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Fun with Stats, Holiday Edition: DSJ, Amile and Wake Forest are hot enough to light the Yule log

 

It’s an incredibly light weekend for ACC basketball. Boston College is the only team in action the next five days. Despite the inactivity over the holiday weekend, there’s still plenty to examine across the conference. Let’s take a quick numbers dive into a few of the most important trends happening around the ACC.

Worth Amile-on bucks

Grayson Allen’s decision to return for his junior season at Duke drew a lot of headlines, and added to the avalanche of excitement for this year in Durham. However, it has been another veteran who has returned to the floor and delivered the goods for Duke: forward Amile Jefferson.

The fifth-year senior has simply been one of the best players in America — hands down. Jefferson, who leads the conference in rebounding (10.8), is one of ACC four players averaging a double-double. His stats have jumped in variety of categories, including PER (27.8), points (14.2) and defensive rebounding rate (26.9 percent). Jefferson is the only player in the ACC to rank top five in terms of both rebounding and blocked shots.

Jefferson and Luke Kennard have been the two primary reasons Duke, No. 3 in the nation in offensive efficiency, has raced out to a 12-1 start, despite injuries to several key players. Their chemistry is abundantly clear in Duke’s dribble handoff offense; Jefferson has posted a career high assist rate of 12.4 percent.

I don’t have the points per possession data, but I’d wager that’s one of the best actions that the Blue Devils run. When Duke operates with Jefferson as the lone true big man, it takes a small army to curtail their offense.

Dennis Smith Jr., getting in the holiday spirit

Here’s a look at what Dennis Smith Jr. put together in his first nine games as a member of the Wolfpack:

36.1 minutes, 18.3 points, five assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 40 FG%, 26.3 3P%

That’s not bad. In fact, that’s rather productive. Now, here’s what he’s done in NC State’s last three games — all wins by 20-plus points:

26 minutes, 20.7 points, seven assists, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 66.7 FG%, 71.4 3P%

The freshman point guard is playing fewer minutes per game in these blowout victories, but his numbers have exploded across the board; the bump in shooting numbers is especially eye-grabbing. DSJ went just 10-of-38 to start the season from beyond the arc. However, in the last three games, he has splashed 10-0f-14 three-point attempts.

Welcome to my block party

PlayerTeamBlocks Per GameBlock Rate
Ben LammersGeorgia Tech3.911.5%
Anas MahmoudLouisville2.414.9%
Mamadi DiakiteVirginia1.917.7%
Amile JeffersonDuke1.85.7%
Chris KoumadjeFSU1.714.5%
John CollinsWake Forest1.77.6%
BeeJay AnyaNC State1.38.7%
Doral MooreWake Forest1.314.5%
Bonzie ColsonNotre Dame1.35.0%
Mangok MathiangLouisville1.37.0%
Isaiah WilkinsUVA1.37.4%

This is another example of how good Ben Lammers has been for Josh Pastner. Lammers plays heavy minutes — a team leading 34.2 per game — and not only does he lead the league in rejections, but he’s also posting a block rate above 11 percent, which is really impressive.

This table also demonstrates the shot blocking artistry of several of the conference’s long-limbed menaces. Anas Mahmoud, Chris Koumadje, Mamadi Diakite and Doral Moore all have block rates above 14 percent. Got that weak stuff out of here, man.

* Block rate figures courtesy of Sports-Reference

Whoa, Wake Forest

It’s time to cue up “Zombie Nation” because on Thursday night in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest destroyed LSU, 110-76. The Demon Deacons did it in style, too, scoring 67 in the second half; six different players, led by Konstantinos Mitoglou’s 28 points, scored in double figures.

The 110 points Danny Manning’s club put up is easily the most they have scored since he took over the program back in 2014. It’s also the third highest tally in the history of Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Wake Forest scored 120 against UNC Wilmington back in 2008, and dropped 115 against South Carolina State in 2001.

Mitoglou hit eight three-pointers, and the rest of the Demon Deacons combined to his eight more shots from beyond the arc. The 16 three-pointers they connected is also the third highest single game total in program history. It’s the second most for a game that ended in regulation, too.

Manning knew this would be the best shooting team he’s had at Wake Forest, and so far that’s proven to be true. Wake is currently No. 20 in the nation in terms of adjusted offensive efficiency — 114.4 points per 100 possessions, according to Ken Pomeroy. They currently feature four players — Austin Arians, Keyshawn Woods, Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin — who average better than one made three-pointer per game while also shooting 40 percent or better from beyond the arc.

A throwback Christmas jam — literally

Dunk the halls of boughs of holly. Enjoy the holidays, everyone.