FanPost

Kyle Wiltjer: What to Expect Based on the Stats of Similar Recruits

Kyle Wiltjer is the least heralded of UK's incoming recruits.  There are worse things in the world.  He still was a unanimous five star recruit.  What kind of impact can UK fans expect him to make next season?  To help figure that out, let's once again look at the stats of similarly ranked recruits from the past five years.

Wiljter was ranked as the number 2 center in the 2011 class by Scout.com.  This poses a bit of a problem, but I'll talk about that after looking at the stats.

 

Year Comp by Positional Rank (2) PPG Rebounds Assists Blocks
2010 Jared Sullinger 17.2 10.2 1.2 1
2009 DeMarcus Cousins 15.1 9.8 1 1.8
2008 J'Mison Morgan 2.3 1 0.2 0.5
2007 DeAndre Jordan 7.9 6 0.4 1.3
2006 Spencer Hawes 14.9 6.4 1.9 1.7
Average 11.48 6.68 0.94 1.26

 

Looking at that list, it's clear that none of those players are great matches for Wiltjer.  Put simply, Wiltjer is not as big a recruit as Sullinger, Cousins, Jordan, or Hawes.  Jordan was a pretty big disappointment his only season at Texas A&M, but there is very little chance that Wiltjer matches the production of Sullinger, Boogie, or Hawes.  That leaves us with J'Mison Morgan as the best match for Wiljter according to the rankings.  Unfortunately, Morgan was a total knucklehead at UCLA and from the interviews I've seen with Witljer, it seems pretty unlikely he follows the same path.  Incidentally, Morgan was actually the third ranked center for Scout that year, but the second ranked center that year was some guy named Rashanti Harris.  Harris was supposed to play at UTEP, but he hasn't yet.

I don't think these center stats hold any predictive value for Wiltjer.  I'd have been better off switching to ESPN or Rivals for Wiltjer, but I didn't.  Scout's overall rating for Wiltjer, however, is right in line with everybody else's at number 22.  Here are the stats for the last 5 players to be ranked by Scout as number 22 overall.

 

Year Comp by Overall Rank (22) PPG Freshman PPG Soph PPG Junior
2010 Ray McCallum 13.5
2009 Dominic Cheek 4.9 5.6
2008 DeQuan Jones 2.7 5.7 4.5
2007 Durrell Summers 4.9 8.6 11.3
2006 DaJuan Summers 9.2 11.1 13.6
Average 7.04 7.75 9.8

 

You might have noticed I've done something differently with Wiltjer.  I believe Wiltjer is not going to be a one and done, so I've included the PPG averages for these player's sophomore and junior seasons as well (Durrell Summers is the only player on the list to have yet played as a senior).  7 PPG is probably the upper limit of what to expect from Wiltjer this season.  Even though I think he'll play fewer minutes than any of the other freshmen, his shooting ability makes 7 PPG a real possibility.  After all, two 3's gets you to 6.  I think the more likely outcome is for Wiltjer to score around 5 PPG like Durrell Summers and Dominic Cheek.

I'm a little surprised by the lack of scoring from these players in their sophomore and junior seasons.  Honestly, I expected the junior season average to be 13 to 15 PPG.  Instead, only DaJuan Summers managed to score that many points.  There's a couple of things to note, though.  First, this is an insanely small 3 person sample that is really dragged down by DeQuan Jones, whose scoring actually decreased his junior year.  Second, DaJuan Summers was better than his PPG suggests, as Georgetown played at a very slow pace.

I'm very happy Kyle Wiltjer is a Wildcat.  His presence plus that of Ryan Harrow makes me much less worried about 2012 recruiting than I otherwise would be.  Given his pre-existing skill level and a full season of strength training with Rock, I expect Wiltjer to be a very capable scorer by 2012 and better than almost any PF recruit Calipari might bring in.  As for this year, he'll be an important player off the bench if his shot is as good as advertised.

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