Unless you have been living under a rock for the last four days, you know that the appointed media darling from Monday night's victory was Jamar Smith. The game was billed as his coming out party, and it made the media take notice of the Illini freshman more than they had before. Smith scored 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting, and thrived in his role as on on-the-ball-defender, but what do the numbers say after a Box Score Breakdown? Let's have a look.
|Player 1||Player 2||Player 3||Player 4||Player 5||Differential||Time on Floor|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Brian Randle||Shaun Pruitt||James Augustine||18||9:44|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Rich McBride||Warren Carter||Shaun Pruitt||5||1:30|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Rich McBride||Brian Randle||James Augustine||4||2:37|
|Chris Hicks||Rich McBride||Calvin Brock||Warren Carter||Marcus Arnold||3||1:46|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Brian Randle||Warren Carter||Shaun Pruitt||2||4:42|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Rich McBride||Marcus Arnold||James Augustine||2||2:05|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Rich McBride||Warren Carter||James Augustine||2||0:52|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Calvin Brock||Warren Carter||James Augustine||1||2:09|
|Rich McBride||Jamar Smith||Calvin Brock||Warren Carter||Marcus Arnold||1||1:49|
|Rich McBride||Jamar Smith||Calvin Brock||Marcus Arnold||James Augustine||0||1:28|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Brian Randle||Marcus Arnold||James Augustine||0||1:07|
|Dee Brown||Rich McBride||Brian Randle||Shaun Pruitt||James Augustine||-3||4:38|
|Dee Brown||Rich McBride||Brian Randle||Warren Carter||James Augustine||-3||3:16|
|Dee Brown||Rich McBride||Brian Randle||Marcus Arnold||James Augustine||-6||2:17|
Best Five-Man Unit: Dee Brown, Jamar Smith, Brian Randle, Shaun Pruitt, and James Augustine (+18)
Worst Five-Man Unit: Dee Brown, Rich McBride, Brian Randle, Marcus Arnold, and James Augustine (-6)
- In the first proof on how well Jamar Smith played on Monday night, he was part of the top three lineups to see the floor on Monday night for the Illini. The best five-man unit was the starting lineup, but instead of Rich at shooting guard, Jamar played shooting guard. This lineup saw the floor four unique times, twice in the first half and twice in the second half.
- Even without Chester Frazier, who we now learned is out four to eight weeks with that muscle tear in his left thigh, the Illini were able to hold the fort down and not lose any ground to the Trojans while Dee Brown was out of the game. In those situations, Bruce Weber leaned on junior Rich McBride to run the point for the three minutes Dee was on the bench before the game was completely over (and then walkon Chris Hicks ran the point when the game was out of hand). In the time Dee was not on the floor running the point for the Illini, they were +4.
|Player 1||Player 2||Player 3||Differential||Time on Floor|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||20||15:33|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Rich McBride||13||7:04|
|Chris Hicks||Rich McBride||Calvin Brock||3||1:46|
|Rich McBride||Jamar Smith||Calvin Brock||1||3:17|
|Dee Brown||Jamar Smith||Calvin Brock||1||2:09|
|Dee Brown||Rich McBride||-12||10:11|
Illinois' Best Guard Combination: Dee Brown & Jamar Smith (+20)
Illinois' Worst Guard Combination: Dee Brown & Rich McBride (-12)
- Well these numbers certainly give credence to those people that want to start Jamar Smith over Rich McBride considering there was a 32 point differential between the two backcourt tandems.
- Without Chester Frazier to back up Dee at all, Bruce Weber did not have many guards that he could use, so redshirt freshman Calvin Brock got to see some meaningful minutes during the game backing up Brian Randle at the wing forward, giving the Illini a three-guard look. With Chester's injury lasting into next month, the Illini will be looking more and more for Calvin to step up and provide some solid minutes as a back up guard.
|Player 1||Player 2||Player 3||Differential||Time on Floor|
|Brian Randle||Shaun Pruitt||James Augustine||15||14:22|
|Warren Carter||Shaun Pruitt||7||6:12|
|Warren Carter||Marcus Arnold||4||3:35|
|Brian Randle||James Augustine||4||2:37|
|Warren Carter||James Augustine||3||3:01|
|Marcus Arnold||James Augustine||2||3:33|
|Brian Randle||Warren Carter||James Augustine||-3||3:16|
|Brian Randle||Marcus Arnold||James Augustine||-6||3:24|
Best Forward Combination: Brian Randle, Shaun Pruitt, and James Augustine (+15)
Worst Forward Combination: Brian Randle, Marcus Arnold, and James Augustine (-6)
INDIVIDUAL +/- STATISTICS
- Marcus Arnold was the only Illinois player to not be positive on Monday night, and he was even.
- The obvious star of the game from these numbers was Jamar Smith. It goes to show that numbers and perceptions are very similar. If you thought Illinois looked like a much better team with Jamar Smith on the floor, you were right. The Illini outscored Arkansas – Little Rock by 35 points with Jamar on the court, and when he was on the bench, the Illini were outscored by Arkansas – Little Rock by 6 points.
Simply put, the statistics show a great game from Jamar Smith. His true shooting percentage of 105.70% is well, a near perfect game. His points per shot of 2.11 was also amazing. If you had to point to a weak spot in his game on Monday night, it would be his 1-for-2 performance from the free throw line. Other than that, Jamar did everything on the court that a coach could ask from him, it was a true coming out game, but looking back on past numbers, it was not all that unexpected.
If you look at some of the previous Box Score Breakdowns (UNC, Texas Pan American, and South Dakota State ), Jamar has played very well, and it was just a matter of time for him to be more assertive offensively and have the breakout game that he had on Monday night.
Against North Carolina, his TS% was 82.72% and his PSA was 1.65. Against Texas Pan American, his TS% was 55.56%, and his PSA was 1.11. Against South Dakota State, his TS% was 75.0%, and his PSA was 1.50. So, while the numbers on Monday night were a breakout, the rest of the season he has been putting up great numbers, yet been overlooked for his play off the bench.
The key now, will be to see how he handles the additional pressure of defenses focusing on him as a shooter when he steps into the game, his performances against North Carolina, Xavier, and Arkansas – Little Rock will now have defenses scheming for him when he steps into the game. He will get the honor of having a coach yell to his team that a shooter just stepped on the court.
- Monday night's game was Dee Brown's best game as a point guard in an Illinois uniform. He handed out a ten assists, and he was much more patient with his own offense. He knew that Jamar Smith would make the shots, so he set up Smith quite a bit, and he looked for his own shot later. Against Arkansas – Little Rock, Dee's usage rate decreased because he did not force as many shots, but he was a more effective player. I believe this was the first game Dee's usage rate was not above 20, yet it was probably the best game of the season so far.
- Like every good walkon, Chris Hicks is a gunner when he gets into the game, check out the usage rate of 44.20!