Tyler Kolek is even better than you thought

(Photo by Anthony Giacomino/Paint Touches)

Big East Player of the Year.

Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

Consensus All-American.

Tyler Kolek has no shortage of accolades for his remarkable 2023 campaign, and pretty much anyone with eyes can tell you that he was amazing. But it always bugged me a bit that some of his contributions were going uncounted in traditional box score methods, as well as some of the more advanced stat numbers like ORtg and Assist Rate.

For example, how many times this season had he dropped a dime to Oso Ighodaro or OMax near the rim, only for them to get fouled in the act of shooting without making a bucket, and thus remove Kolek’s fingerprints from the record. There wasn’t any real way to count up the points he helped create that didn’t end up in the box score.

Until now, that is.

Synergy updated it’s platform to account for a stat they call “Points Created” that, in their words will “take into account points, points from assists, and points from secondary assists. This provides a more complete picture of a player’s contribution to team scoring.” Whoa!

I had to dive right in and watch a few of the examples they had, and sure enough, it’s even counting points from passes that lead to free throw points, not just field goals. It’s a gamechanger.

Kolek vs the Big East

Taking just Big East players in the 2023 season, I manually pulled all of the points created numbers and then subtracted their points scored this season to identify how many points any individual player had created simply from passes.

You already knew Tyler Kolek would show well here, but the actual results blew away my expectations.

This is a perfect visual to explain why Kolek was the BEPoY in 2023. There was simply no one even remotely close to his level in terms of creating offense, once you take the assists and secondary assists into the equation.

On a per game basis, his 20.2 passing points created per game were 4.9 points better than the 2nd best player (Primo Spears), and over 500% higher than the average Big East player. This is just an absurd difference.

I know that’s a lot of numbers in a short amount of time, but let’s marvel at the fact that in basically every game he played last season, Kolek added 20+ points of offense from his passes. We’ve been on board since pretty much the first month, but it never hurts to step back and realize how special a player he really is.

Marquette History

Of course, once I whet my whistle I couldn’t stop with modern day comparisons. I went ahead and created a database with all Marquette players since 2009 to add further context. The results don’t disappoint.

In terms of raw totals, only Markus Howard’s 2019 and Andrew Rowsey’s 2018 seasons topped Kolek’s 1,192 this past season. We are talking about two uber-elite shooters who each had usage rates well into the 30s those seasons.

And of course, neither has come close to providing the point creation from passes. Kolek has put up the best 2 seasons from passing points created since 2009, and I’d wager would stack highly just about any year in Marquette history.

This is probably the Tweet that has aged the best of the 47K+ so far. Check the date.

Obviously it doesn’t take fancy new metrics to tell us Kolek is good at passing. What these kinds of stats do is help quantify why those of us who have watched him game after game for the past two seasons can’t shut up about him. He’s a historic player putting up insane numbers.

Put another way, Marquette has only had 2 instances of a player averaging over 15 passing points per game.

Both are Kolek’s.

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Categories: Analysis, Synergy


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