March 28, 2017

2017-18: Tony Bennett's Most Talented Team Yet

You heard me.

My hypothesis: IF you allow that recruit rankings is a valid measure of a player's base talent level, AND minutes played is an accurate measure of the dosage of that talent upon the roster, THEN the 2017-18 Virginia basketball team will be the most talented team Tony Bennett has fielded.  And it's not close.

And - even though math is not my strength - I've got some math to back up my claim.


Take a look at my pretty tables...

Bennett's Recruits at Virginia
RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank
Tristan SpurlockVirginia200973
Jontel EvansVirginia2009283
KT HarrellVirginia201047
James JohnsonVirginia201071
Joe HarrisVirginia2010132
Will ReganVirginia2010155
Akil MitchellVirginia2010248
Billy BaronVirginia2010308
Anthony GillSouth Carolina201195
Malcolm BrogdonVirginia201199
Paul JespersonVirginia2011114
Darion AtkinsVirginia2011unranked
Justin AndersonVirginia201250
Evan NolteVirginia201279
Mike TobeyVirginia201281
Taylor BarnetteVirginia2012243
Teven JonesVirginia2012245
Austin NicholsMemphis201322
Devon HallVirginia2013123
London PerrantesVirginia2013124
Darius ThompsonTennessee2013191
B.J. StithVirginia201498
Isaiah WilkinsVirginia2014145
Marial ShayokVirginia2014163
Jack SaltVirginia2014353
Mamadi DiakiteVirginia201533
Jarred ReuterVirginia2015158
Kyle GuyVirginia201638
Ty JeromeVirginia201644
Jay HuffVirginia201660
DeAndre HunterVirginia201692
Marco AnthonyVirginia2017235

Simple enough.  These are all of the guys Tony Bennett has recruited to UVA, to date.  The "Year" column was the year they were a high school recruit, thus it was the year they were ranked.  "Natl Rank" was their overall recruit ranking the year they were recruited.  I color coded the table so the intake years would be separated.  And, yes, the transfers are included.

Now, from most-talented to least-talented...

Bennett's Virginia Recruits, Ranked
RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank
#1Austin NicholsMemphis201322
#2Mamadi DiakiteVirginia201533
#3Kyle GuyVirginia201638
#4Ty JeromeVirginia201644
#5KT HarrellVirginia201047
#6Justin AndersonVirginia201250
#7Jay HuffVirginia201660
#8James JohnsonVirginia201071
#9Tristan SpurlockVirginia200973
#10Evan NolteVirginia201279
#11Mike TobeyVirginia201281
#12DeAndre HunterVirginia201692
#13Anthony GillSouth Carolina201195
#14B.J. StithVirginia201498
#15Malcolm BrogdonVirginia201199
#16Paul JespersonVirginia2011114
#17Devon HallVirginia2013123
#18London PerrantesVirginia2013124
#19Joe HarrisVirginia2010132
#20Isaiah WilkinsVirginia2014145
#21Will ReganVirginia2010155
#22Jarred ReuterVirginia2015158
#23Marial ShayokVirginia2014163
#24Darius ThompsonTennessee2013191
#25Marco AnthonyVirginia2017235
#26Taylor BarnetteVirginia2012243
#27Teven JonesVirginia2012245
#28Akil MitchellVirginia2010248
#29Jontel EvansVirginia2009283
#30Billy BaronVirginia2010308
#31Jack SaltVirginia2014353
#32Darion AtkinsVirginia2011unranked

[Projected] members of the 2017-18 team are in blue and orange, nimrod.

Okay, it's almost time for some comparative analysis.

The liberties I'm taking:
  • National Rank the year the player was recruited is a measure of the player's natural talent, prior to seasoning, development, and system integration within Virginia Basketball.  It's just a raw measure, not meant to be totally reflective of that player's value --- instead, it's just a measure of his natural tools.
  • Higher ranked players playing more minutes means we were putting more natural talent on the floor; therefore, Natl Rank x Minutes Played = Impact Value of that talent.  A higher-ranked recruit playing more minutes yields a higher value than a lower-ranked player playing the same minutes or a similarly-ranked player playing fewer minutes.
  • Player development, intangibles, "fit," and inherent value to the team is reflected by minutes played.  Coach doesn't / won't / wouldn't play players who hurt the team unless he had no other, better options available.
  • Raw, stupid, dumb, natural talent isn't changed.  Your recruiting ranking is your recruiting ranking.  Maybe you get bigger and stronger and more skilled, but you never really run faster or jump higher; your basketball acumen as measured as a high school senior is mostly the destiny you live out as a college player.  (I know there will be disagreement with this point, but I urge you to ask yourself: Why, then, do we ever care about recruiting rankings?  The answer is that raw, dumb, stupid, natural talent doesn't change.)

With that being said, let me restate my hypothesis here: IF you allow that recruit rankings is a valid measure of a player's base talent level, AND minutes played is an accurate measure of the dosage of that talent upon the roster, THEN the 2017-18 Virginia basketball team will be the most talented team Tony Bennett has fielded. And it's not close.

Let's take a look...

RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank11-12min%Value
KT HarrellVirginia201047472080.0518.30
James JohnsonVirginia20107171370.013.03
Malcolm BrogdonVirginia201199996260.1646.98
Paul JespersonVirginia20111141142200.0515.69
Joe HarrisVirginia20101321329690.2464.78
Akil MitchellVirginia20102482487050.1826.81
Jontel EvansVirginia20092832839840.2428.85
Darion AtkinsVirginia2011unranked4002750.070.07

RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank12-13min%Value
Justin AndersonVirginia201250508410.1242.95
Evan NolteVirginia201279796940.1032.51
Mike TobeyVirginia201281814160.0619.37
Paul JespersonVirginia20111141149000.1337.58
Joe HarrisVirginia201013213211390.1744.58
Taylor BarnetteVirginia20122432432480.045.70
Teven JonesVirginia20122452454050.069.19
Akil MitchellVirginia201024824810690.1623.80
Jontel EvansVirginia20092832837540.1112.95
Darion AtkinsVirginia2011unranked4004070.060.06

RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank13-14min%Value
Justin AndersonVirginia201250507960.1138.32
Evan NolteVirginia201279792970.0413.12
Mike TobeyVirginia201281816680.0929.32
Anthony GillSouth Carolina201195957330.1030.76
Malcolm BrogdonVirginia2011999911630.1648.17
London PerrantesVirginia201312412411050.1541.98
Joe HarrisVirginia201013213210660.1539.33
Teven JonesVirginia20122452451250.022.67
Akil MitchellVirginia20102482489520.1319.98
Darion AtkinsVirginia2011unranked4003860.050.05

RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank14-15min%Value
Justin AndersonVirginia201250507240.1137.48
Evan NolteVirginia201279795900.0928.02
Mike TobeyVirginia201281815820.0927.46
Anthony GillSouth Carolina201195958590.1338.76
B.J. StithVirginia20149898630.012.82
Malcolm BrogdonVirginia2011999911050.1649.21
Devon HallVirginia20131231232440.0410.00
London PerrantesVirginia201312412410650.1643.50
Isaiah WilkinsVirginia20141451452640.049.97
Marial ShayokVirginia20141631634960.0717.41
Darion AtkinsVirginia2011unranked4007890.120.12

RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank15-16min%Value
Evan NolteVirginia201279792990.0413.05
Mike TobeyVirginia201281815810.0825.21
Anthony GillSouth Carolina2011959510370.1443.02
Malcolm BrogdonVirginia2011999912630.1751.71
Devon HallVirginia20131231238090.1130.49
London PerrantesVirginia201312412411620.1643.64
Isaiah WilkinsVirginia20141451457920.1127.49
Jarred ReuterVirginia20151581581210.023.99
Marial ShayokVirginia20141631635260.0716.97
Darius ThompsonTennessee20131911916480.0918.45
Jack SaltVirginia20143533531380.020.90

RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank16-17min%Value
Austin NicholsMemphis20132222160.000.89
Mamadi DiakiteVirginia201533334490.0724.20
Kyle GuyVirginia201638386340.0933.70
Ty JeromeVirginia201644444730.0724.73
Devon HallVirginia20131231239310.1437.90
London PerrantesVirginia201312412410930.1644.33
Isaiah WilkinsVirginia20141451458740.1332.76
Jarred ReuterVirginia20151581583440.0512.24
Marial ShayokVirginia20141631637020.1024.47
Darius ThompsonTennessee20131911916860.1021.10
Jack SaltVirginia20143533536270.094.41

RecruitSchoolYearNatl Rank17-18MPG%Value
Mamadi DiakiteVirginia2015333318.000.0933.12
Kyle GuyVirginia2016383832.000.1658.08
Ty JeromeVirginia2016444432.000.1657.12
Jay HuffVirginia2016606014.000.0723.87
DeAndre HunterVirginia2016929218.000.0927.81
Devon HallVirginia201312312332.000.1644.48
Isaiah WilkinsVirginia201414514530.000.1538.40
Marco AnthonyVirginia20172352356.000.034.98
Jack SaltVirginia201435335318.000.094.32


I think hope that was pretty self-explanatory.

Darion Atkins being unranked kind of fucks some of the numbers up, but I still think it's a decent look at the talent (measured by recruit ranking) by roster dosage (minutes played) for each season.

Another illustrative table.

SeasonRecordNCAATKendall Value
2011-1222-10 (9-7 ACC)Round of 64204.51
2012-1323-12 (11-7 ACC)NIT228.69
2013-1430-7 (16-2 ACC)Sweet 16263.71
2014-1530-4 (16-2 ACC)Round of 32264.75
2015-1629-8 (13-5 ACC)Elite 8274.91
2016-1723-11 (11-7 ACC)Round of 32260.72

And a... what do you call these things?  A chart?  A graph?

Tony Bennett has been a success so far at Virginia by doing more with less.  Next season, potential depth issues aside, he will be attempting to do more with... more.

Pretty big reasons for optimism, despite the losses of Reuter, Shayok, and Thompson.




  1. If you give Atkins a Mitchell-level grade (which seems reasonable), you end up with (roughly, I'm just eyeballing it):

    2011-12 205
    2012-13 237
    2013-14 270
    2014-15 281
    2015-16 275
    2016-17 261

    On the one hand, obviously it still doesn't really mean anything. On the other hand, I can't speak for anyone else, but those revised scores match up *really* well with my own perceptions of how strong those teams were.

    Also, the 2017-2018 team probably won't just have 9 players getting minutes. They will probably end up adding a someone (or two) from somewhere to pad out the end of the bench. That someone will have to be someone willing to take that job, and therefore will likely be ranked ~200th and thus pull the final score down (to maybe 285-ish? Who knows?)

    I'm curious to see how this methodology works out. Predicting a 1 or 2 seed for this crew next year seems very optimistic, but if it happens, you're a genius.

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