Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kentucky's Josh Harrellson: Is He This Year's Version of Duke's Brian Zoubek?



The University of Kentucky's Josh Harrellson has come a long way this season. Here's what the team was supposed to look like as the year began:

Starting five:

Terrence Jones
Brandon Knight
Doron Lamb
DeAndre Liggins
Darius Miller

Key reserve:


Eloy Vargas

When John Calipari took over in Harrellson's junior season, he wasn't a big fan of Jorts, and it showed in his playing time. Jorts only played in 19 games, averaging 4.3 minutes per.

Now, he is a possible late first-round pick in the NBA Draft.

Is Harrellson simply a new version of Duke's Brian Zoubek?


Rebounding

Brian Zoubek was known for his rebounding, but he wasn't as good Josh Harrellson has been this season. However, Zoubek did emerge at the end of his final season.

Here is how they compare as seniors:

Zoubek: 5.6 rebounds per game

Harrellson: 8.8

Here are their offensive rebounding numbers:

Zoubek: 3.5

Harrellson: 3.7

Harrellson is clearly better.


Scoring

Zoubek was not known as a scorer. He put up double-digit scoring in eight games, but they were mostly blowouts. A Zoubek bucket was a nice-to-have for Duke.

Harrellson has 13 double-digit scoring games, and now has done it in six of their last seven. UK counts on Harrellson to score.

Here are the numbers:

Zoubek: 7.6

Harrellson: 5.6

Another Harrellson advantage.


Defense

Zoubek was not very good on the defensive end; he could be overpowered by stronger centers. His main strength was rebounding.

Harrellson is becoming a force under the glass. He gave up some points to Ohio State's Jared Sullinger but made key stops when they were needed.

Now to the numbers:

Zoubek:

Defensive rebounds: 4.1
Steals: .68
Blocks: .78

Harrellson:

Defensive rebounds: 5.9
Steals: .9
Blocks: 1.5

Harrellson has the edge again.


Emergence

Both Zoubek and Harrellson were not projected to be starters for their teams at the beginning of their senior seasons. They both came a long way to make a difference for their teams.

Here are the minutes each received in their final three seasons:

Zoubek:

Sophomore: 10.5
Junior: 11.9
Senior: 18.7

Harrellson:

Sophomore: 9.3
Junior: 4.0
Senior: 28.5

So we see that Zoubek never really became part of the rotation, while Harrellson has emerged as a big man that other teams need to game plan against.

Zoubek played more than 30 minutes only once, which was in the title game. Harrellson has played over 30 minutes 18 times.

Harrellson wins this one.


Leadership

Both Zoubek and Harrellson have become leaders of their teams.

Zoubek just didn't play enough to be a leader on the floor, though. That team was led by Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.

Harrellson, DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller are the key veterans on the Wildcat squad.

The freshmen get the glory, but these three have provided the leadership that will take the team to the title.


NBA

On the surface, Brian Zoubek and Josh Harrellson have a lot in common, but a closer look reveals that Harrellson is the much better player.

Zoubek was undrafted. His next NBA game will be his first.

Harrellson will be drafted, possibly in the first round. He will play in the NBA for five years.


Answer? No, Jorts is not another Brian Zoubek.

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