There are many reasons to be excited about Brad Underwood coming onboard at Oklahoma State. His dominance of the Southland Conference (53-1) and overall record (89-14) put him in elite company, despite the justifiably weak competition he achieved it against.
However, a closer look under the hood shows something very interesting — Brad Underwood-coached teams are incredibly efficient on offense.
Underwood’s 3 seasons at Stephen F. Austin were eye-opening for many reasons, his squads’ ruthless efficiency and unselfishness jump off the page. Consider the following — yearly, Stephen F. Austin posted the following Offensive Rating (O%, or points per 100 possessions)
2013-2014: 115.2 (15th in NCAA)
2014-2015: 115.2 (13th in NCAA)
2015-2016: You guessed it. 115.2 (13th in NCAA)
You cannot possibly ask for more consistency on offense from Brad Underwood’s teams! They take good shots, move the ball (more on this in a moment) and most importantly, make it rain (tied for 22nd in FG Percentage this year.) Now, let’s take a look at Travis Ford’s Oklahoma State squads the past 3 years, in Offensive Rating:
2013-2014: 112.8 (40th in NCAA)
2014-2015: 103.6.2 (152nd in NCAA)
2015-2016: 101.2 (250th in NCAA)
Oh. Once No. 33 left Stillwater, this team has been horrendously inefficient. Even further, they have been selfish — check out these Assist % numbers (percentage of field goals that were assisted) from the same three years:
2013-2014: 51.7% (177th in NCAA)
2014-2015: 49.9%.2 (249th in NCAA)
2015-2016: 53.8% (139th in NCAA)
Shield your eyes, folks. That is horrendous. You probably know where I’m going next, but let’s take a look at Stephen F. Austin’s Assist % numbers.
Stephen F. Austin
2013-2014: 62.3% (13th in NCAA)
2014-2015: 65.4% (4th in NCAA)
2015-2016: 65.3% (4th in NCAA)
Quite the stark difference. Brad Underwood’s motion system of one big and four guards/wings spreads the floor and opens up driving lanes. Shooters and ball movement, which Underwood has already stressed upmost importance, combine to result in those impressive Offensive Rating and Assist % you see above.
This dribble-drive approach served the Lumberjacks very well the last 3 years, and as the West Virginia game showed, is translatable against even the most ferocious Big 12 defenses.
All in all, Brad Underwood brings many things to the table, but a stark difference between an Underwood squad and Ford squad is the unselfishness on offense. Gone are the days of wait 25 seconds then run in and throw up a wild shot.
Superior preparation and a plethora of UCLA cuts, off-the-ball screens, pick and pops with the bigs will be a breath of fresh air for Cowboy fans (not to mention, happen to play extremely well with the expected backcourt of Jawun Evans, Phil Forte, Tavarious Shine, Jeffrey Carroll, and newcomers Lindy Waters III and Thomas Dziagwa.
It will take Underwood several years to bring in his players, but the effects of his coaching will be felt in year one of the Underwood era in Stillwater.