Friday, March 15, 2013

How Steven Adams shapes up against other 7'0" freshman centers

Since the 2005 class, there were 23 consensus top 50  prospects that were 7'0" centers.  Steven Adams had a better freshman season than 17 of them.  Three of those 17 went on to be All-Americans, and Jeff Withey may be the fourth.

Steven Adams, Pittsburgh:  7.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.0 bpg

Isaiah Austin, Baylor:  13.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Notes: Considered a top 10 NBA pick prior to this season, but is advised to stay in school by ESPN draft expert Chad Ford who doesn't think he will be a lottery pick now if he came out.

Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona:  6.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.6 bpg
Notes:  NBA draft website DraftExpress ranks him as the No.17 best prospect among freshman (Steven Adams is No.10).

Fab Melo, Syracuse:  2.3 ppg  1.9 rpg, 0.8 bpg
Notes:  In his sophomore season he averaged 7.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, and 2.9 bpg.  Was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and was taken with the 22nd pick of the first round in the NBA draft.

B.J. Mullens, Ohio State:  8.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg
Notes: Left after his freshman season and was taken with the 24th pick in the first round of the NBA draft.

Tyler Zeller, North Carolina:  3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.2  bpg
Notes:  Didn't become a top player until junior season when he 15.7 ppg and 7.2 rpg.  After a senior season of 16.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg, and 1.5 bpg, he was taken with the 17th pick in the NBA draft.  He was also the ACC Player of the Year and a consensus second team All-American after senior season.

Jeff Withey, Kansas:  1.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.4 bpg.
Notes:  Finally came into his own during his senior season with an All-American caliber season of 13.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 4.0 bpg.

Kenny Kadji, Miami:  4.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.7 bpg
Notes: Was a senior this season and had his best year with 13.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, and 1.4 bpg.

Ty Walker, Wake Forest:  0.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.4 bpg.
Notes:  Had his best season this year, as a senior, going for 4.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 2.6 bpg.  Was recently suspended for the rest of the season.

Kenny Frease, Xavier:  5.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.3 bpg.
Notes:  Finished his career last season and currently plays in Germany. His junior season he averaged 11.7 ppg, 7.1 rbg, and 0.8 bpg.  As a senior he averaged 10.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 1.1 bpg.

Kosta Koufus, Ohio State:  14.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg.
Notes:  Left after freshman season and was taken with the 23rd pick of the first round in the NBA draft.

DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M:  7.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.3 bpg.
Notes:  Left after first season and was taken in the second round of the NBA draft.

Cole Aldrich, Kansas:  2.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.9 bpg.
Notes:  Made huge leap sophomore season averaging 14.9 ppg, 11.1 rpg, and 2.7 bpg.  As a junior he averaged 11.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, and 3.5 bpg.  Was consensus second team All-American after junior season, then left early for the NBA where he was the 11th overall pick in the draft.

Solomon Alabi, Florida State:  3.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg (broke leg 10 games into season)
Notes:  Became second round draft pick after redshirt sophomore season that saw him average 11.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, and 2.3 bpg.

Greg Oden, Ohio State:  15.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.3 bpg
Notes: Was a consensus first team All-American after his freshman season then became the first pick of the NBA draft.

Spencer Hawes, Washington:  14.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Notes:  Left after freshman season and became the 10th overall pick in the NBA draft.

Robin Lopez, Stanford:  7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.4 bpg.
Notes:  After a similar sophomore season he left for the NBA and became the 15th pick overall in the NBA draft.

Brian Zoubek, Duke:  3.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.3 bpg
Notes:  Best season was his senior year when he averaged 5.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, and 0.8 bpg.

Jason Bennett, Kansas State:  1.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.9 bpg.
Notes: Left for a junior college after his freshman season, then played the last two seasons at Detroit Mercy where he did little.

Tom Herzog, Michigan State:  redshirted
Notes:  After redshirt sophomore year he transferred to Central Florida where he continued to not do much.

Jon Kreft, Florida State: was arrested for drugs and missed first two seasons of college career
Notes:  Averaged 3.2 ppg and 2.8 ppg in the two seasons he played.

Luke Zeller, Notre Dame:  3.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.3 bpg.
Notes: His senior season was his best with 4.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, and 0.2 bpg.

