Ranking the Most Efficient Scorers in College Basketball in 2013-14 So Far
What makes for scoring efficiency in college basketball?
Is it the ability to make a high percentage of your shots? The comparison of points scored to turnovers committed? Some third-level statistical matrix that requires a monthly subscription to read (and a doctorate in statistics to comprehend)?
There are hundreds of different quantitative values that various stat gurus have attached to the thousands of players hitting the court each season, and any number of them could be used to establish an efficiency ranking.
But we like to do things a little differently here, so we're coming up with our own figure.
It's a modified version of the points-per-shot stat, which normally divides the number of points scored by the number of field goals attempted. But ours gives extra credit for assists (since those lead to other players' scoring efficiency) and takes away for turnovers committed.
The end result: The Bleacher Efficient Scorer Tally, or The BEST for short. Good players have a rating of 1.2 or better, while the best of The BEST score at 1.5 or above.
We've gone through the stats for the top 250 scorers in Division I as well as the top assist men in the game (based on their averages through Dec. 22) and picked out the 10 most efficient. Check it out and let us know what you think.
(NOTE: Notre Dame's Jerian Grant, who was dismissed from the team Dec. 22 due to academic issues, was among the top 10 in our ratings, but he was not included.)
10. Jordan Adams, UCLA
BEST Rating: 1.55
What the Numbers Say: Jordan Adams, a 6'5" sophomore guard, leads UCLA in scoring at 18.9 points per game while shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 84.1 percent from the free-throw line. Though not a big assist guy, he's managed to only turn the ball over 17 times in 13 games.
Why He's On This List: Adams has upped his scoring by more than 20 percent from his freshman year, mostly due to taking better shots and being more aggressive in drawing fouls. He's also using his defense to create offense, forcing steals that either start his own chances or lead to scoring opportunities for his Bruins teammates.
9. Brandon Edwards, Texas-Arlington
BEST Rating: 1.57
What the Numbers Say: Brandon Edwards is a 6'6" senior forward who leads Texas-Arlington in both scoring (19.3 points per game) and rebounding (10.0), and is one of just 16 players in Division I averaging a double-double. Edwards is a solid shooter from all areas of the court, including the line, and he rarely turns it over.
Why He's On This List: Edwards has exploded offensively this season, up from 7.8 points per game as a junior, despite shooting worse. He's playing inside more than a guy his side should, but he's responded by becoming a force on the offensive glass. That's led to plenty of second-chance points, increasing his efficiency when the ball is in his hands.
8. Jordan Woodward, Oklahoma
BEST Rating: 1.58
What the Numbers Say: Jordan Woodard, a 6'0" freshman point guard, is averaging 12.2 points and 5.3 assists per game, while his assist-to-turnover ratio is a very unfreshman-like 2.56-to-1.
Why He's On This List: Woodard has used smart ball-handling and aggressive driving to pace Oklahoma to an 11-1 start, taking over at the point after Je'lon Hornbeak broke his foot two weeks ago. He doesn't shoot much, but his ability to drive and dish has opened up the floor for others, while he's also drawing enough contact to get almost as much scoring from the free-throw line as from the field.
7. Taylor Braun, North Dakota State
BEST Rating: 1.58
What the Numbers Say: Taylor Braun, a 6'7" senior guard, is the Bison's leader in scoring (18.9 points per game) and assists (3.9) while shooting just under 49 percent from the field and almost 78 percent from the line. Though not a true point guard, he's turned it over only 29 times in 14 games.
Why He's On This List: Braun is taking much more of an initiative this year when it comes to creating his own shot, especially when it comes to getting to the basket. The result is him taking more than nine foul shots per game, and his 130 free-throw attempts are second most in Division I. Each trip to the line increases his scoring efficiency, as he doesn't have to take a shot to get the points.
6. Devon Collier, Oregon State
BEST Rating: 1.59
What the Numbers Say: Devon Collier, a 6'8" senior forward, leads Oregon State in scoring (19.3 points per game) and rebounding (8.3) while shooting a stellar 65.3 percent from the field
Why He's On This List: Collier is not just a nearly automatic shot from the low post; he's also got some of the best hands of any big man in the country. He's only turned the ball over 16 times this year and has played with an intensity not seen since his sophomore season.
5. Joseph Young, Oregon
BEST Rating: 1.61
What the Numbers Say: Joseph Young, a 6'2" junior guard, leads Oregon in scoring (19.8 points per game) in his first year since transferring from Houston. He's shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three-point range and is making 82.3 percent of his field goals.
Why He's On This List: Young is a shooter, plain and simple. He's a deadly outside threat who, unlike many of his ilk, is very selective of the three-pointers he takes. Therefore, when defenses collapse on him, he's able to get to the rim much more effectively, resulting in him making nearly 59 percent of his two-pointers. And he's been very careful with the ball, losing it just eight times all year despite playing 31.2 minutes per game.
4. Nik Stauskas, Michigan
BEST Rating: 1.63
What the Numbers Say: Nik Stauskas, a 6'6" sophomore guard, leads Michigan in scoring (18.4 points per game) and assists (3.2) while shooting 48.1 percent from the field, 45.8 percent from three-point range and 80.3 percent from the line. He has just 16 turnovers in 345 minutes of court time.
Why He's On This List: Stauskas is doing most of the same things that made him stand out as a freshman on the Wolverines' NCAA runner-up team, though now he's become stronger and is less reliant on being an outside shooter. He's gone to the line 71 times this year, compared to 87 in all of last season, while avoiding the turnovers that usually come with more aggressiveness.
3. Delon Wright, Utah
BEST Rating: 1.66
What the Numbers Say: Delon Wright, a 6'5" junior guard, is second on Utah in scoring (15.7 points per game) and rebounding (6.3) while leading the Utes with 5.9 assists per game. He's shooting an astounding 71.3 percent from the field, while his assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.83-to-1.
Why He's On This List: The junior college transfer has made the most of the few shots he's taken this season, attempting only 8.5 per game. He's dishing the ball with great effectiveness and has feasted on Utah's weak nonconference schedule to gain confidence and establish his ability to drive the lane.
2. Austin Tillotson, Colgate
BEST Rating: 1.68
What the Numbers Say: Austin Tillotson, a 6'0" sophomore guard, leads Colgate in scoring (14.1 points per game) and assists (4.8) while shooting a blistering 66.2 percent from the field and 63 percent from three-point range. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 3-to-1.
Why He's On This List: Tillotson, who sat out last season after transferring from Monmouth, is the floor leader on the nation's most efficient offense. On a team that's hitting 50.2 percent of its shots and nailing an NCAA-best 10.5 three-pointers per game, Tillotson is the one feeding the beast all over the court. And like his teammates, he only takes good shots, getting his points on fewer than eight shots per contest.
1. Kendall Williams, New Mexico
BEST Rating: 1.74
What the Numbers Say: Kendall Williams, a 6'4" senior guard, is averaging 18.6 points and a team-best 5.2 assists per game for New Mexico, hitting 50 percent of his shots from the field and 86.5 percent from the line.
Why He's On This List: Williams has found a way to turn drawing fouls into an art form. He's getting to the line more than nine times per game, while only attempting 8.8 field goals. The emphasis on calling fouls on handsy defenders this season has benefited Williams more than any other player in the country, but he's also shooting at an accurate clip when the foul isn't called. And though his 1.94 assist-to-turnover ratio isn't that great, he's only lost the ball 32 times in 425 minutes, making him the country's most efficient scorer.