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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Josh Harrellson Has Made A Bigger Impact Than You Think

Can Josh Harrellson's value be measured?  Why, yes, at least a little bit.
Can Josh Harrellson's value be measured? Why, yes, at least a little bit.

All year long, Kentucky fans have lauded Josh Harrellson's play starting from about the Louisville game when he broke out for 23 points and 14 rebounds.  Harrellson has continued on to lead the SEC in offensive rebounding and be a guy that you can always depend on to play hard, run the floor, get big rebounds and do the little things, like set solid picks and defend the pick and roll.

But Harrellson has made more of an impact even than most people think in terms of all-time records.  As of right now, Josh Harrellson has the highest non-scoring Tendex rating of any player in UK history, which you can find over at Jon Scott's excellent UK history site,  As of this moment, Harrellson is at .391, ahead of such worthies as Chuck Hayes, Anthony Epps, Nazr Mohammed, Rajon Rondo and Sam Bowie.  How this rating is achieved is explained here.

What this means is that Harrellson has performed a combination of the little things -- rebounds, assists, turnovers, missed field goals, missed free throws and personal fouls -- better based on this calculation than any player, per minute, in Kentucky history.  What you will see when you examine these ratings are interspersed the names of a few players who made a limited impact on Kentucky basketball, like Shagari Allene and Kevin Galloway.  These players played few minutes for various good reasons, but the minutes they played had high numbers of the things that count in these measures.

But as I mentioned earlier, there are some big names on there, also, and it occurs to me that the player who played most like Josh Harrellson while he was here was Chuck Hayes.  Hayes scored much more, of course, and played the game a much different way, but he was always collecting unlikely rebounds over bigger and more talented guys, or finding ways to get steals, assists, or just make plays.  Harrellson is kind of a poor man's version of Chuck, or a bigger version of Jared Pricket.

Harrellson also leads that same measure on a season per-game basis, which provides perhaps an even more stark indication of his value to the team.  You will find very few occasional players on this list, and once again, Chuck Hayes is his nearest competition of a comparable number of season games.  Of course, his career ratings are way down the list due to the fact that Harrellson rarely played prior to this year.

As far as other player ratings go,Terrence Jones is comparatively high on the season per game Tendex rating, just two spots below DeMarcus Cousins last year, although he's well behind Cousins in the career per minute performance.

In the Prouty ratings, yet another different rating system, Terrence Jones clocks in highest in the season per minute and career per minute ratings.  Brandon Knight is also on the board just below him, and in the career per minute ratings, both those two are very high, although still well below John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

Overall, these statistics are designed to measure individual performance, and even though team performance is related to individual performance, that relationship varies pretty widely based on the team dynamics.  This Kentucky team has had a good but not great regular season by our measure, but by individual performance measures, many of the players rank very high in the annals of UK history.

Since we are talking UK history here, let's take a look at some noteworthy players who had interesting careers versus UK.  Again, this all comes from Jon Scott's site:

Stacey Poole - Florida
Game Outcome FG FGA 3pt
1/10/1990 W 89 - 81 4 12 0 1 0 0 7 5 8
2/12/1990 W 78 - 74 11 18 0 0 2 5 9 1 24
1/23/1991 W 81 - 65 5 10 0 0 0 0 6 2 10
2/23/1991 W 90 - 74 6 14 0 0 4 5 4 5 16
1/11/1992 W 81 - 60 10 18 0 0 1 3 5 2 21
3/4/1992 L 62 - 79 8 12 0 0 3 3 12 2 19
1/30/1993 W 71 - 48 6 18 0 0 4 7 10 1 16
3/7/1993 W 85 - 77 8 15 0 0 2 5 1 4 18


Recognize this name?  Stacey's dad only managed one victory against UK in his playing career. How about a couple more:

Chris Jackson - Louisiana State
Game Outcome FG FGA 3pt
1/14/1989 L 62 - 64 9 23 2 12 7 7 2 2 27
2/15/1989 L 80 - 99 13 29 3 11 5 7 1 0 34
1/13/1990 L 81 - 94 7 13 2 3 12 12 4 2 28
2/15/1990 W 100 - 95 13 29 7 17 8 9 3 3 41


Now, there is a guy who had a career against UK.  3-1?  Not bad.  Not as good as this, though:

Derrick Byars - Vanderbilt
Game Outcome FG FGA 3pt
1/10/2006 L 52 - 57 3 9 2 5 4 4 4 4 12
2/11/2006 L 81 - 84 6 12 2 4 3 3 5 2 17
1/20/2007 L 67 - 72 7 12 4 7 5 8 8 3 23
2/25/2007 L 65 - 67 10 22 3 11 3 4 6 2 26


Ouch.  Undefeated against Kentucky in four tries.  Actually, it was 5-0 versus the 'Cats, he also beat us while he was at Virginia in his only attempt there.  'Cat killer extraordinaire.

Other all-time successful players against Kentucky were guys like Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough, who never knew what it was like to lose to Kentucky.  Great players who never knew what it was like to win over Kentucky over the years included Andre Miller of Utah, Stephon Marbury of Georgia Tech, Clark Kellogg of Ohio State, Bill Laimbeer of Notre Dame, Butch Lee of Marquette, Akeem Olajuwon of Houston and Rudy Tomjanovic of Michigan just to name a few.



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