Personnel Report: Oklahoma State

Dylan Burkhardt

We’ve already looked at Oklahoma State’s statistical profile at a high-level, but here’s a closer look at the Cowboy rotation as we get closer to Friday’s match-up.

#1 – Jawun Evans

What stands out watching Jawun Evans on film is how effortlessly he changes speeds and gets into the lane. He’s so quick with the ball that he can push the pace, lull you to sleep, and then accelerate again into the lane in a flash. When he gets in the lane, he does a better job of finding his teammates than finishing.

In many ways, he reminds me of a shorter version of Edmond Sumner in the way that he can get north and south so effortlessly. Either way, he’s going to get in the paint and it’s hard to stop him.

His shooting splits by distance are intriguing. He only shoots 48% within 5 feet of the rim, but 36% of the 6-foot-1 point guard’s shot attempts come within that range. He shoots the same percentage on all of his shots in the 5 to 15 foot range, where he attempts another quarter of his shots.

That’s 61% of his shots within 15 feet of the basket and a ringing endorsement of his floater as a legitimate weapon, even if he doesn’t get all the way to the rim.

Outside of 15 feet, he’s not as efficient. He shoots just 35% from the floor on all deep pull-ups and threes which isn’t terrible, but you’d rather force Evans to beat you with his jumper than anything else.

It sounds crazy to talk about a 19 point per game scorer and say that his passing ability is more impressive than his scoring ability, but he can really see the floor well.

That’s not to sell him short as his scoring is legitimate, but he sees the floor and can find guys in every aspect of the high ball screen game or in transition. He has a fairly even shoot-pass split in the ball screen game (52% shoot, 48% pass) and he loves to find spot up shooters (62% of passes) out of that action.

These three pick-and-roll assists against Kansas are an example of what you can expect.

Here’s a look at the Oklahoma State rotation and what percentage of their made baskets are assisted, unassisted and assisted by Evans. This roster is filled with efficient players, but isn’t stacked with guys who create their own offense.

Hammonds and Solomon immediately pop on this chart — Evans’ two primary roll men — but you can see that he has assisted on at least a quarter of 6 different rotation players’ made field goals this year.

#30 – Jeffrey Carroll

The point guard battle of Derrick Walton vs. Jawun Evans is going to draw all of the headlines, but Zak Irvin vs Jeffery Carroll might be the most important match-up. Carroll is a 6-foot-6, 215 pound junior who is a knockdown shooter from the perimeter (43%), but can also finish at the rim.

As you might guess from his sterling efficiency numbers (129.3 offensive rating is 3rd best in the country) has the profile of a possession finisher than a possession creator. That trend is also obvious on his shot chart where you can see the high volume of corner threes and shots at the rim, but very little in the mid-range or even above the wings.

Roughly a third of Carroll’s offensive possessions are spot up opportunities and another quarter are in transition (where he grades out in the 96th percentile and boasts a 77.1 eFG%). He uses a nondescript number of post-up (3.6%), pick-and-roll (3%) or isolation (3%) possessions by comparison.

Carroll is a good rebounder, but the absolute most important item on the gameplan is to not lose him in transition where Evans is certain to find him whenever he leaks out — off makes and misses (something you don’t see much of in the Big Ten).

As mentioned above, 73.5% of his made field goals are assisted and that’s an impressive number for a guy who uses 22.9% of possessions and averages almost 17 points per game.

Whoever is guarding Carroll — presumably Zak Irvin — is going to have to focus on denying him the ball and guarding him closely. If you help off even just a bit or lose him in transition, three points are probably going on the board.

#13 Phil Forte

Small shooters usually have ridiculous range and Forte is no exception. The 5-foot-11, 195 pound redshirt senior has made 322 threes in his career and is is the best free throw shooter in the country at 77-of-81. He’s 82-of-193 (42.5%) from deep this year, but has a single digit assist rate and shoots just 46% inside the arc, so he’s not the most dynamic player.

If that chart doesn’t do his shooting range justice, here’s a clip of some of his deepest threes this season.

#23 Leyton Hammonds

Hammonds starts at the four, but will also slide to the five at 6-foot-8, 215 pounds. He’s basically a floor stretching big man as half of his shot attempts are threes and 61% of his shots are catch-and-shoot jumpers.

The Pokes find him out of classic pick-and-pop action, but also love to run double ball screen action and let him drift into the corner. Some of these examples of the open shots that Hammonds gets are a reminder of just how careful teams have to be in helpside when defending against Oklahoma State’s ball screen action.

Hammonds (34%) is the worst three-point shooter that will be on the floor for the Pokes at many times, but he’s hit 5 threes in two different games over the last month so you have to defend him as a shooter.

#43 Mitchell Solomon

Solomon is the only true post player in Oklahoma State’s rotation and he’s the No. 3 offensive rebounder in the country. He’s a good shot blocker, but also picks up 7.7 fouls per 40 minutes.

As a team, Oklahoma State posts the ball up less than Michigan (just 2.4% of possessions) and Solomon is no expection. He’s scored just 4 points with his back to the basket this year, and the majority of his offense (29%) comes off of putbacks with cuts to the rim and rolls ot the basket making up the remaining production.

Solomon will attempt the occasional elbow jumper, but he’s not much of a threat from away from the basket.

