Overall Grade: B
Fan Grade: B
Traditional Stats (Team Rank)
8.0 Points (5th)
2.7 Rebounds (5th)
1.5 Assists (4th)
2-point FG%: 50.0% (6th)
3-point FG%: 29.2% (8th)
Injury and sickness were responsible for Savage’s slow start, but eventually he turned out to be a huge addition for Chris Holtmann at the point guard position. He will forever be remembered for his heroics in the final 5 minutes of Butler’s thrilling victory over #1 and defending champion Villanova at Hinkle Fieldhouse. He essentially split time with Tyler Lewis, providing a unique fire and ice combo at the lead guard spot. Each player certainly had their weaknesses, but they complimented each other well and gave Holtmann some flexibility to attack matchups in different ways.
Offensive Grade: B
Advanced Offensive Stats
True Shooting Percentage: 54.5% (9th)
Offensive Rebounding Percentage: 1.1% (9th)
Assist Percentage: 14.0% (3rd)
Turnover Percentage: 13.8% (3rd)
Usage Percentage: 21.9% (2nd)
Offensive Rating: 108.6 (7th)
Overall the offensive numbers don’t look too pretty for Savage. It’s never a good thing when the player using the 2nd highest percentage of shots is the least efficient scorer on the team. But it’s important to put an asterisk next to some of these numbers. While most of Butler’s roster got the chance to pad their stats against some weaker competition mixed in with Butler’s nonconference schedule, Kethan Savage was recovering from a shoulder injury and then pneumonia. He either didn’t play in several of these games or was not yet productive as he worked his way back to full strength.
Once Savage finally got going he was a much more effective weapon than the stats might indicate. In conference only games, Savage jumps up to 5th in scoring efficiency. He still struggled from behind the arc, but he was without a doubt the best on the roster at getting into the paint off the dribble and getting to the free throw line. That was a dimension which Butler sorely lacked.
Savage certainly wasn’t free from criticism though. He played point guard because that’s where Butler needed him, but he wasn’t truly a point guard. Kethan did a lot of 1-on-1 (or sometimes more like 1-on-3) dribbling. There was a sharp contrast in team ball movement when he was on the floor compared to Tyler Lewis, a true point guard. Savage probably would have been more effective in a role more similar to Kelan Martin’s, but that’s simply not what Butler needed out of him. It may have frustrated fans at time, but Butler doesn’t get back to the Sweet 16 without him in that role.
Defensive Grade: B
Advanced Defensive Stats
Defensive Rebounding Percentage: 15.3% (3rd)
Steal Percentage: 2.6% (2nd)
Block Percentage: 1.2% (6th)
Defensive Box Plus/Minus: 3.3 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: 101.5 (2nd)
The defensive numbers are excellent for Kethan. Looking at just the numbers a B seems to be severely under-grading Butler’s starting point guard. An argument could be made using them that Savage was Butler’s second best defender. He was 2nd in steals, behind only one of the best thieves in the conference. He was 3rd in rebounding, which is tremendous for a point guard. Both defensive rating and defensive box plus/minus suggest he is an outstanding defender. And he certainly was a solid defender.
But this is a case where the numbers don’t tell the whole story. What they don’t show is that Savage liked to gamble quite a bit on defense. He would frequently reach in for steals on the ball, and while that may have earned him a high steal percentage, it also got him beat frequently. This doesn’t show up in box score numbers, but if we look at +/- numbers there is a huge red flag. Butler gave up more points per possession (1.06) with Kethan Savage in the game than any other rotation player.
To be fair to Kethan, he did frequently get the short end of the stick on matchups (and we’ve already touched on the schedule he faced). When weaker offensive guards were in the game Coach Holtmann frequently turned to Tyler Lewis at the point guard position to give the offense a boost without having to worry about him being overmatched on defense. College stats aren’t yet able to adjust for this (at least the ones publicly available). Still, I’m not quite sure he lived up to his potential on the defensive end.
As discussed with Tyler Lewis, Butler is graduating 100% of their point guard minutes from last season, and there is very little coming in to replace the void. Only transfer Paul Jorgensen is listed as a point guard for next year. The expectation is that Butler will fill the final open scholarship with an immediately eligible point guard, but as of now that search continues. Kamar Baldwin will likely be forced to play some point in 2017-2018. Point guard is without a doubt the biggest question mark heading into next season.
Coming up next in the series will be freshman Sean McDermott. You can vote for his grade on the forums here. You can see the previous report cards linked below: