As they are basically going to give you a similar player with different levels of impact. Shamburger should grab 16-18 minutes a game at point, any more and I think it just subtracts from Clark as right now they are the only two PGs on the roster. Last is Torren Jones who we all love. The Torrenado. I don't project him as getting more than 10 minutes, probably at about the contributor minimum of 7-8 minutes.

Roster Breakdown per Minute

2014-15

PG

SG

SF

PF

C

Total

Danny Feldmann

0

0

0

0

0

0

Keanau Post

0

0

0

0

10

10

Keith Shamburger

18

0

0

0

0

18

Deuce Bello*

0

24

0

0

0

24

Ryan Rosburg*

0

0

0

0

22

22

Cameron Biedscheid*

0

0

28

0

0

28

Wes Clark*

22

4

0

0

0

26

Torren Jones

0

0

0

4

3

7

Jonathan Williams III*

0

0

0

21

5

26

D’Angelo Allen

0

0

0

0

0

0

Hayden Barnard

0

0

0

0

0

0

Jakeenan Gant

0

0

7

15

0

22

Namon Wright

0

12

5

0

0

17

Freshman PG

0

0

0

0

0

0

40

40

40

40

40

200

There you have it. 200 minutes distributed over 10 players. I think this is a pretty safe projection going into next year. Where things get interesting is in the next two scholarships open. A JUCO player would probably compete for minutes right away but any freshman signed likely has a very minimal impact, similar to where I am projecting Allen. The two most likely targets at this point are Tramaine Isabell, a 6'1 High School PG from Seattle and Fred Richardson, a 6'6 JUCO wing from Houston who, according to PowerMizzou was visiting this past weekend.

Year

Team

Riv Mins

Exp Mins

Adj Mins

Total

ScorePP

2015

Mizzou

535.0

461.0

728.0

1724.0

172.4

A ScorePP of 172.4 is pretty good and just below the lowest ScorePP for a champion in the last 10 years. The best of projections for year 1 are probably a tournament team, a 6-10 seed in the NCAA tournament and 22-25 wins. With this roster and the minutes distributed like they are above I see no reason why a 20 win season and a NCAA tournament bubble isn't possible. No matter what this upcoming season is a first step towards that stepping stone season.

DEPARTING SCHOLARSHIPS:

Keanau Post - Center; Keith Shamburger - Point Guard;

NBA DRAFT POSSIBILITIES:

  • Cameron Biedscheid: Highly ranked recruit in his third year out. If Cam has a breakout year for Mizzou he could make the jump. Not very likely: 25% chance
  • Deuce Bello: very good athlete just hasn't put it all together in college. If Deuce is able to put some things together this year he might find himself draft able. Very unlikely: 12% chance
  • Jonathan Williams III: a year to improve his body could do a lot for Williams. He's already a fierce rebounder who's athleticism is high. Very unlikely: 8% chance

WRAPUP

So after year one, Mizzou sits as a school on the rise. Performance was shaky at times due to the overwhelming youth collecting so many minutes but there is reason for optimism. The offense seems to have a plan, the defense is improved and we are getting almost everybody back for next year. Plus, there is a buzz about how well HCKA is doing on the recruiting path with some important in-state players. In tomorrow's part two, we'll look at some recruiting information and how Mizzou might fortify their roster to be able to take the next step.

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