The question with Solomon is how he’s utilized by Oklahoma State against Michigan. He seems like the kind of player that Michigan can really attack offensively with Moritz Wagner and DJ Wilson in the pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop game, but also a guy that could give the Wolverines some problem with his offensive rebounding.

#0 Brandon Averette

Freshman guard Brandon Averette backs up the one and two spots. He can knock down the open jumper, but he’s much more of a driver and one of the few Oklahoma State players who reliably creates his own offense. The 5-foot-11 point guard is a good passer, but he’s also turnover prone. He shoots 44% on twos and 40% on threes, but attempts over 5 times as many twos as threes.

#12 Cameron McGriff

Another freshman,Cameron McGriff, plays backup minutes down low at the four and five spots. McGriff is just 6-of-20 from deep, so isn’t much of a floor stretcher, but he’s a good rebounder. He makes 46% of his twos, but also has an elevated turnover rate. He’s scored more than 4 points just twice since mid-Janauary.

#24 Davon Dillard

Dillard plays reserve minutes at the wing and he’s a prototypical athletic, slashing wing. Oklahoma State will run lob plays for Dillard, especially this one out of pick-and-roll action:

He’s also very aggressive on the offensive glass and just capable enough at hitting open threes (12-of-25) to give him opportunities to attack closeouts and get to the rim. If you are looking for a comparison to a player who gave Michigan trouble this year, his game resembles Illinois wing Kipper Nichols in some respects, but Michigan did much better containing Nichols in the 2nd two meetings.

All shot charts courtesy of Krossover.

  • Ernie Silverthorn

    Thanks for this Dylan, but from reading your assessment, either their coach is totally incompetent or they are nearly unbeatable and should only have a couple of losses at most. Last I checked (last night) we were 2 to 2 1/2 point favorites. I’m guessing if the odds makers read this Okie State personnel report we’ll suddenly become about 5 point underdogs. LOL

    • Game is played on two ends of the floor. We’ll hit more on defense in the game preview and some other stuff coming up. Oklahoma State doesn’t have the No. 1 offense in the country for no reason.

      • Ernie Silverthorn

        I agree, but their defense must really be bad. Maybe their coach is as bad at teaching defense as Coach B.! That was a tongue in cheek remark aimed at all those Beilein detractors from earlier in the season and in prior years! Please know I do appreciate your assessments and analyses.

  • Keith

    I would assume Irvin (and perhaps Wilson, occasionally) will draw Carroll. I’m curious if JB starts with Walton or MAAR on Evans. Maybe MAAR, to save DW’s legs for offense? Either way, I expect to see X get some time too. And with how small OSU is without pure 5s, I would hope we see more Robinson at the 4 and less of Donnal.

  • ChathaM

    This sounds like the type of team that would have beaten us by 20 in January. I know they were losing games then too, but we couldn’t guard anybody. Today, we are certainly a different team, and I expect a pretty solid defensive game plan to be in place, and to be executed well.

  • gobluemd16

    Not gunna lie, and I know they are much, much worse defensively, but this offensive preview scared the heck out of me. Seems like they have efficient, dangerous options everywhere.

    • MaizeBlue10

      Seems that way, but why did they have so many L’s against better competition? Seems like they just took the notion of “we’re going to outscore you” but could only do it against more average to below-average teams. They had some offensive clunkers against better teams (in their standards) and couldn’t outgun any of the top conference foes outside of the win at WVU.

  • mikey_mac

    This is obviously a lethal offensive team, but keep in mind, they are used to getting transition attempts at nearly _twice_ the rate UM allows them, and those easy baskets are baked into the numbers we see above. UM’s scheme already has guys retreating the moment a shot goes up, so provided UM is diligent, this is not really a scenario where OSU can dictate this in their favor — at best, OSU can force the issue on some very early clock situations, if they are really looking to push tempo.

    • ChathaM

      I agree. It is much easier to slow a game down that to speed it up.

  • GTFOmycourt

    It seems like JB would be wise to use X a lot in this game. I don’t like the idea of Walton chasing Evans around for 40 minutes.

    • TOTO-Lover

      DW can guard Forte, he’s only 5/11, and MAAR can try to stay with Evans, with help from X. but man, that kids range is ridiculous. pulls DWalt away from defensive rebounding

  • Cory

    I am in the same boat, Dylan’s previews always scare me half to death before a game. I don’t, however, see a way a team without a back to the basket scorer can keep up with us.

  • shielste

    Which offense has Michigan seen, either this year or last year, that’s most comparable to this OSU offense? We never really see teams that run such a high tempo with great shooters. Maybe MSU last season? I don’t have any advanced metrics, but last year MSU went 14-22 from 3pt, 64% from the field, and was +15 in rebounds in the one game against us (they beat us 89-73).

    Now obviously this Michigan team is nowhere near that team we were last season, but it should provide some insight for Walton, Irvin, MAAR, and Duncan. Mo and DJ barely played in that game.

    • UCLA is an easy comparison with great offense, fast tempo and bad defense.

      • Marquette is another.

        • shielste

          I didn’t realize Marquette finished with such great offensive numbers; D-1 leading 43% from 3

      • shielste

        Duh. That’s a brain fart. Such a great first half, and we just ran out of steam. We score 84 in that game and Walton only put up 9.