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Mizzou Hoops Player Review: DeAndre Gholston

The preeminent orchestrator of late game theater, Green Light Gholston left his mark in Columbia.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

On March 26, 2022, DeAndre Gholston committed to Dennis Gates’s Mizzou Tigers program, just four days after the coach himself became official. He was the second known commitment and as many in two days. “Dree,” as he’s known informally, would play his last game in a Tiger uniform on March 18, 2023. A total of 357 days spent as an active member of the Mizzou program.

And what a 357 days it was. The native of Gary, Indiana forever left his mark on the program.

Gholston wasn’t just a writer of storybook endings. Over 35 games he cracked double figures in the scoring column on 24 of them. A team needing to absorb the lost minutes of Isiaih Mosley, Gholston stepped up. Someone has to shoot the ball, after all.

His legacy will undoubtedly be centered around half-court heaves to notch crucial wins against Central Florida and Tennessee. And that’s entirely fair. Without those, Mizzou is the very definition of a bubble team. It’s rare that you can point directly to a player and say: without him, you don’t win those games. But it’s true for Dree. For a program, and an athletics department as a whole, “snakebit,” is a term that’s often thrown around. Gholston turned that entire narrative on its head.

By the numbers

DeAndre Gholston | By The Numbers

Games Starts %Min ORtg Usage%
Games Starts %Min ORtg Usage%
35 22 57.5 101.2 25.1
23.2 10.9 2.4 1.8 0.7
  • DeAndre Gholston Dribble Jumpers — 51.4% of Jump Shots — 0.99 Points Per Shot (82nd Percentile)

Mizzou’s offense at times was an absolute unit. Whether it was Nick Honor and D’Moi Hodge bombing away from long range or Kobe Brown and Noah Carter exploiting their unique skill sets to take advantages of mismatches offensively, Mizzou could be hard to stop. The role Gholston filled, however, was a consistent getter of tough buckets. His ability to attack from the perimeter (or the post) off the bounce and make tough mid-range jump shots really made difficult the task of stopping the 2022-2023 Tigers offense.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Utah State vs Missouri Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

DeAndre Gholston | On/Off Splits | 2022-23

Status Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net Rating eFG% ORB% FT Rate TOV% PPS - RIM PPS - Mid PPP - 3FGA
Status Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net Rating eFG% ORB% FT Rate TOV% PPS - RIM PPS - Mid PPP - 3FGA
On 1347 85 117 110.69 6.31 54.8 24.8 23 14.4 1.17 0.78 1.1
Off 999 73 118.74 111.43 7.31 55.3 28.4 20.7 13.9 1.2 0.84 1.05
Pivot Analysis

Gholston’s efficiency ticked up the season thanks to improved shooting of the catch and completing more plays around the rim, but his overall shot composition was never overhauled from his time at Milwaukee.

When he checked out of a game, MU’s efficiency margin inched up by one point per 100 possessions, while its shot-making remained level. And defensively, the Tigers weren’t any worse. Rebounding improved ever so slightly, but that was countered MU getting to the line a little bit less.

You knew what you Gholston brought to the table, and days where he found his mojo in the mid-range were found money. But at the very least, you knew he wasn’t a drag on MU’s operation.

DeAndre Gholston | Top-5 Lineups | 2022-23

PG CG Wing Wing/CF CF/Post Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net
PG CG Wing Wing/CF CF/Post Poss Margin Off. PPP Def. PPP Net
Honor Hodge Gholston Brown, Ko. Carter 264 59 129.21 106.85 22.35
Honor Hodge Gholston Brown, Ko. Diarra 104 -27 101.06 127.05 -25.99
East Hodge Gholston Brown, Ko. Carter 88 25 133.31 104.82 28.48
Honor East Gholston Brown, Ko. Carter 72 31 136.95 94.06 42.88
Honor East Hodge Gholston Brown, Ko. 44 3 133.19 126.3 6.88
Pivot Analysis

This table tells us less about Gholston’s importance than it does about how vital Kobe Brown and Noah Carter were to MU.

Gholston wasn’t absent from MU’s worst-performing quintets, but in almost all of them, the back court was irrelevant. Instead, Aidan Shaw and Diarra might be getting floor time. Or perhaps Shaw slotted in at the four and pushed Kobe to the five in smaller lineups. Regardless, the Tigers fared poorly.

So, Dree didn’t matter?

Far from it.

Coming into the season, there was reason to wonder whether his shot selection might undermine MU’s equilibrium. That wasn’t the case. From an efficiency perspective, Dree was a quality Division-I wing. And in 20 games against KenPom top-100 foes, he averaged 11.8 points, reaching double figures in all but four of them. When your roster is in flux and Isiaih Mosley isn’t available, it’s helpful to know Gholston will deposit 10 to 12 points one the stat sheet and can fit into almost any personnel grouping you trot out.

DeAndre Gholston | Overview

When dividing up postseason assignments for the staff, I offered to pen this piece specifically. A mea culpa of sorts.

In our preseason previews of the individual players that would make up the 2022-2023 Mizzou roster, I clearly undervalued the role DeAndre Gholston would play. There are two reasons for that: 1. Much of the role Gholston filled this year was assumed to have been filled by Isiaih Mosley; and 2. I was wrong.

Gholston’s impact on this team shouldn’t be understated. Mizzou was without a bona fide high volume, high efficiency scorer in the form of Mosley. The kind of guy you build an offense around. When that piece was unavailable, somebody had to step up.

And step up, Dree did.

Outside of Mosley’s 29.2% usage rate, garnered in just 19.7% of possible minutes played, Gholston’s usage rate of 25.3% was second highest on the team. Ahead of All-SEC selection, Kobe Brown at 23.5%.

To break this into layman’s terms, usage is simply the act of ending a possession. Think: Shots and Turnovers. Much work on the analytics side has centered around the idea of “skill curves.” That is, typically as usage goes up, efficiency goes down. And that’s intuitive. The more shots you take, the more tough shots you’re going to take. Defenses will adjust and take away what you do best.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Which brings me back to Dree. A year ago he was playing with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee program. His usage rate was 26.6% and his offensive rating was 92.6, well below grade. As you’ll notice from his numbers above, his usage for Mizzou dropped only slightly and his offensive rating actually rose.

He left the Horizon League, joined an SEC program, and got...better? You got it!

Gholston’s contributions this season were immense. And my projections were off-base. He served as the “go-to guy,” when the planned “go-to guy,” wasn’t available. And he did it well. What’s more, he did it burying tough, TOUGH shots.

While Gholston’s time in Columbia was short, his impact was large. Mizzou fans will not soon forget about Dree.