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Adrian Joseph: Who Woke up the Monster at Virginia?

Ben AllaireSenior Analyst IDecember 3, 2016

Try to guess the top three rebounders (in rebounds per game) in the ACC…

Alright, here they are:

1) Tyler Hansborough, North Carolina: No surprise here.  The guy’s a beast on the boards.

2) Trevor Booker, Clemson: A 6-7, 240 lb behemoth.  Let's just say Booker is a little intimidating.

That’s right!  #3 is James Johnson from Wake Forest!

Fooled you—it’s not Adrian Joseph. Joseph is actually tied for sixth in terms of rebounds per game.  Still, sixth is not too shabby.

Joseph was not always this deft at protecting the glass. In previous years, Joseph, also known by the moniker “Springs” on his myspace page, looked more like he was rebounding from a Tempurpedic than from the hardwood.  Joseph’s rebounding stats for the past three years are listed below (excluding his freshman year, when he only played 22 percent of his team's minutes). 

It’s an astounding increase for a gentleman widely seen as softer than Charmin. College basketball pundits questioned his aggressiveness—and rightly so, as he often settled for jumpers and went to the line all of eight times last year.  Eight times!

His free throw rate was one-quarter that of Will Harris!  Will Harris! Loud Noises!

This year, Joseph has been markedly more aggressive, and his efforts have paid off.  His offensive rating—a statistic used to measure offensive efficiency—has remained roughly the same as it was a year ago (115).  However, his usage increased considerably—Joseph uses about 20 percent of Virginia's possessions compared to last year’s 15 percent.

Joseph's rebounding is even more impressive when you consider his weight, currently listed at 205 lbs.  Joseph currently ranks fifth in the ACC in defensive rebounding percentage, behind a couple of serious musclemen.  Joseph and the aforementioned Johnson are the only two rebounders in the top 10 of rebounding percentage under 220 lbs. 

I'm not willing to attribute Joseph's rebounding renaissance solely as a function of the genius that is David Leitao.  Some of his newfound "prowess" is due the holes where Tunji Soroye’s knee (surgery) and Jason Cain’s mustache (graduated) used to be.  Joseph could be expected to pick up some slack without those two on the court—just not necessarily this much.

(Stats courtesy of kenpom.com and theacc.com

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