POY Tracker

The season
The season”s first Player of the Year tracker is here and Princeton”s Ian Hummer is a big favorite.


The Favorites

Ian Hummer– The Princeton star is a large favorite to win this award. The Tigers” offense is heavily dependent on his production and ability to slice through the lane. Hummer is probably the toughest guy to defend in the league because even if you can keep him from scoring, he”ll find his teammates for open looks, as he currently leads the league in assist rate, chalking up dimes on over 36% of his teammates” field goals when he”s in the game. If Princeton wins the league, it”s hard to see a scenario in which Hummer doesn”t win this award.

Stats: 2nd in PPG,

4th in APG, 4th in RPG, 9th in SPG, 6th in BPG. He”s scored in double figures in 13 of 15 games, and has had 25 in three games (high of 28 at Lafayette and at Elon).

Wesley Saunders- Harvard”s leader plays nearly 90% of his team”s minutes and is very efficient from the field. Saunders” ability to score and draw fouls is essentially unmatched in the league, and he”s even shooting 50% from deep right now (7-14). If Harvard wins the title and Hummer”s stats don”t blow everyone else out of the water, it”s probably Saunders” trophy to lose.

Stats: 1st in PPG, 5th in APG, 16th in RPG, 1st in SPG, 15th in BPG. Has scored in double figures in all 16 games, and has had a season-high 21 twice (vs. Vermont and vs. Rice).

The Rookie

Siyani Chambers- A freshman has never won the Player of the Year award, but the way Chambers has taken over for Brandyn Curry, this could be the year. The Crimson point guard plays the 5th most minutes of any player in the country (93.5% of his team”s minutes), so there”s an argument that he”s the most valuable individual in the league right now. Efficient scorer, great passer, and showing maturity beyond his years thus far. If Harvard wins the title despite Saunders putting up a few stinkers along the way, we could be looking at the first freshman POY winner ever.

Stats: 7th in PPG, 1st in APG, 7th in SPG. Has scored in double figures in 11 of 16 games, and has four 20 games (high of 22 at Dartmouth).

Other Possibilities

Brian Barbour- The Columbia point guard is one of the most exciting players in the league to watch. When the clock goes under five minutes at Levien, it officially becomes Barbour Time. The California native loves to take over down the stretch and is extremely skilled at slicing and dicing his way to the bucket and finishing when his team needs it. Takes care of the ball very well and is the main reason Columbia is in the Top 10 teams with the fewest turnovers in the country. If Columbia can make things close at the top or even lead Columbia to an unlikely title, Barbour will have a great shot at the POY.

Stats: 5th in PPG, 2nd in APG, 3rd in SPG. Has scored in double figures in 13 of 16 games, and has had a season-high 19 points in four games (at Furman, vs. Marist, vs. Bucknell, and at American).

Shonn Miller- Miller is the league”s best defensive player and the offensive side of his game is starting to really improve too. His problem is that he”s stuck on a team that seems destined for mediocrity in 2013. Miller is an incredible athlete and alters even more shots than he gets credit for. If Cornell can make a surprising run into the Top 3 and Miller keeps improving on offense, he could get some POY votes.

Stats: 13th in PPG, 3rd in RPG, 4th in SPG, 2nd in BPG. Has scored in double digits in 11 of 19 games, and had a season-high 20 points vs. Colgate.

Long Shots

Sean McGonagill– The Bears” guard has shown how dangerous he can be when he”s on. If he can deliver Brown a top half finish and put up some crazy numbers, you never know.

Fran Dougherty- Penn”s biggest scoring threat looked great early in the

season, scoring 31 vs. Fairfield, and more than 20 in four straight games, but a case of mono has kept Dougherty sidelined for eight straight games. The Quakers almost definitely aren”t good enough this year for him to win this award anyway, but if he put up Barnett-like numbers in a better than expected finish from Penn, a POY nod would be possible, I suppose.

