Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the transfer: Anthony Gill

WOOT WOOT.  After a couple months of suspense, Tony Bennett nabbed a long-sought transfer player: power forward Anthony Gill, formerly of South Carolina.  USC-E made a coaching change, replacing Darrin Horn with Frank Martin of Kansas State, and coaching changes always mean transfers, and one thing led to another and here we are.

"One thing and another" are mostly our dire need for a scoring big man and our coaches letting Gill know that.  Make a guy feel wanted and he'll respond in kind.  He must have felt very wanted, actually, because word came down early yesterday afternoon that he'd picked UVA - in other words, probably not even 36 hours after he'd left Columbus on his official visit to Ohio State.

Yeah, the Ohio State that goes to Final Fours and such.  Also after Gill - though in an on-and-off manner before finally giving him an ultimatum - was UNC, the same UNC that goes to Final Fours and such.  UVA had a leg up: Gill was high school teammates at Charlotte Christian with Akil Mitchell.

The basics, then: Gill is a 6'8", 235 pound power forward.  He's a wee bit undersized for our needs; if I could be picky and specific I'd ask for about 6'10" if you please, but I'm not complaining about a 98% fit.  Gill averaged 7.6 points, 4.7 boards, and 1.1 assists for South Carolina - an integral part of the team despite being a freshman.  Definitely the best freshman they had, which means he did a good job of living up to his recruiting rankings.  Every service put him in their Top Whatever, and though he was never gonna have one-and-done skills, he didn't disappoint at all.

KenPom gave Gill an O-rating of 100.2, right in the middle of the usefulness range (90 is pretty low, 110 is really good) - maybe the best comparison is that in 2010-11, Mu Farrakhan had a 100.4.  Gill's 100.2 isn't blow-you-away stuff.  You'd like to see a big man have a better shooting percentage, for example - Gill's was .453.  But for a freshman big man, Gill's performance was pretty good.

AG's coaches don't hesitate to compare him to Mike Scott.  Now, I'll believe that when I see AG cure a person's cancer by touching a basketball and then viciously dunking that basketball on the poor cancer victim.  Or I'll believe it when I see if Gill's jumper is as sweet as Mike's.  It wouldn't be quite fair to compare because it took Mike Scott years to develop that jumper, but just so's you know, AG shot .393 (11-for-28) from three-point-land this year.  Gill's 7.6, 4.7 stacks up pretty favorably to Mike's 5.7, 5.3 his own freshman year (albeit in seven more minutes per game), so the potential is very, very much there.

When AG is eligible to play in 2013-2014, the big-man situation looks like this:  Akil Mitchell will be a senior, Darion Atkins a junior, and Gill and Mike Tobey, sophomores.  That's still thin.  The coaches are hoping Brandan Stith grows a few inches and joins as another big in 2014, but that's a ways off.  There isn't much scoring punch from the bigs, except for the hope that some develops.  I don't think Mitchell will be a scorer.  Atkins, we'll see, but he didn't flash much ability in that regard this year.  Tobey, we have no idea.  That makes Gill the best bird in the hand, where we sit right now.

The coaches might now go after Gill's South Carolina teammate, Damontre Harris.  Harris averaged 6.8 points on .550 shooting, but wasn't counted on for offense; he played the second-most minutes of anyone on the Gamecock roster but took the fifth-most shots.  Very low-usage.  Whether the coaches make a push for Harris will likely depend on whether they think the 6'9"-but-skinny Harris can be an offensive threat.

It might not seem like it, but the coaches have to tread a little bit carefully with the scholarship situation.  The deal is that B.J. Stith is committed for 2014, and if the coaches get their way, Brandan Stith and Devon Hall will join him.  That'd be like totally sweet you guys OMG you have no idea, but we have to make sure there's room.  Right now, nine scholarships are spoken for in the 2014-2015 season, and no, I'm not going to assume attrition, which means that if we want both Stiths and Hall, we can take no more than two more people right now.  Meaning, the 2013 recruiting class is gonna be tiny, especially if we take another transfer, and don't think the coaches aren't still actively looking.  Oh, and one of the next two guys has got to be a point guard.

Meanwhile, Gill.  An instant starter when he's eligible, and here's why: his competition for playing time is mainly guys who defend more than they score, and the chances of us landing a really, really good big guy in the 2013 class are small.  (We might get a really, really good guard - Big Cat Barber, you listening? - but there aren't any bigs on the radar.)  Bennett might prefer a defender, of course, you know how he is, but I think as long as Gill gets the gist, and he's got a no-pressure year to learn, he'll get the nod. I think he'll be a starter from Day 1.  So any time you can add that kind of guy to the lineup, it's a big deal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really want the Big Cat