As a special feature to The Cornell Basketball Blog, one of our Ithaca-based contributors, T.J., provides us his analysis of Cornell sophomore, Adam Gore's performances-to-date and Gore's projected future role with the Big Red.
Adam Gore is one of the main keys to Cornell's success this year. Although some fans have suggested that he has experienced a drop-off from the pace he set two years ago as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Second Team All-Ivy League selection, I believe Gore has in fact improved significantly as an all-around basketball player. Although his three-point shooting (including percentage as well as shots made and attempted) seem to have slightly declined, his total contribution to the Red certainly has blossomed.
Two years ago during his freshman year, Gore shot 41.9% (83 of 198) from three, whereas this year after 14 games, he is shooting 36.9% (24-65). But what may seem like a staggering decline actually is a difference of only about three more made 3-pointers (e.g. 27-65 would amount to 41.5%). As such, the difference is not statistically significant (P=0.29698, which is well over the threshold of P=0.05 for statistical significance). In other words, the difference in Gore's shooting percentage is attributable to chance and is not a viable difference. Statistically, Gore is shooting just as well as he did two years ago when he won the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and earned Second Team All Ivy League Honors.
Certainly Gore attempted more 3-point shots two years ago (198) than this year (presently 80 attempts, on pace for 154). But this difference reflects the different role he had on the team two years ago, rather than any reluctance to hoist one up from deep.
During 2005-2006, Gore was the leading scorer for the Red at 12.9 ppg. He was a close second on the team in minutes played (32.3 to then-senior, Lenny Collins' 32.8). He and Collins provided the one-two dcoring punch for the team (with Collins scoring 12.6 ppg, a close second to Gore). On the present roster, Ryan Whittman (14.2 ppg) and Louis Dale (13.5 ppg) are providing that very one-two lead scoring punch. Few would argue that Wittman and Dale should not be shooting as much (both are hitting over 45% from the floor and over 42% from deep). Even discounting the now-departed Collin Robinson, there have been fewer shot attempts to go around for other players such as Gore. Nevertheless, it is very likely that Gore will be shooting a bit more the rest of the way, now that Collin Robinson has left the basketball program.
To me, the most telling statistics of Gore's overall improvement are in the other categories outside of scoring. Despite averaging fewer minutes per game (24.6 this year, compared to 32.3 as a rookie during 2005-2006), Gore is picking up more assists and steals, and more importantly, he is producing far fewer turnovers. In 2005-2006, Gore had 25 steals, 37 assists and 40 turnovers. Already this year Gore has 17 steals, 23 assists, and just 13 turnovers. Projecting his present statistics over the remainder of the season, he will finish with at least 9 more steals, 9 more assists, and 14 fewer turnovers. Additionally, his assist-to-turnover ratio has improved from 0.925 to 1.769, a remarkable improvement in this essential area.
The numbers clearly show that Gore is shooting at virtually the same effectiveness as he did two years ago. He is taking (and therefore making) fewer shots because other players around him can be counted on to shoot the ball efficiently. But he is also playing excellent defense, taking care of the basketball, and setting up his teammates for hoops. Meanwhile his foul shooting is fifth in the country (91.2%, though he does not qualify on the official leader board by one attempt).
Statistics aside, what I have seen on the floor is a total and complete basketball player. When Gore was a freshman, he was mainly a shooter--a hired gun. Lenny Collins was the better all-around player. But now I see a new player in Gore. He has put all of the components of his game together and has been giving an extraordinary effort at both ends of the floor. I expect that he will be picking up more playing time as the Ivy season continues, due to Robinson's departure, and the Big Red will benefit greatly from Gore's increased opportunity.