We still have about two months until the Gophers start practicing daily but all off-season Coach Richard Pitino has talked about Dupree McBrayer being much improved, and one of the hardest workers. McBrayer started 14 games last year and will play both guard spots this winter.
Scored in double figures in four of his last seven games (averaged ten a game in that span) and shot 43 percent from the field as a freshman in the Big Ten. McBrayer became an every day starter on January 12th against Nebraska. After a rough start to the season Dupree was a 41 percent shooter at the arc as a starter in the Big Ten.
Dupree played 23 minutes a game as a freshman and started 14 games. Also had a good assist to turnover ratio of 2.2 to one as a shooting guard who also spent some time handling the ball. McBrayer was second on the team in assists and steals.
The Not so Good
Even though Dupree finished the year with a nice run as a starter before the five game suspension, his year long numbers were low because of a tough start in terms of shooting percentage. The word “tough” might not do it justice.
Even though Dupree was a starter in mid-January (and on) who shot in the 40s percentage wise, his rocky beginning still led him to shooting 32.6 percent from the field for the year and 25 percent from the arc for the season. His rough start is exactly why season long numbers don’t always tell a good story. Dupree made 3 of his first 29 shots as a Gopher and two of his first 25 three-point attempts.
This is exactly why his end of the season run was so exciting for the future because Dupree dug himself out of a tough start.
Focus on 16-17
There are many questions that fans will have to ask about Dupree McBrayer, the sophomore guard. What are they? Let’s go through each right now!
Will he start again? I personally don’t think it matters. Off the bench or starting he is going to play and play a lot. Minnesota only has four guards and two of them could move over easily for a three guard line-up (Akeem Springs has the strength to play some three, Amir Coffey the length and size).
It may actually be better for Dupree to come off the bench because he can relieve Nate Mason as the primary ball handler and be fresh to do that and then when Mason comes back in Dupree can slide over and play some two. That said, it may be best defensively to start the game with a guy like Dupree on the floor and we’ve said that based on the off-season the starting line-up would likely be Mason, McBrayer, Amir, Murphy, and Reggie Lynch (not including Springs who hasn’t been here).
What will his primary position be? Likely to be a combo guard as I think Dupree will play about 10-12 minutes at lead guard and 12-15 minutes at off guard. Coach Richard Pitino may even want Dupree to handle and have Nate play a pure scoring role at times as a two. It all depends on how Dupree improves over the off-season and gets ready for the dual position role. There is no calling him a one or a two anymore, he’s pretty much a combo guard because he will have to handle some.
Which Dupree will the Gophers get next year? I seriously doubt he will have the same drought to start the year as a sophomore as he did as a freshman. Dupree has too much talent, is too versatile, and now has the experience to avoid such a rough start.
That entire time that Dupree was struggling with his shot he still had only ten turnovers in all of the November and December games. His total of 32 turnovers in 613 minutes for the season as well as his steady defense mean that even if his shot is struggling at any point, Dupree is still a tremendous asset to the team because of his steady play on both ends.
Dupree McBrayer seems like the perfect guy to pair in with the top returning scorer (Mason), a freshman known talent (Coffey), and an incoming experienced player (Springs). Dupree is versatile and dependable therefore you can slot him in wherever needed and go.
The Right Stat Line.
I feel about 24-27 minutes a game, shooting about 42-44 percent with an arc percentage in the 35-37 range, scoring about 7-9 points per game with about three assists a night with an even better assist to turnover ratio plus a top two spot in steals on the team. With the balance this team is expected to have I think those numbers would be excellent for him.