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How Good is Shabazz Napier?

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Does anybody know?

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in the distraction of the tournament ban and conference realignment, Shabazz Napier quietly (very quietly) put together an exceptional Junior season. You might not have noticed (the national media certainly did not), but it was right up there with some of the best seasons by a PG in UConn history.

Let’s compare his numbers to other recent top UConn PGs in their final seasons in a husky uniform.

Mins


FG%


FGA


3P%


FT%


REB


AST/TO


STL


PTS


Napier 2012-2013


37.3

.441

11.8

.398

.819

4.4

1.92

2.0

17.1

Walker


2010-2011


37.6

.428

18.0

.330

.819

5.4

1.98

1.9

23.5

El-Amin


1999-2000


31.9

.411

13.6

.356

.892

3.1

2.00

1.7

16.0

Williams


2005-2006


33.3

.407

8.9

.400

.862

3.9

2.33

0.9

12.3

Price


2008-2009


31.8

.408

11.9

.402

.721

3.5

1.74

0.7

14.7

Shabazz’s numbers are equal to, if not better than, every other point guard in every major statistical category. The only thing that really stands out is Kemba’s 23.5 ppg, which is mostly due to his volume scoring at 18.0 FGA per game (yikes!). His AST/TO ratio is a little weak compared to, say, Marcus Williams in ‘06, but Williams had 4 future NBA players to pass the ball to. Shabazz had 1, maybe 2. Granted, he doesn’t have the pure leadership and ability to carry the team on his back like Kemba did, but that was a very special player and a very special season.

Let’s see how he has improved in each of his first three seasons as a husky. Notice that upward trend in almost every single category? It’s highly unlikely that rate of improvement can sustain itself (he’s not going to shoot .476 % next year), but even modest improvements mean he could stand alone as the top UConn PG of all time. Statistically, at least.

Mins


FG%


FGA


3P%


FT%


REB


AST/TO


STL


PTS


Napier 2012-2013


37.3

.441

11.8

.398

.819

4.4

1.92

2.0

17.1

Napier


2011-2012


35.0

.389

10.3

.355

.743

3.5

2.07

1.9

13.0

Napier


2010-2011


23.8

.370

6.6

.326

.711

2.4

1.66

1.7

7.8

Shabazz has come a long way from his freshman year, where he was chucking up contested 3s five feet outside the arc, and dribbling the ball into traffic and off his feet with less than a minute left in a final four game. Last year, Shabazz looked like a leader on the floor. He started games spreading the ball around, trying to get other players going and bolstering their confidence. Yet, he always took the rock and scored when the team needed him to (8 points in overtime vs Providence, 11 points in OT vs USF, and 11 point in OT vs Cincy). He looked like he controlled the game.

Watch him carefully next season. I have a feeling his outstanding numbers won’t remain a secret much longer.