Treveon Graham’s rapid development has helped mold VCU into a contender for an Atlantic 10 championship and is making Shaka Smart (who all but predicted this) look clairvoyant. In short order, the sophomore from Washington, D.C. has become the Rams’ best scorer and a rugged rebounder. At 16.1 points per game, Graham ranks seventh in the A-10 in scoring, the only underclassman in the top nine.
So, nobody’s disputing that Graham has been good – very good – this season. But I would argue that what you’ve seen through 22 games this season has been historically significant. Prior to this season, just eight VCU sophomores had averaged 15.0 points per game, and none since Dom Jones in 2001-02.
In VCU’s infancy in the 70s and 80s, the Rams churned out an impact sophomore every year or so, from Charles Wilkins to Gerald Henderson to Ren Watson to Calvin Duncan. But somewhere along the way, either VCU or college basketball (or both) changed. Sure, there were solid contributors as sophomores, but the truly elite, impact second-year players became pretty rare.
Below are arguably the best VCU sophomore seasons of the last 30 years (beginning in 1983-84), ranked by their efficiency rating (equation below). The efficiency rating isn’t perfect, but it’s a useful metric. Understand, it’s an efficiency rating, it’s not necessarily a judge of which player was more important or even who was better. However, after pouring over the statistics, I’m of the opinion that no matter what method you use to measure performance, the list would remain pretty close to this.
The math: [(Points + Rebounds + Assists + Blocks + Steals) – ((FG Attempts – FG Made) + (Free Throw Attempts – Free Throws Made) + Turnovers] / games played.