The Greatest Freshman Year In UK History…

AP Photo/Ed Reinke

Curiosity got the best of me, so I had to know… By the numbers, who appeared to have the Greatest Freshmen Year in Kentucky history.

Finally, a post for all of the Numbers people… Love analytic, this one’s for you. Tear it apart at your own pleasure…

Hate the numbers, check out another one of our post over at The Nation

Here are the six categories reviewed |

  1. Scoring
  2. Blocks
  3. Steals
  4. Rebounds
  5. Made three-point shots
  6. Assist

Each player was rated based on their per game average as some players had longer seasons then others. Every player played in at least twenty-five games their Freshmen year.

Thirty-two Players were in the top ten in at least one category listed above, but only two were in the Top 10 in five of the six categories reviewed.

A points scale based on their position in each category was used to get an overall average. A player in the No. 1 position would receive 10 points, the No. 2 position 9 points and so on as the scale moved down. If they did not show up in the top 10 in a category, then they received 0 points. Then each player received one additional point for each category they ranked within. The Player with the highest average was determined to have the best season by the numbers.

We all know there is so much more to a Player then just their numbers. Hustle, energy, leadership, effort in practice and basketball IQ are all some additional attributes that should be considered.

It’s also important to note that many Players never had the opportunity to play in their Freshman season. One great example would be Dan Issel, the current all time scoring leader at The University of Kentucky. His scoring average in his Sophomore year would place him tied for second with Patrick Patterson at 16.44 points per game.

Now that the disclosures are out of the way, here is the Top 5 List |

Number 5 – Sam Bowie1979-80 and Patrick Patterson – 2007-08 | Sam ranked first in blocks, third in rebounds and seventh in scoring. Patrick ranked second in scoring, fourth in rebounds and fifth in blocks.

Number 4 – Rex Chapman – 1986-87 | Rex ranked first in three pointers made, third in assists and third in scoring.

Number 3 – DeMarcus Cousins – 2009-10 | DeMarcus ranked first in rebounds, third in blocks, fourth in scoring and amazingly tenth in steals.

Number 2 – Chris Mills – 1988-89 | Chris ranked second in rebounds, fifth in scoring, sixth in assists, sixth in steals and eighth in blocks, showing up in five of the six available categories.

Number 1 – John Wall – 2009-10 | John ranked first in scoring, first in assists, second in steals, eighth in three-pointers made and tenth in rebounds, showing up in five of the six available categories.

Overall, John was a run away with an average of 6.33 versus Chris Mills 5.50. I’m not sure that the results will surprise anyone outside of me, but it does go to show that the 2009-10 team was one of Kentucky’s most talented Freshmen classes. Rounding out the top ten was Eric Bledsoe, Keith Bogans, Rajon Rondo and Jamal Mashburn, giving the 2009-10 class three of the top seven Freshmen, by the numbers.

Chart |

Player Points Boards Assists Steals Blocks 3-Pointer Points Average
Wall 10 1 10 9 0 3 38 6.33
Mills 6 9 5 5 3 0 33 5.50
Cousins 7 10 0 1 8 0 30 5.00
Chapman 8 0 8 0 0 10 29 4.83
Bowie 4 8 0 0 10 0 25 4.17
Patterson 9 7 0 0 6 0 25 4.17
Bledsoe 1 0 4 6 0 8 23 3.83
Bogans 2 0 0 7 0 9 21 3.50
Rondo 0 0 7 10 0 0 19 3.17
Mashburn 3 5 0 4 0 0 15 2.50

Data Source

3 Responses to “The Greatest Freshman Year In UK History…”
  1. Jim,

    Thanks for your comments and insight. As far as the numbers, your comment is truthful. The method used to determine even a top 10 was just that, one in a hundred different methods, but one that was of interest and did take multiple areas of the game into consideration.

    Like you, I truly expected Rex to be on the top spot. His Freshman year was one of the best ever. Honestly, I didn’t expect Wall to be on top. I also didn’t realize that John made the Top 10 in 5 of the 6 categories either until I reviewed the data. The chosen method to calculate didn’t show what I expected.

    As stated in the post, the fact that three of the top seven was from the 09 Freshman class truly showed the amount of talent recruited by Calipari. I was amazed that Bledsoe even made the top 10. He had a solid year, but not one that I thought would crack even the Top 15.

    The Number 2 scorer, he is on the list but his score in that category was misrepresented. It is DeMarcus Cousins and he should have received a 9 instead of a 7. Either way, his position would stay the same at Number 3 with a 5.33.

    Thanks for reading and for commenting…
    Chip Miller

  2. Jim Braun says:

    Five comments about the tabulation above:

    First and foremost three players on the list played on the same team – that is an amazing stat all by itself, and each one of the three directly affects the value of the stats of the others.

    Secondly Chapman wasn’t at the top of the list. Didn’t everybody just assume he was Kentucky’s freshman of all time?

    Third, the second scoring leader isn’t even listed – who the heck was he.

    Fourth I get a kick out of people that devise lists like this one based on their own methods of applying values to the stats and coming to a conclusion of rank. A fair accounting perhaps, but it is really nothing more than Chris’ accounting, in line with Enron accounting? I’m askin’

    Fifth – No, “We all do not know there is so much more to a Player then just his numbers. Hustle, energy, leadership, effort in practictice….. ”

    Chris, a player is measured by his stats just like a politician is measured by his accomplishments and voting record. Pleas don’t give us that crap about effort in practice.

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  1. […] Big Blue Nation looks at the greatest freshman year in UK basketball history. […]

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