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January 28, 2013
Introducing the EGOT's
Celebrating Versatility

by Corey Schmidt


In the world of entertainment there are a select few performers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award, or EGOT for short. The EGOT is sort of like the Grand Slam of entertainment. To accomplish such a feat one must truly be a multi-talented performer. As we enter entertainment's awards season, I began to wonder if there was an equivalent to the EGOT in college basketball.

If we just look at actual awards, then Anthony Davis' 2011-12 campaign stands as college basketball's most recent analogue to an entertainer who accomplishes the EGOT. The former Kentucky Wildcat won national player of the year, defensive player of the year, freshman of the year, and the most outstanding player award in the NCAA tournament last season. If we go about this in a different way, though, we can use the EGOT acronym to identify those rare players who excel in four distinct categories that require an arsenal of talents:

E: Effective field goal percentage
G: Getting to the free throw line
O: Offensive rebounding
T: Turnover control

College basketball's EGOT is essentially the Four Factors focused at the individual level. It answers the question of which players excel in each of these four categories, while playing a major role in their respective teams' offense. The EGOT categorization tends to like forwards more than guards or wings because of the offensive rebounding component, though it is possible to create two different sets of parameters to identify big men versus guards. For example, the cutoff for outstanding offensive rebounding for a forward might be different than that for a guard. However, today we focus on just the do-it-all forwards playing in both major conferences and at the mid-major level.

Mainstream performers
The following five forwards were identified as EGOT nominees for the category of "mainstream performers." These individuals have managed to achieve high marks in all four factors while playing against the stiffest of competition in the major conferences.

Jack Cooley, Notre Dame (Sr.)
As the top user of possessions in Notre Dame's top-10 offense, it should come as no surprise that Jack Cooley is a paragon of efficiency. The Fighting Irish offense's best traits -- accurate shooting and few turnovers -- are reflected in Cooley's game. The 6-9 senior is the nation's premier offensive rebounder, and it's not a stretch to say ND's merely average team offensive rebounding is solely a function of Cooley's extraordinary individual effort on the offensive boards. And if Mike Brey's offense has a weak point, it's that its trips to the free throw line are infrequent. Again, Cooley is an exception here, as his 55 percent free throw rate is over 20 percentage points higher than the next-best rotation player's rate. Cooley exhibited these traits dating back to his time as a seldom-used role player, and it's amazing how he's been able to maintain such excellence in such diverse facets of the game even as a featured player.

Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss (Sr.)
Mississippi has entered the national conversation this season for both its strong play and the strong personality of transfer guard Marshall Henderson. While it's refreshing that anyone at all is talking about a star player for the Rebels, the attention has come at the expense of Murphy Holloway. The senior forward is quietly having a great season while serving as the rock of this Ole Miss squad. When he's on the court he uses about the same number of possessions as Henderson, and he provides high-percentage scoring inside the arc to balance Henderson's three-point-heavy attack. Holloway's also posting a career-best free throw rate of 45 percent and he's the best offensive rebounder on a team that ranks in the top 50 in grabbing its own misses. His only EGOT credential that bears closer watching is his turnover rate, which has trended upward over the last four SEC games.

Alex Len, Maryland (So.)
In limited playing time as a freshman, Alex Len was a reliable two-point shooter who earned a fair amount of trips to the free throw line for Maryland. Most observers would probably be pretty excited to get that kind of production out of a freshman big man, but expectations for Len were inflated when he arrived in College Park. Len was far from the breakout freshman many thought he would be, but the good news is he certainly qualifies as a breakout sophomore. Those positive traits that Len exhibited in 2011-12 are again present in 2012-13, even as his role and playing time have grown. He's added a propensity for grabbing his teams' misses at a respectable rate (15 percent), while also cutting his turnover rate by ten percentage points. The youngest member of these EGOT nominees, Len is also the only one among the group who is garnering legitimate attention as an NBA draft lottery pick.

Akil Mitchell, Virginia (Jr.)
Akil Mitchell must have picked up a thing or two watching Mike Scott suit up for Virginia over the last few years. The 6-8 forward is having a stellar junior campaign that rivals what Scott accomplished when he was a junior in 2009-10. Mitchell's emergence is a bit more surprising, though, as he has transformed from a seemingly non-existent offensive role player (13 percent usage rate) to a major contributor using 25 percent of his team's possessions while on the court. He's become an elite rebounder, a regular visitor to the charity stripe, and he's proven to possess a steady hand even with increased touches. Much like his predecessor Scott, Mitchell may be undervalued by a per-game evaluation due to Virginia's pace of play. Playing 29 minutes per game on a team that averages 60 possessions per contest, Mitchell averages 12 points and 9 boards. If he continues on his current Scott-like trajectory, expect him to be sorely overlooked next year when he's having a conference player of the year campaign that isn't summarized by per-game averages.

