Last year I pretty much watched every Texas basketball game I could, even though I don't really care that much about college basketball until tournament time starts. The reason why I watched was simple: Kevin Durant.
This year, I'm back to my old ways. Sort of randomly checking out games every now and then, but not really following any specific player.
Well, I should be. Kansas State's Michael Beasley is a better freshman than Durant was last year, and before you go nuts, there's actual data to prove this. Let's take a look at straight raw numbers, courtesy of AccuScore.
And here's what AccuScore has to say about it:
If that data isn't enough for you, there's more. Thanks to a basketball stats site called Kenpom, we can compare Beasley and Durant on an even greater level. So let's do that. Kenpom compares both players' offensive ratings in a number of ways. %Poss = percent of the teams possessions that go through the player. %Shots = percent of the teams shots taken. eFG% = same as regular field goal percentage, except that made three-pointers are appropriately given 50% more credit. OR% = offensive rebounding percentage of the teams totals. DR% = defensive rebounding percentage of the teams totals. TORate = turnover percentage.
Their detailed analysis is that when everything is considered, Beasley is simply a better player than Durant was. Beasley's more crucial to his team's offense, is a better all-around shooter, and a better rebounder.
Now I realize Beasley and Durant play different positions, and Durant shot a lot more threes, but go over to Kenpom and check out their numbers (which include more than just what I have here). Beasley's offensive rating is higher no matter how you break it down.
The real question is why hasn't Beasley gotten the same ridiculous hype? Well, that's probably because Beasley is playing for a program that isn't quite as well known to people and the fact that there are a number of incredible freshmen in college basketball this year - whereas last year it was basically Oden and Durant.
But all I know is this. I better start turning my TV on to watch this kid play.