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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...

"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Fantasy Section 2 hoops

Fantasy Section 2 hoops: Today the Times Union published an article titled "Junior Achieves," with a subheading that said, "Top players in Section 2 are juniors."It’s about how great the junior class is this year - Battle, Lyons, Holle, Fredette, etc. - and how there are so many D1 prospects. I don't really understand that subheading - somehow they seemed to forget about the three seniors - Brad, Czeski, and Zampier - going D1 this year. And who knows when they'll remember that the Suburban Council exists. But the opening did get me thinking pretty good. Here's what it says:
It's fantasy basketball, the high school version. You get the first pick in the draft and every player in Section II is up for grabs. So, who's it going to be?

Perhaps Mark Lyons, the explosive guard who has led Schenectady to the best record in Class AA. Maybe Talor Battle, arguably the most talented playmaker in the section. Jimmer Fredette would be a good choice. He's averaging nearly 30 points per game. Devyn Erwin, who a former coach called a "dunk machine," is a monster in the post. As is Greg Holle, the catalyst for CBA. And don't forget his teammate, Luke Weaver, one of the area's top clutch shooters.

I know they just wanted to write an article about all the great players in the junior class this year and the "fantasy draft" was a nice gimmick to introduce it, but let's take 6 minutes and actually think through a section 2 fantasy draft. Here are the ground rules:

1) Class AA only + other Big 10 + other Suburban (sorry Fredette) : we have to hold the competition as least reasonably constant. Fredette is great and would still be great if he were in AA, but we can't have people racking up numbers by playing aginst tiny schools. Put it this way: he's not averaging 30 a night in the Big Ten, just like Glens Falls probably wouldn't be unbeaten in the Big Ten.

2) ESPN Fantasy basketball stat categories: points, rebounds, blocks, assists, steals, three-pointers, free throw percentage, and field goal percentage. Let's chuck the percentage stats and just stick with points, boards, blocks, assists, steals, and 3's. Now, we don't have all these stats in deatil for every player, so we're going to have to do some eyeballing of this thing. You can check out some of those stat leaders - points and 3's - in section 2 on the TU stats page.

3) When thinking about a team, ignore the normal breakdown: Two guards, two forwards, and a center are par for a normal fantasy team lineup. Since those positions are less well-defined at the high school level, let's just say that a team is either 2 "small guys" and 3 "big guys" or the opposite - 3 small and 2 big.

4) This isn't a keeper league: That means if you draft an underclassman, you don't get him for next year's fantasy team too. If it was a keeper league, then the juniors skyrocket in value, and Jordan Stevens (Saratoga's star freshman) really skyrockets in value. In fact, he's probably the number one pick, although it would be close between him and Battle.

Let's start with some general commentary / reminder:

1) Being a great college prospect is different than being a Section 2 fantasy stats leader: Every team has to have a leading scorer, so there are plenty of kids out there who will give you 14 points and 10 boards a night. That doesn't mean they are going to play big-time college ball. Recruiters often look for raw skills at this level, not stats. Also, since high school teams have such different levels of talent, you can also be a great player stuck on a team with a really great player and not get your full stats (think Tim Cain in '79-80 - he only average 11 points a game, but the following year averaged 29. It ain't because he got that much better). Likewise, if you're team stinks and you're halfway good, you'll get a lot more value in stats.

2) Don't forget the secondary stats: normal fantasy rules assign equal weight to all categories. So rolling up a ton of points but doing nothing else does not make you nearly as good, fantasy-wise, as someone who never scores but has tons of boards, blocks, and assists.

Ok. Let's talk #1 pick. Forget the TU article, from a fantasy perspective it was abusrd. Given the stats we are using, it's pretty obvious to me that if you are looking for a "small guy" and Fredette doesn't count, Taylor Battle is the top pick. And it's not even close. In fact, I'm pretty sure that he's the top pick overall, even with the big guys and maybe even with Fredette (but that's closer). Battle is 1st in scoring and 1st in 3-pointer. And he must be at least average or better in assists, and he'll give you some steals. I don't think Lyons is even close. In fact, I'll bet that Alex Zampier would be the correct 2nd "small guy" pick in the Section 2 fantasy draft. He's 4th in scoring and 3rd in 3-pointers. And he gets a lot of assists and more rebounds than you think. In fact, because Lyons plays for Schenectady (which has a very good team) I think he's down a bit among "small guys" in a fantasty draft. Maybe it goes something like this:

'05-06 hypothetical Sec. 2 Fan. draft (small guys)
1. Battle (Maginn)
2. Zampier (Columbia)
3. Stempsey (Bethlehem)
4. Czeski (Amsterdam)
5. Lyons (Schenectady)
6. Himmelwright (BHBL)

Remember, playing on a good team tends to hurt your fantasty stats in high school, particularly among the small guys. To max your stats, you want to be on an average team - good enough that they can't ignore your teammates and triple you, but bad enough that there really aren't alot of other scoring options. Zampier is a great case of this.

Among "big guys," on the other hand, I think it's not a hard case to make Brad the #1 pick. He's 2nd in scoring, probably first in blocks, and he's right up there in rebounding. Plus he'll give you more assists than most of the other big guys. He's certainly ahead of Holle or Weaver. On the other hand, I'm betting Jordan Stevens is worth a lot more than you think. Saratoga is pretty miserable, and he does everything on that team - score, rebound, block, assist. He's definitely the "big man" sleeper. I don't know where to put Erwyn, I've never seen him play. His numbers aren't that impressive, but it's harder with the big guys if you haven't seen them play, because you can't get a feel for their blocks, boards, or passing. And honestly, I don't see Weaver in the top 10, not with Holle on his team. Maybe the "big guys" top 5 goes like this:

'05-06 hypothetical Sec. 2 Fan. draft (big guys)
1. Sheehan (Shaker)
2. Holle (CBA)
3. Pelletier (Troy)
4. Stevens (Saratoga)
5. Erwin (Albany)

And finally, here's what I think an overall draft top-11 would look like:

'05-06 hypothetical Sec. 2 Fan. draft (overall)
1. Battle (Maginn)
2. Sheehan (Shaker)
3. Zampier (Columbia)
4. Stempsy (Bethlehem)
5. Holle (CBA)
6. Pelletier (Troy)
7. Czeski (Amsterdam)
8. Stevens (Saratoga)
9. Erwin (Albany)
10. Himmelwright (BHBL)
11. Lyons (Schenectady)

I don't know, maybe I'm way off. I don't think I'm playing favorites with Brad - let me know if I am, but it looks to me like his fantasty stats compare favorably to the others. Let me know if I've made any glaring omissions. Like I said, I did this basically off the top of my head in about 6 minutes.
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At 9:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

if you dont have jimmer fredette in your little draft as number one you might not know section 2 basketball as well as you thought you did    

At 2:47 PM , Blogger Matt said:

Well, read the article again. You'll see that I specifically exclude Fredette because he wasn't playing against the big schools.

Obviously, Jimmer is a huge talent, definitely one of the top few in the section last year. But I also think it's safe to say that his numbers would not have been nearly as eye-popping if he played in the big 10. So it's tough to compare.    

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