The mind-meld that is the Big East coaches struck a blow against smart, unselfish, and very, very good basketball on both sides of the court on Sunday morning when it was announced that freshman Otto Porter was left off the All-Rookie team. The coaches managed to pick seven players for the All-Rookie Team, yet somehow Porter, a critical cog on the 12th ranked team in the nation, was left off. This couldn't have been more poorly executed if the coaches deferred the entire responsibility for the selections to Big East commissioner John Marinatto.
Porter's per game numbers aren't gaudy -- assuming you overlook the biggest national TV Big East road games Georgetown played all year: 14 points and 14 rebounds at Louisville, 14 points and 13 rebounds at Syracuse, 19 points and 5 rebounds at Marquette (a game which took place after ballots were due). And perhaps some coaches were deterred by the fact that he was a 6th man (ignoring the pesky facts that he was always on the court at the end of the game, was playing more minutes than any reserve on an elite team, and had the third most minutes of any player on Georgetown's team). As Luke Winn ably described him earlier in 2012:
Taking into account Porter's defensive contributions -- he's the team's best defensive rebounder, and second in both steal and block percentage -- he needs to be considered one of the nation's top 10-15 freshmen.
More singing praise for Otto and blasting the undeserving after The Jump:
So who did Otto lose to?
BIG EAST ALL-ROOKIE TEAM^
Andre Drummond, Connecticut, C, Fr., 6-11, 275, Middletown, Conn.
Chane Behanan, Louisville, F, Fr., 6-7, 250, Bowling Green, Ky.
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, G, So., 6-5, 185, Bowie, Md.
LaDontae Henton, Providence, F, Fr., 6-6, 220 Lansing, Mich.
Moe Harkless, St. John's, F, Fr., 6-8, 190, Queens, N.Y.
D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's, G, Fr., 6-3, 186, Missouri City, Texas
Anthony Collins, USF, G, Fr., G, 6-1, 175, Houston, Texas
In particular, two names jump out (excluding Notre Dame's Jerian Grant -- a SOPHOMORE who just didn't play last year) LaDontae Henton, a 6-6 F from Providence and South Florida's point guard Anthony Collins. A snapshot from kenpom of Otto vs. the Award Recipients is very messy when posted in blog format, but here are the takeaways:
The first thing that jumps out is that Otto is the most efficient player of any of the freshmen named to the All-Rookie Team (he also overtook Hollis Thompson and Nate Lubick for the most efficient player on Georgetown). Porter and Henton down the line have very similar numbers, with Otto being the better rebounder, passer and leading in all the defensive categories, OH AND HE DIDN'T PLAY ON A TEAM THAT WENT 4-14 IN THE BIG EAST WITH THE WORST DEFENSE IN THE CONFERENCE WHILE GEORGETOWN HAD THE 10TH BEST DEFENSE IN THE COUNTRY!!
Anthony Collins had more team success, somehow USF finished tied with Georgetown in the loss column, but the point guard, with admittedly gaudy assist numbers, also had enormous amount of turnovers, and a poor offensive rating that was below his team's average -- indicating that he actually hurt his team by using too many possessions (and according to statsheet.com, which does break out for conference games, he had a 94.3 ORtg while the team had 97.5).
Where Otto really separates himself is in the tried and true announcer redundancy -- he's the most prepared freshman JT3 has ever coached. He communicates on defense, he tips the basketball at an astounding rate, creates havoc in our vaunted zone, his handle and balance let him to silly things along the sidelines that turn an almost sure-fire turnover into one pass away from an easy lay-in. Other than Moe Harkless, he has the best balance of blocks, steals and defensive rebounds (the core defensive stats) and he's in a virtual tie for the lowest turnover rate despite handling the ball quite a bit for a 6-8 player. Hell, he got elbowed in the face, may or may not have lost a tooth and returned for one of his best games of the year.
Announcers continually marvel that he never played AAU ball, and suggest that he's better off because of it, plays the game the right way, helps his team by stuffing the statsheet or things that don't even show up, instead of trying to his get points. And yet the coaches against put down "playing basketball the right way" by not recognizing Otto.
The thing is, I'm not even sure if Otto Porter will get upset by this snub, because the only thing he seems to care about is wins.