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Anthony Davis: What to Expect Based on the Stats of Similar Recruits

I am more excited about Anthony Davis than I have been for any freshman other than John Wall.  Let's look at how players ranked similarly in Scout.com's recruiting rankings have performed during their freshmen seasons to help us form our expectations for UK's best recruit.  It all begins after the jump.

Scout.com ranked Anthony Davis as the number 1 power forward and number 1 player overall in the class of 2012.  So did ESPN.  Rivals made the mistake of going with Austin "Insufferable" Rivers.*

*hopefully that nickname sticks.

Here are the last 5 players to be ranked as the best power forward in their respective classes and their stats from their freshmen seasons.

Year

Comp by Positional Rank

PPG

Rebounds

Assists

Blocks

2010

Tobias Harris

15.3

7.3

1.3

0.9

2009

John Henson

5.7

4.4

0.9

1.6

2008

Samardo Samuels

11.8

4.9

0.9

1.3

2007

Michael Beasley

26.2

12.4

1.2

1.6

 

2006

Brandan Wright

14.7

6.2

1

1.8


Average

14.74

7.04

1.06

1.44

 

For those of you that hate reading charts, number one ranked power forward recruits over the last 5 years produced an average of 14.7 PPG, 7 RPG, and 1.4 BPG.  Overall, that does not look like a bad guess at what Davis might produce; however, with a sample size of 5, there is a clear risk of outliers skewing the results.  We definitely have two outliers in this sample: the underwhelming John Henson and the preposterously good Michael Beasley.  Let's look at them in greater detail.

If you want to know what Anthony Davis's floor looks like, look no further than John Henson.  See if this scouting report sounds familiar: Henson's "skill level is off the charts.  His only weakness is the obvious strength factor. This long and lean forward stuffed the stat sheet all day long. He can rebound and go coast to coast or lead the break where he makes good decisions and passes like a guard."  That's from ESPN's recruiting profile of John Henson.  Henson's stats across the board are disappointing, but there is one big factor that prevents them from being soul-crushing: Henson only played about 16 minutes a game.  If we double his averages to give us a rough estimate of what he would have done in starter's minutes, we get 11.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 3.2 BPG.  That, my friends, is what I think Anthony Davis's floor looks like (with probably not quite so many blocks).

Michael Beasley, on the other hand, should represent your pie-in-the-sky hopes, dreams, and aspirations for Anthony Davis.  Michael Beasley was unbelievably good.  Anthony Davis will definitely not equal Beasley's stats, if only because won't use 33.5% of UK's possessions next year, but if you won't to dream big about how good Davis might be, Michael Beasley is your man.

Lastly, let's all make fun of Samardo Samuels for averaging fewer than 5 RPG.  No excuses based on minutes played either.  Samardo averaged 25 minutes a game his freshmen year.

Next, here's a list of the PPG for Scout.com's number one overall players in their freshmen seasons.

Year

Comp by Overall Rank (1)

PPG

2010

Harrison Barnes

15.7

2009

Derrick Favors

12.4

2008

Samardo Samuels*

11.8

2007

OJ Mayo

20.7

2006

Greg Oden

15.7


Average

15.26

*Brandon Jennings was actually number one, but he never played at Arizona, so Samardo gets promoted from number 2.

15 PPG feels slightly too high to me.  My subjective projection for Anthony Davis next year: 14 PPG, 8 RPG, 3 BPG.  The great thing about Anthony Davis, the thing that makes him one of the most exciting freshmen any team has ever had is that it's totally possible for him to make those guesses look silly.  If his strength is an issue, he could produce John Henson's actual numbers.  If he keeps improving at the near exponential rate he's demonstrated in the last two years, he could rival Michael Beasley.

Bottom line: Anthony Davis will be the single most fun thing to talk about during your holiday weekend.

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