So every once in a while, when I get bored on the Internet, I decide to kill some time by heading onto the sports-reference sites and examining stuff. For example, I have spent hours looking at Barry Bonds' baseball-reference page because holy god look at it, you guys. Like, PEDs or not, that's otherworldly. I'm gonna take 10 minutes and look at it again, hold up.
Ok so yeah back to why we're here. On the college basketball page, you can do this cool thing where you look at various numbers and see which players meet said criteria. I did this last year with something I wrote for Onward about Tim Frazier and it showed that he was in line to be, like, the third player in college hoops history to meet several criteria. I forget what they were, but it was fun and unfortunately, Tim didn't end up getting there.
So that brings us to D.J. Newbill. I got bored last night and wanted to see where his numbers this season stood in Big Ten history. We all know that his per game numbers are really, really good -- and they warrant him being at least a first-team All-Big Ten selection -- but historically, how good are they?
Here is a list of every player in Big Ten history to average more than 21 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal per game. Remember, the Big Ten has participated in basketball since the year of our lord nineteen hundred and four.
- Michael Redd, 1997-98
- D.J. Newbill, 2014-15
That's it. That's the entire list in the 111 years that the Big Ten has played basketball. The season that most resembles what Newbill is doing for Penn State this year was done by one of the best Big Ten basketball players of the last 20 years. Here are the numbers:
- Redd: 21.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 SPG, 43.8 FG%, 30.3 3P%, 61.6 FT%, 48.0 eFG%, 50.6 TS%
- Newbill: 21.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 47.0 FG%, 35.1 3P%, 75.2 FT%, 51.8 eFG%, 56.6 TS%
So Newbill has actually been better than Redd in several ways, namely in statistics that measure efficiency, which is absurd, because Newbill isn't exactly surrounded by LeBron, Wade and Bosh. When you look at the best statistical seasons over the last 20 years of Big Ten basketball, you can argue that Newbill is having one of the best ones during that stretch of time. Again, D.J. Newbill is awesome at basketball. If you still disagree with this thesis, here is his KenPom page:
And here is a fun little graphic, from the folks at Maize N Brew which shows the top individual scoring performances in the Big Ten this year:
Of the 10 best scoring performances this year, D.J. has four of them. Forty percent. The dude just gets buckets and carries the Nittany Lions as far as he can, which isn't too far, because his supporting cast is kind of bad, especially lately.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that we really, really need to appreciate how awesome D.J. Newbill is. Odds are, he only has 14 games left in a PSU uniform -- 13 are during the regular season with one game in the Big Ten Tournament. Seven of those games will be at the Bryce Jordan Center. As things stand right now, Penn State isn't playing in any kind of postseason tournament, which is the final similarity to Redd's 1997-98 season: he's doing it for a team that just isn't that good at basketball, which is not his fault at all, because he's doing everything he can.
Unfortunately, this means that people don't pay attention to Newbill outside of, like, me and Chad and Eric and Tim and a handful of you commenters (although to be fair, it does seem like at least some people outside of Happy Valley realize that D.J. is special). Of all of the things that are shameful about Penn State basketball -- and yes, there are a ton of things -- that is one of the most shameful. Something historic is happening right in front of us, and nobody cares, because the team isn't going to make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT or anything else, even though Newbill is fighting until hell freezes over, and when it does, he starts fighting on the ice.
I'm sorry, D.J. Newbill. You deserve so much better.