Watching BYU hoops, it is evident that Elijah Bryant and Yoeli Childs shoulder the offensive burden this season. Childs and Bryant are second and third in West Coast Conference scoring, respectively. San Diego is the only other team that has two players in the top ten of scoring.
Compared to previous Cougar seasons, how abnormal is this performance? For this, I will be comparing the top two scorers, as individuals and as a unit, as well as looking at the support provided by the third leading scorer. I went back to the 2007‑2008 season, which is as far back as NCAA.com maintains stats for a full BYU roster.
So, how do Bryant and Childs stack up against other iconic BYU duos?
Among the top two scorers in the past 10 seasons for BYU, Childs and Bryant carry the third largest offensive load, scoring 47.03% of all offensive points. The tandem that finished just ahead of them is Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery, at 50.79% in 2010-2011 (not to be confused with the 2009-2010 season when the Fredette/Emery combo lead the team with only 41.57% of the scoring total). Of course, that number is a bit skewed due to the fact that Jimmer averaged nearly 30 ppg. (Moment of silence in respect of Jimmer’s silence).
The number one scoring duo is Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies, accounting for 51.02% of the points scored in 2012-2013.
How does BYU’s third option, TJ Haws, stack up historically?
One of the knocks on BYU this year is the lack of a solid third scoring threat. However, Childs and Bryant are average in terms of support from their number three option. Over the past ten seasons, the third leading scorer has provided an average of 15.45% of the offense, and this season TJ Haws has produced 14.61% of the points. This equates to .64 points per game, or 12 more points over the season so far. The three seasons that had less support were the seasons from 2009-2012. Fredette and Emery received support of 12.27% (2009-2010) and 10.72% (2010-2011, the lowest over the timeframe). Noah Hartsock and Brandon Davies received the third least support (14.08%) in the 2012-2013 season. In case you were wondering, the most support came in 2008-2009 when Lee Cummard and Jimmer Fredette had a partner who scored 20.32% of the season’s points (only 1.54% lower than Cummard’s team leading 21.86%). Talk about a three-headed beast of an offense.
Bryant’s and Childs’ uniqueness
There is one aspect that the Childs/Bryant duo does stick out: the balance of scoring between the two. No other combo has maintained a balance quite like them. Childs and Bryant are only separated by only 0.27% of the team’s total. While the next closest duo (Cummard/Fredette in 2008-2009) were separated by 0.8%, the average over the past 10 seasons is 7.17% of the total. This equates to a difference of about 6 points per game. Childs and Bryant are separated by only 0.2 points per game.
This balance leads to some other notable ranks amongst the recent leading scorers. At 23.65%, Childs is the fourth lowest scoring leading scorer. Only Hartsock (21.59%), Chase Fischer (21.76%), and Cummard (21.86%) scored a lower percentage of their team’s total.
On the flipside, Bryant is the strongest second scorer of the decade. His 23.38% outpaces a 2008-2009 Jimmer (21.06%) and 2012-2013 Davies (22.93%) and a solid 4.7% more than the average second scorer.
What does this mean for this season (and more importantly the postseason)? Absolutely nothing. There is no correlation between any of these trends and postseason success. Duos that dominate the scoring have made the NCAA tournament and been relegated to the NIT. The same can be said for those that did not. The success of a third scorer and the balance between the scorers had similar non-existent effects on postseason play.
Other remarkable notes:
In 2010-11, Jimmer scored 35.45% of BYU’s points. That’s only 24 fewer points than the combos of Cummard/Fredette in 2008-2009 and 36 fewer points than Hartsock/Davies in 2011-2012.
4 players appear on the list multiple times: Tyler Haws (#1 scorer 3 times), Jimmer (#1 twice, #2 once), Jackson Emery (#2 twice), and Brandon Davies (#2 twice).
Jimmer and Jackson Emery are the only duo to lead the team more than once (2009-2011)