Talib Zanna, Pittsburgh (Jr.)
Pittsburgh may be a difficult team to figure out at this juncture, but that's not true of Talib Zanna, who is an easy study. Zanna pairs with freshman Steven Adams to spearhead the Panthers' rigorous attack on their own basket after misses, and when he's not grabbing boards, Pitt can count on him to draw fouls at a reliable clip. While the junior forward still leads the team in usage rate, that rate has come down just a bit since Big East play began, as the team's offense has become more balanced. That reallocation of shots may be due in part to Zanna's recent accuracy struggles. Still a 56 percent two-point shooter on the season, the Panther has made just 29 percent of his attempts over the past five games.

Indie stars
The following five forwards were identified as EGOT nominees for the category of "Indie Stars." These individuals have dominated the four factors while playing in the country's mid-major leagues.

John Brown, High Point (Fr.)
John Brown may play second fiddle to Virginia Tech transfer Allan Chaney in the headlines (and rightfully so), but that's not the case on the court. This dominant freshman is using over 30 percent of High Point's possessions and only turning it over 12 percent of the time. He has yet to take a three-pointer, instead preferring to attack the rim for a high-percentage two or an opportunity to get fouled. In keeping with our EGOT categorization, Brown's also rebounding 14 percent of HPU's misses while on the court. This 6-7 stud is definitely one of the top 25 freshmen in the country, and perhaps also the most underrated.

Rhamel Brown, Manhattan (Jr.)
Rhamel Brown's a dominant rebounder, an extremely accurate shooter from inside the arc, and a fairly steady ball-handler given the offensive load he carries. Most impressive of all, Brown draws almost eight fouls per 40 minutes. He's practically established a domicile at the free throw line, and yet he's made just 41 percent of his freebies. His team follows his lead. The Jaspers rank No. 25 nationally in free throw rate but make only 64 percent of their attempts at the stripe. Brown, like his team, also sends opponents to the line much too frequently. This dynamic was on full display in Manhattan's recent loss to Loyola Maryland. Brown often looked like the best player on the court, but he made just 1-of-6 free throws and fouled out in 25 minutes. As a team, the Jaspers made just 42 percent of their free throws, while sending the Greyhounds to the line once per every two field goal attempts. This probably isn't the season Manhattan envisioned after finishing 21-13 a year ago and welcoming back most players, but a season-ending injury to star George Beamon certainly didn't help their cause. If Brown is able to pair with a healthy Beamon next year, Brown's efforts won't be for naught.

Augustine Rubit, South Alabama (Jr.)
While everyone chases Middle Tennessee State in the Sun Belt, South Alabama has emerged as a second-place contender under new coach Jeff Price. Price has certainly relied on the all-around efforts of Augustine Rubit in the turn-around process. The third-year player has been a high-usage, high-efficiency player since his freshman debut, but he's managed to improve each season even as his role and playing time have increased. Rubit's hitting career-highs in turnover rate, free throw rate (and free throw percentage), and offensive rebounding rate. In fact, the 6-7 forward's statistical profile may be as close to a mid-major Jack Cooley as one will find this year.

Jameel Warney, Stony Brook (Fr.)
While John Brown may be one of the most underrated freshmen in the country, Stony Brook's Jameel Warney is very much in that conversation, and he does so while playing for a likely NCAA tournament team. Warney doesn't quite carry the offensive load of that of his contemporaries, but what he's accomplished thus far is commendable for a freshman forward. He's connecting on 60 percent of his twos and rarely turning the ball over when called upon in the painted area. Moreover, he's already earned the distinction as Stony Brook's top offensive rebounder. There's a little Javon McCrea in Warney, so he bears close watching as his career progresses.

Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara (So.)
After several years of contention in the Big West, UC Santa Barbara is having a rare down year under coach Bob Williams. The good news is the Gauchos are likely to have Alan Williams for another two years. In a smaller role last season, Williams proved his rebounding prowess by pulling down 23 percent of his team's misses in his time on the court. He continues to stand among the elite offensive rebounders in the country in his second year, but he's also carrying a significantly larger share of the offense as a sophomore. His usage rate of 34 percent is one of the highest in the country, and it's a full 10 percentage points higher than his freshman year rate. Williams' shooting accuracy hasn't fallen off much either, with only an increased-but-still-respectable turnover rate bringing down his overall efficiency. He was recently injured and his status is unclear, but Williams has already established in a little over one and a half seasons that he'll be among the game's most intriguing do-it-all players in the years to come.

Follow Corey Schmidt on Twitter: @cjschmidt1.

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