8 thoughts on “POY Tracker”

  1. No surprise that I am a huge Ian Hummer booster for POY, especially if “body of work” is a factor in the voting. I also believe that the award should go to a member of the League championship team, if all other factors are equal or nearly so. Rosen was clearly deserving last season on a second place club because he was far and away the most valuable player on a competitive club and had compiled a great resume in his career. Harvard was the better team, but with many contributors. Harvard did not have throw a saddle on Keith Wright to the extent required in his POY season. The Tigers are quite possibly a better team when Hummer does not feel he must make it happen on offense, as he tried too often before the emergence of Hans Brase as a starter. Against Penn, as the AQ has gleefully noted, Hummer was held down rather effectively by an undersized defender. But when the Tigers present a “pick your poison” problem for the defense they are a hard team to stop. If Harvard hangs on this year it will be on the strong and capable backs of Saunders and Chambers. Unlike last season this team has only a few weapons. Both of these players are legit POY candidates. Saunders, as the veteran, will probably get the nod between them. Barbour’s star is falling right now after Cornell II, but it is very early. Barbour and all the others are long shots on February 1.

  2. Where do you quant guys source the data when you make statements such as, “Hummer assists on 36% of his teammates’ field goals when he’s in the game”? That’s not coming out of the basic post-game stat sheet.

    More to the point, is there a way to download this data into our own computers to run cross-tab analysis of our own choosing? Thanks for any light that you can shed on how you crunch the numbers.

    • I use Kenpom.com. I believe there are a handful of sites that provide this sort of data, but Pomeroy does a great job of breaking down advanced statistics into a manageable format on both the team and individual level. It’s a $20 subscription per year, definitely worth it for any college hoops fanatic. As far as exporting his tables for your own use, I’m not sure if his site supports that, but there is a lot of flexibility to compare within conference or by a single statistical category (which is what I did to find out that Hummer’s 36% assist rate is, in fact, best in the league right now). Hope this helps!

      • Bruno, very interesting stuff. Thank you. It’s fascinating that it took decades for Bill James’ quantitative approach to baseball to become widely adopted and now basketball and football have picked it up almost overnight.

        Follow-up question: Where does Ken Pomeroy get his data inputs? I presume that he has one common data set for every team in the nation. Therefore, he can only use for his inputs the basic stats that every team collects. I read those stats and they’re pretty straightforward. I don’t see how Pomeroy can, after the fact, extrapolate whether Ian Hummer was on the court when every Princeton assist was recorded.

        Thanks again for your insight on this topic. Good luck to your Bears tonight. Do everybody a favor and beat Harvard.

        • I’m not sure where Pomeroy gets his data set, but I know that other sites like StatSheet.com do provide +/- stats and that most play-by-play logs do note substitutions that would allow statisticians to do this sort of retrospective analysis.

          And thanks for the good wishes. It would be a lot of fun to see the Bears pull off the shocker tonight.

  3. Hummer’s candidacy got a boost last night against Cornell. Henderson appears to have settled on a much shorter rotation than in any previous game: 6 players shared more than 90% of the minutes. Senior Brendan Connolly did not appear until the final minute. Question: over the last 10 years or so what is the winning percentage for road teams on Saturday night in the Ivy League? Mr. March, are you aware of a site for this info?

    • TT, this would totally qualify as unsubstantiated conjecture but it’s my anecdotal observation that more basketball upsets in the Ivy League occur on Saturday night. I have absolutely zero data with which to back up that assertion but it just seems that, over the years, the Friday night game more often generates the expected outcome. Saturday night, players are tired, the benches become more important, the refs are weaker because there is much more demand for refs on Saturdays, the road team has endured its second bus trip in as many days. In summary, there just seems to be more randomness on Saturdays.

      So, to me, it’s not only that the road team is at a disadvantage on Saturday (which I agree with you, it must), in addition the favorite has its advantage diminished somewhat.

    • One man with the data set to answer that is Mike James, who goes by @ivybball on Twitter. He is the quant king when it comes to this kind of thing.

      My inclination is the same as DQ’s though. I’d also add preparation into the equation. I’m not sure how coaches generally approach Ivy weekends, but I have to think players spend more time during the week thinking about the Friday game than the Saturday game. Perhaps this would introduce more randomness into the equation too.

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