In this year’s The Wisdom of Crowds series, our assignment is to figure out how Coach Wright will replace 56% of last season’s offense produced by departed players Corey Stokes, Corey Fisher and Antonio Pena. In today’s post we focus on James Bell. Use the voting buttons, below, to predict the points per game you think James will score this year and the comment section to explain your thinking. To help you come up with your prediction, we have provided his freshman stats as a Wildcat, a "third party expert" player assessment, and a 2010-11 highlight video below.
Note: While we did not see much of James last season, we did have an opportunity to gauge his progress over the summer in two tournaments – the FIBA U19 World Championships in July and the Euro Jam in August. Here’s a recap of his play.
2011 FIBA U19 World Championships
Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn Recap: "James Bell, Villanova (16.1 mpg, 3.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg): Earned his way into the starting lineup for all nine games due to [Coach] Hewitt's belief that Bell was the best on-ball defender on the roster. The U.S. failure to put Bell on Russian star Dmitry Kulagin -- who lit them up for 14 first-quarter points -- may have doomed their chances for gold." Editor’s Note: Bell’s finest game in the FIBA U19 came on our nation’s 235th birthday, leading Team USA with a convincing win over Canada 83-54. Bell scored a team high 16 points in 20 minutes of play, shooting 6-9 from the field including 4-of-6 beyond the arc along with eight rebounds and no turnovers.
Euro Jam Offensive Stats -- James Bell
Player Assessment By Rivals.com
"Bell is expected to eventually have a full recovery from last year's surgery to insert rods in both his legs. Last seasaon, he wasn’t at 100%, but is working towards it.
Strengths: Plays with confidence and aggression despite his youth and lack of Big East level experience. Showed the ability to get hot from beyond the arc. Also showed how his athleticism and strength can be a difference-maker on the glass, flying above the rim and on defense. Mentally tough. Decent passer. Capable rebounder.
Weaknesses: Doesn't appear quick laterally. Part of that may have been due to being out of playing shape while recovering from surgery. Inconsistent shooting. A bit mechanical on defense.
Summer School: Shooting and ball handling drills. Drills to increase explosiveness from a first-step perspective may help Bell to become more effective defensively and off the dribble. He has strength and very good leaping ability but could use a quicker first-step. Needs to use his feet more effectively on defense.
What next: Though he didn't get a ton of playing time, he did learn the system and his way around campus. Those things give him the early edge in the battle for minutes at the wing positions."
Highlight Video (low quality)