Haws, Waldow Among Sports Illustrated’s Top High-Usage Scorers


Sports Illustrated has been posting some great content recently previewing the college basketball season including an some interesting stat projections. In October they released a great piece projecting the top players in points, rebounds, and assists. It’s a great read in large part because of how impressively dominant the WCC is on the lists. In fact the WCC has the top player in two of those categories and the number two player in the other.

Today we’re looking at the rankings for the top 20 high-usage scorers. This was an interesting addition in that it’s a group of players pulled from the top 100 scorers that are expected to be used in at least 24% of their team’s possessions. This makes them “high-usage scorers” who SI deems more valuable because of how much their team will rely on them.

The projection ends up with an average points per possession for each player to determine how valuable they are as scorers. Two WCC players make this list. Brad Waldow of Saint Mary’s comes in 4th at 1.20 points per possession, and Tyler Haws of BYU comes in 8th with 1.18 points per possession. These high rankings indicate that Waldow and Haws are two of the most valuable players in the nation in relation to how much they help their teams on the offensive end.

Waldow is on some elite company coming just 0.006 points per possession behind highly touted freshman center Jahlil Okafor of Duke. The article mentions this makes his selection as an AP Preseason All-American as a freshman more clear, and they also note it probably means more people should be looking at Waldow.

It’s an excellent point. If Okafor can be projected at 1.206 points per possession and be considered the best center in the nation before playing a minute of college basketball, it says a lot about Waldow that he’s basically neck-and-neck with Okafor in this category. Waldow also means more to his team according to the projection. He is predicted to be involved in 27% of his team’s possessions compared to 24% for Okafor.

Tyler Haws meanwhile is an obvious choice to make this list. Not only is he arguably the best scorer in the nation including leading the SI projection of the top 100 scorers, he’s also a key piece of the BYU lineup. The article projects him to be involved with 29% of his team’s possessions, highest on the list. The next closest player is George Niang who is expected to put up 1.145 points per possesion on 28% of his team’s possessions. He’s six spots lower than Haws on the list.

With the weak frontcourt of the Cougars and backcourt mate Kyle Collinsworth returning from a torn ACL, it is going to be all about Tyler Haws in Utah. His large percentage of involvement is as much out of necessity as it is due to his immense talent. It’s just a fortunate coincidence for BYU that the player they need to lean on this year is also the best scorer in the nation.