From Jonathan Schuette…
John Calipari is known for many things, ace recruiter, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, and now a National Championship. But, despite his new found title he will forever be known as the guy who coaches the one and done players, in particular Point Guards. Coach Cal certainly has developed some great players over the years and this next season certainly won’t be an exception. With last season’s cast of characters almost assuredly going pro this will leave a new group of Wildcats to pick up the pieces. To help you get to know the new players I’ll introduce them over the next few weeks. The player that I’ll be examining today is Ryan Harrow, the red-shirt Point Guard from North Carolina State. Unlike the incoming freshmen, Harrow has already played his freshman season and has recorded a significant amount of data. There’s always a bit of uncertainty when examining player data from their seasons at another schools, problems arise like; different playing styles, a rift between player and coach, or the player could’ve been emotionally disinterested because the school didn’t appeal to him. All of these factors can affect a player’s performance so take this data with a grain of salt. But, based off of his freshman numbers he should be able to perform to the level of his predecessors.
Since Harrow will be playing Point Guard he will be expected to distribute the ball to his teammates while preventing himself from committing turnovers. This is something that Harrow did exceptionally well in his brief stint at NC State. Harrow was phenominal at distributing the ball; he ranked 113th nationally in Assist Rate (assists divided by the field goals made by the player’s teammates while he is on the court), with a rating of 28.8. He will certainly have talent around elite talent around him to shoot and drive the ball, so the fact that he has proven he can see the floor and make the proper decisions is a very encouraging sign. Secondly, Harrow very rarely coughed up the ball, only turning the ball over on 18% of his possessions (for perspective John Wall turned the ball over on 24% of his possessions), this is a tremendously encouraging statistic. This proves that he doesn’t rush his decisions and doesn’t allow the defense to force turnovers. It cannot be stressed enough how valuable this trait is in a Point Guard. (It’s also pretty cool to say you do something better than John Wall). Another very encouraging stat that I’m seeing from Harrow’s freshman season is his ability to shoot efficiently from the free-throw line, shooting 87% (67-77). This is encouraging because Kentucky’s offense is predicated upon the point guard being able to drive the lane and draw contact. If he can penetrate the lane not only would he be a devastating weapon in the passing game, but he would be a major threat in scoring from the free throw line.
Since Harrow is, in fact, a human being like the rest of us he does have his flaws. His major flaw comes from beyond the three point arc as he shot a miserable 22% (12-54) from three his freshman season. This is something that needs to be worked on because it will allow defenses to sag back in half court sets. Since Harrow shoots so poorly from three I expect teams to sag back in half court sets and force him to shoot perimeter jumpers. If defenses sag this will prevent Harrow from driving the lane to break down the defense and find open teammates. Harrow is without a doubt the worst three point shooter in the Calipari line of Point Guards so this will certainly be something to keep an eye on in the upcoming season. Another thing that needs to improve is Harrow’s interior shooting percentage, while he shot a respectable 43% from the field there is much room for improvement. If Harrow is to excel in Calipari’s system he must be able to get to the rim and score efficiently, if he can’t than opponents will prepare for him to pass rather than shoot. But, if this percentage is only slightly increased than I see no cause for concern.
To conclude, I believe that Harrow will be an absolute star in Calipari’s system. He has everything the Dribble Drive Offense needs; the ability to distribute the ball without turning it over and the ability to capitalize when you’re at the free throw line. Even though he has flaws in his game like perimeter shooting, he has a year of experience in running the point and a year of practice in Calipari’s system going up against some of the elite players in the country. Harrow may not be the biggest or the most talented of the recent One-and-Done guards, but he is certainly very capable of being an elite point guard in this system.
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