Eric Boateng, Duke:  0.7 ppg, 0.6 rpg, 0.0 bpg.
Notes:  Transferred after freshman season to Arizona State and played last three years there. Senior season was only year he did anything with 8.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and 0.8 bpg.


  1. Tarczewski was other center who was most compared to Adams coming into the season in terms of hype/rankings, and he's been less productive than Big Steve, especially on the defensive end. We should know considerably more next season, but people need to realize that it takes most true big men quite a while to develop, as this list clearly demonstrates. The best big man in the country this season, Kelly Olynyk, is a fourth year junior and put up paltry statistics his first two seasons at Gonzaga. Everybody needs to calm down a little and show some patience.

  2. Doke
    Great post. Thanks for doing the research. Yes Adams has been frustrating at times but then he shows flashes of what he can do like yesterday when he drove the lane from the free throw line and made a left handed layup. I just hope he stays at least one more year.
    If nothing else this makes us all realize how truly special dejaun Blair was...

  3. Id like to see Dixon use him for more than just screens next year. Although frequently timid looking for his shot, he has to be more utilized next year

  4. Of these 23 players....
    how many left college after 1 year...
    how many left after 2 years... etc
    It's my belief, most big men need more time to develop due to their rapid growth in High school... that their bones, muscles, tendons have not caught up in strength, etc. That is why some tend to be uncoordinated so to say.

    Their bodies are not ready for 80 game season and 48min games.

  5. This is a great post that tells us that steve adams is not as bad as we think he is. This gives pitt fans hope for the future.

  6. The 3 point line has impacted the development of big men maybe not as freshman but in the 2nd & 3rd years

    1. What??
      Now that makes no sense.
      Please explain... we are talking about a 7'0"+ Centers? Not small forwards.

  7. Micah Mason just announced he will transfer from Drake.
    He is a shooter... from Hampton I believe.
    Love this kid... he puts a lot of work in. His dad built a basketball court in the backyard with a auto ball returner... he shoots 500 shots a day.
    He had an illness and recovered and played D1 BB as true frosh!!
    Pitt passed on him... and Butler was a possibility but never offered. He will probably end up at a Mac school.

    1. He played for Highlands..

  8. I think anonymous is kinda on to something. I see it everyday when I play pick-up ball with a bunch of college age kids. I am a product of the 70s so I continually try to lob the ball into a big man down low. Probably even when it is ill avised to do so.

    By what do these young kids always do? Jack up threes even when double teamed because its more sexy an fun...

    A good friend if mine was spot on when he told me "the three point line is the worst thing ever for youth basketball..."

  9. Instead of GreenTree - he should go to big man camp and actually pick up an inside game.


  10. Timely comparison. But it's not just the numbers but how the kind of athletes they are. My guess is that when it comes to athleticism Adams is in the middle of the pack at best. That's going to limit what he'll be able to accomplish at the next level.

    The good news for Pitt is that he should get better in terms of his ball handling and overall skills. Hopefully he'll stick around a couple of more years in order to enjoy the success he's capable of at the collegiate level.


    1. As far as 7'0" centers go Adams is way above average as far as athleticism.

  11. Just to follow up on my point above about big steve not getting much practice in the post before coming to Pitt. I went to see his notre dame prep team play a game at ambridge high school last January and was amazed at the guard play on that team. They had

    Sam cassel jr (Maryland)
    Myles Davis (Xavier after spurning pitt offer)
    Adonis filer (Clemson)

    I remember thinking those three could probably start for Pitt right now. Cassel and Davis were ruled ineligible this year and filer average six points per game this year.

    Well guess what those terrific guards didn't do? Pass the ball in the post to big Steve. All his points came on offensive rebounds and put backs.

    I think Adams will be fine he just needs time to develop and practice post play. I just hope he sticks around Pitt to do it...

    1. Adams doesn't look to score...
      Not even at Greentree... I remember Robinson yelling at him to shoot it.. Robinson fed it to him in the post and he would pass out for someone else to shoot.
      He just looks for putbacks.
      That's ok... but he needs to be a rebounder!! In the Big East, he was pushed around and didn't grab the ball and doesn't know how to get position.

  12. Great story on Adams and the film crew that was her 2 weeks ago for New Zealand TV in today's PG .... also a video

    Provides hope that he will return