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LJWorld.com weblogs The Newell Post

Potential KU transfer Damontre Harris' stats at South Carolina show promise

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Last week, we looked at how potential transfer and former Xavier point guard Mark Lyons could help Kansas statistically if he chose the Jayhawks over Arizona and Kentucky.

Now, with news breaking that South Carolina forward/center Damontre Harris is visiting KU this week and will choose between the Jayhawks and Florida Gators, I wanted to take a look at what the statistics can tell us about the 6-foot-9 sophomore, who was Rivals.com's No. 64 player in the class of 2010.

(All statistics courtesy of KenPom.com. Keep in mind that South Carolina played the NCAA's 47th-toughest schedule according to KenPom, which is something to consider when looking at these statistics.)

Offensively

Let's first look at Harris' basic offensive numbers from his sophomore year at South Carolina, where he averaged 25.9 minutes per game.

Here's a quick reminder on the stats above: Offensive rating is simply a measure of a player's individual efficiency, or the points per 100 possessions he creates himself. An offensive rating of 100 is considered average.

Offensive rating is used hand in hand with possession percentage, which is a measure of what percentage of a team's possessions a player ends while he's on the floor. Basically, this measures how involved in the offense a player is. Average possession percentage is 20 percent.

Shot percentage is the percentage of shots taken when a player is on the floor. Again, average is 20 percent.

From those numbers, we can see that Harris did not assert himself offensively, as he was only a minor part of the Gamecocks' offense when he was on the floor. To give you some context, his possession percentage was about that of KU guard Conner Teahan (14.1 percent possessions percentage) and his shot percentage was close to that of KU small forward Travis Releford (14.3 percent shot percentage). Neither of those players were a focal point in KU's offense.

The positive sign here is that when Harris did play a part in South Carolina's offense, he was extremely efficient. His offensive rating of 112.4 was tops on his team, and he was one of only four players on the Gamecocks to have an offensive rating of over 100.

So what made him so efficient? Let's look at some other numbers.

While his turnover rate (which shows what percentage of a players' possessions were used on turnovers) was a little bit higher than you'd want, Harris made up for it with great shooting.

His 55-percent shooting from two-point range was significantly better than the NCAA average of 47.8 percent, and his free throw percentage also added to his value, as his 80.4-percent free-throw shooting was second on South Carolina and also would have ranked second out of KU's rotation last year behind only Teahan.

Defensively

When analyzing Harris' statistics, one number stands out the most: his 10.7 percent block rate.

This means, when Harris was on the floor last year, he blocked 10.7 percent of his opponents' two-point shot attempts. That number was good for 19th nationally, behind premier shot-blockers like Jeff Withey (first nationally, 15.3 percent) and Kentucky's Anthony Davis (third, 13.8 percent) but still ahead of well-known swatters like UConn's Andre Drummond (24th, 9.9 percent) and North Carolina's John Henson (28th, 9.6 percent).

Let's look at Harris' other defensive/rebounding numbers.

The first statistic that sticks out here is Harris' high steal percentage, as he came away with a steal on 2.3 percent of South Carolina's defensive possessions last year.

That 2.3 percent might not seem like a lot, but it's the exact same steal percentage that Releford had for KU last year. Considering Harris plays inside and still was able to poke away that high a number tells us something about his athleticism.

His other strength appears to be his offensive rebounding percentage, as he grabbed 10.8 percent of his team's misses, which ranked 238th nationally. To compare, Harris' offensive rebounding percentage was between that of the 2012 numbers of KU's Thomas Robinson (11.2 percent) and Withey (10.2 percent).

His defensive rebounding percentage is probably a little lower than you'd want from a defensive stopper, though it still would have ranked third out of KU's rotation last year, behind Robinson and Withey and just in front of Kevin Young.

Harris also was a bit foul-prone at South Carolina, fouling out in two of his 31 games and picking up four fouls in 10 other contests.

Bottom Line

Statistically, Harris appears to be a player that could help KU two seasons from now.

Most promising is his block percentage, and if Harris did come to KU and sit out a year because of transfer rules, he would be able to practice with the nation's best shot-blocker (Withey) before having the opportunity to step into Withey's role for the 2013-14 season.

Though Harris is not yet assertive offensively, his efficiency would seem to indicate that he will be a player that, at worst, should not hurt the offense when he's in the game (much like Withey in 2011-12). His strong shooting numbers also tell us he isn't a player that forces up too many bad shots while showing that he might be a player that can develop into having a larger role while still maintaining an above-average offensive rating.

The 2013 Value-Add ranking formula — an all-encompassing player-evaluation statistic (like WAR in baseball) developed by John Pudner and frequently used by SI.com's Luke Winn — also likes Harris, as it ranked him (assuming he stayed with South Carolina) as the 125th-best player in college basketball next year. Only one KU player on next year's roster ranks higher (Elijah Johnson, 99th).

We've seen how elite shot-blockers have thrived with KU's defense in three of the last four years, as Cole Aldrich (2008-09, 2009-10) and Withey (2011-12) posted top-30 block percentages in each of those seasons.

Self's defenses have also prospered with those swatters in the middle, as KU ranked fourth in defensive two-point percentage in 2008-09 (40.8 percent), first in defensive two-point percentage in 2009-10 (40.1 percent) and second in defensive two-point percentage in 2011-12 (39.8 percent).

If Self is looking for another defensive stopper to guard the rim after Withey graduates in 2013, it appears he'll have a tough time finding a better option than Harris.

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