Overall Grade: B
Fan Grade: B
Traditional Stats (Team Rank)
8.9 Points (4th)
2.6 Rebounds (6th)
0.7 Assists (6th)
2-point FG%: 46.7% (9th)
3-point FG%: 42.1% (2nd)
Avery Woodson captured the hearts of Butler fans before they ever saw him play a game at Hinkle Fieldhouse. After attending the memorial service of former Bulldog Joel Cornette, someone Avery had never met, he opted to change his number from 33 to 0. “I was just moved by the service and what he meant not only to his family, but his teammates and his community,” Woodson told the Indy Star. “He was one of the greatest players to play here at Butler. So me not being here very long, I feel like I haven’t done enough or deserve to wear his number.” It turned out to be a great example of the type or leader and teammate Woodson would be during his lone year as a Butler Bulldog.
Offensive Grade: B+
Advanced Offensive Stats
True Shooting Percentage: 60.1% (4th)
Offensive Rebounding Percentage: 1.4% (8th)
Assist Percentage: 5.7% (7th)
Turnover Percentage: 4.2% (1st)
Usage Percentage: 18.2% (6th)
Offensive Rating: 124.1 (3rd)
Avery Woodson’s offensive game was quite simple. He was a catch and shoot 3-point shooter, and he was tremendous at it. He shot over 42% on the season from distance and virtually never turned the ball over. His 4.2% turnover rate was best among all players from the top 9 conferences this season. It’s hard to get much more productive in a shooters role than that.
While Woodson was an elite 3 point shooter and a valuable weapon for the Bulldogs, he “only” gets a B+ grade because of his lack of versatility. Avery did very little with the basketball other than catch and shoot. Very rarely did he go inside the 3-point line, taking only 1 field goal attempt inside the arc for every 3 attempts outside it, and converting only 42% of those tries, last on the team. His turnover percent was low, but so was his assist rate at just 5.7%. He also had the second worst offensive rebounding percentage on the team.
The list of things Woodson didn’t do well offensively is longer than what he did do well, but he was so good shooting he found himself as a starter on Coach Holtmann’s squad. This was on display in Milwaukee for the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament as Woodson shot 8-16 from downtown to help Butler advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since their championship game run in 2011.
Defensive Grade: B-
Advanced Defensive Stats
Defensive Rebounding Percentage: 12.9% (5th)
Steal Percentage: 0.8% (9th)
Block Percentage: 1.4% (5th)
Defensive Box Plus/Minus: 0.8 (8th)
Defensive Rating: 106.3 (7th)
Woodson made his presence felt on the offensive end with the 3-ball, but on the defensive end it was a completely different story. For the most part he was pretty invisible. He didn’t stuff the stat sheet with many steals, blocks, or rebounds, and therefore he doesn’t have impressive defensive ratings.
But being invisible on defense isn’t completely bad. Fans don’t just notice the players getting the steals and the blocks, they also notice the guys getting blown by for layups or losing their man. This wasn’t a frequent problem for Avery. Despite having only a single year to learn Butler’s defensive system his positioning seemed just fine from the very beginning. It’s common for offensive snipers to be a liability on the defensive end, and while Woodson may not have won Butler any games on that end, he wasn’t losing them any either.
It’s a shame Woodson only gets 1 year at Butler. The bad news is Woodson is one of the 3 seniors guards that Butler will have to replace. The good news is there are several potential suitors to step in and fill Avery’s shoes. The most similar player is Cloverdale guard Cooper Neese. Neese is one of the top shooters in the country and finished his high school career 7th on the all time Indiana scoring list. There is a solid chance he can match Woodson’s shooting ability. The question will be whether or not he can hold up defensively in the Big East.
Other freshman options include Jerald Butler and Christian David. Butler is a Roosevelt Jones type point forward coming off a state championship in Florida. David might have the greatest upside of anyone in the class, but the 6’7” shooting guard is coming off an ACL tear last March. He should be 100% for his freshman season, but the injury has left him with a lot of development time to make up.
In addition to the freshman, Coach Holtmann will have sophomores Sean McDermott and Henry Baddley to work with at the wing. Neither saw major minutes as freshman, but Butler has seen their sophomores take huge strides the past few seasons. Nate Fowler, Kelan Martin, and Tyler Wideman all struggled as freshman but became significant contributors the following season. If Butler could get that type of leap from either McDermott or Baddley that would give the Bulldogs a major boost in 2018.
Coming up next in the series will be freshman sensation Kamar Baldwin. You can vote for his grade on the forums here. You can see the previous grades below: