Junior Cadougan has been an integral part of back-to-back Sweet 16 teams. He has started 58 of Marquette’s 60 games the past two seasons and led the Golden Eagles to 44 wins in that time frame. His field goal and free-throw percentages are both up five points and he is scoring over two more points per game this year.
Despite all those positives, there is no denying that Cadougan has struggled at times in his career, and his consistency has fluctuated, even this his senior year. If you ask Buzz Williams about Cadougan he will gush for hours on end about his toughness, tenacity and will to win; the way he overcomes obstacles and how he does it is one of his favorite players ever.
Again, that is all well and true, but it does not deny the fact that Cadougan has committed a turnover in all but two games this season, including 11 games with three or more giveaways. He’s averaging 2.5 turnovers per game, only .1 less than last season and 3.33 in Marquette’s losses.
That last number is the key, though. The Warriors are a much better team when Cadougan is taking care of the ball. The only way Marquette hits is ceiling is if it can get tho most effective and efficient production from its starting point guard.
As such, I decided to look back at his turnovers and see where he is struggling the most. The good news is Junior is taking much better care of the ball in Big East play than he was earlier in the year. He finished the non-conference portion of the schedule averaging 2.83 turnovers a game but has cut that down to 2.23 turnovers in conference play.
While that number may still be a tad high, it is trending in the right direction. KenPom also shows that Cadougan’s turnover rate is down from 29.1 last year to 26.0 this season, meaning he’s turning it over 3 percent less per possession.
The bad news is Marquette has very little room for error at the point guard spot. While Derrick Wilson has cut down on his fouling and continues to play solid to good defense, his offensive game is nonexistent, scoring seven points in 13 Big East games. He does protect the ball well and has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team, but this offensively challenged Marquette team needs more than a simple game manager at the point.
So far this year, Cadougan has committed 63 turnovers. I dove into the Synergy database and tracked each one of them trying to find some insight into where he was struggling the most. The results are plotted below. (It should be noted that there are not 63 triangles, as Synergy didn’t have video for all of them.)
The biggest takeaway is that a majority of the turnovers are coming on the right side of the court when Junior is facing the basket. (Seven of the nine backcourt turnovers also occurred on the right side of the court.) Cadougan is a right handed shooter and mostly drives to his right, so this seems to show that defenses have read the scouting report on him and can anticipate where exactly he wants to go.
At this point I was curious to see how many of these turnovers were forced due to an expiring shot clock, as it’s not fair to lump in boneheaded plays with desperation drives.
The research shows that only six turnovers were committed with less than 10 seconds left on the shot clock, with two more coming at the end of a half. Of those six, four came in or near the paint.
As a whole, I was surprised to find the average Cadougan turnover comes with 19.9 seconds remaining on the shot clock. This shows Junior is committing too many unforced errors. It’s one thing to be stripped in a desperation drive, it’s another to get picked off early in the possession and with relatively little pressure.
That led to the next analysis, what kind of turnovers was he producing.
From the chart above you can see that almost 50 percent of his turnovers were either bad passes or traveling violations. The number is actually 51% if you include the two missed alley-oops to Vander Blue, but after seeing the tape the passes weren’t bad and it was simply a timing or ball handling issue.
There is no easy answer to Cadougan’s turnover woes. His dribble is a bit high and he favors his right hand too much, but that’s not something that will change in the next month.
This analysis is not meant to devalue Cadougan or what he means to the team. On the contrary, I was simply curious as to what patterns may lie behind the numbers. As I said before, this team is at its best when Cadougan is on his game both distributing and scoring.
If he can become a bit less predictable in his drives and not force tough entry passes early in the possession, he can once again put this team in a position to be playing in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.