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Thursday, February 03, 2005
 
Pierce Releases Statement
I don't normally copy and paste a lot, but this one is pretty much all a quotation anyway. From Hawk Central -

Former Iowa Hawkeye Pierre Pierce issued a statement to the media today via his attorney, Alfredo Parrish. Here it is:

“I want to thank my family, friends, teammates and Hawkeye fans who have supported and cheered me for the last three years. Your heart must ache as much as mine.

“I am cooperating with West Des Moines detectives and will continue to do so. Should administrators from the University of Iowa have questions, I am available.

“My girlfriend and I had an argument. However, I vigorously disagree with the media’s portrayal of the incident. At the appropriate time, all of the facts will be disclosed, putting the matter in context. Until then, please respect my privacy and that of my girlfriend.

“I am exploring every available option. This includes appealing my dismissal from the team, litigation, withdrawal from the University, transferring schools for my final year of eligibility, and investigating a professional basketball career. It will be at least two weeks before I make a decision.

“In the interim, I will continue my studies at the University of Iowa and rooting for my Hawkeye teammates.”

Pierce then referred all questions to Parrish.

*** END ***

I originally thought that transferring wasn't an option for Pierce, since he already used his redshirt year. I was under the impression that under NCAA rules, you only have 5 years to use your 4 years of eligibility once you came to school. This is Pierce's fourth year at Iowa (3 playing, 1 redshirt), so the year he sits out to transfer would be his fifth. Maybe I misinterpreted something. I think the pros would be more likely.

I was a little surprised he still wants to go to classes, but I guess I heard he's not too far from his degree. Plus he's got to keep going if he actually does want to appeal the dismissal.

 
Picking Up The Pieces
This Saturday's game against Michigan State will be Iowa's first without leading scorer Pierre Pierce, and his absence will certainly be felt. When a guy averaging 17.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, and 2.5 spg isn't playing, you tend to notice. Can Iowa fill that void? Sean Keeler briefly considered the idea without reaching a conclusion in yesterday's Des Moines Register.

Pierce used 30% of Iowa's possessions in Big Ten play, which is the most of any Big Ten player, so he obviously had a major impact on the team's offense. Will his production be replaceable? Let's examine some numbers from Pierce and his former teammates' seven conference games.

Player..........................MPG......Floor%.......Off Rtg..........%Poss
Pierre Pierce...............38.4.........0.450................94..............30.2%
Jeff Horner..................37.7.........0.461...............110..............17.0%
Greg Brunner..............35.0........0.532...............110..............23.0%
Adam Haluska.............26.0........0.436...............102..............20.1%
Erek Hansen................19.0........0.396.................84.............10.2%
Doug Thomas..............18.0.......0.548...............110..............15.8%
Mike Henderson...........11.9........0.271................56..............11.3%
Carlton Reed................12.4.......0.418..............101..............15.3%
Alex Thompson..............6.1.......0.543...............115.............10.0%
Seth Gorney...................6.0.......0.267.................58................5.8%

Floor percentage is a measure of how many of a player's possessions are scoring possessions.
Offensive rating measures how many points a player produces per 100 individual possessions.
Percent of possessions how many of a team's possessions a player uses while he is in the game.
See the Hawkeye Hoops Stats Glossary for details.

Some context - average offensive rating for the Big Ten games played through last weekend is 105. Field percentage is about 49-50%. Iowa is scoring 102 and allowing 99 points per 100 possessions in Big Ten play.

The first thing that jumps out at me is Pierce's inefficiency. The team's offensive "leader" produced points at a rate (94) less than what the defense allowed (99). His adjFG% of 52% is barely better than the conference average of 51%. Add on his league-leading 5.4 TO/g, and it becomes clear that Pierce's value is due to quantity, not quality. Averaging 18 ppg is not a great achievement if it takes you as many possessions as Pierce uses.

Given the number of players Iowa has who are more efficient at scoring than Pierce, Iowa's offense shouldn't suffer a major drop-off without him. Those players will probably become less efficient as they fill their new larger roles, but I strongly doubt they'll drop to Pierce's level.

The next topic to consider is where the offense will come from. There will be plenty of possessions to spread around, given that Pierce used 30% when he played, and he played over 38 mpg. Take a look at the former starting five with their possessions used -

Player...............%Poss..........Off Rtg
Pierce....................30.................94
Brunner.................23...............110
Haluska.................20...............102
Horner...................17...............110
Hansen..................10................84
Weighted Average..................101

Now let's look at the same table for one possible starting lineup for this Saturday (I used Thomas and Reed because they've been getting more minutes than Hansen and Henderson).

Player...............%Poss..........Off Rtg
Brunner..................23...............110
Haluska..................20...............102
Horner....................17...............110
Thomas..................15...............110
Reed.......................15...............101
Total.......................90

If you weight each of those 5 offensive ratings(i.e., .23 x 110 + .20 x 102, etc), that offense would have an offensive rating of 96, with only 90% of the possessions used. That means that Iowa would only need to score 50 pts/100 poss on the last 10% of poss to match it's current 102 offensive rating (96 + 0.1 x 60 = 102). Of course, this is the optimal offensive lineup, and these five players won't play all the minutes. But I think it's clear that these five should play the most minutes if Iowa wants to maximize its scoring.

The last lineup leaves 10% of the team's possessions to be accounted for when it takes the floor. You could assume that each player will pick up 1/5 of the poss, or an additional 2% of the team total. That would give you -

Player............%Poss
Brunner...............25
Haluska...............22
Horner.................19
Thomas..............17
Reed...................17

I'm a little concerned by some of those numbers. I looked through most of this season's games, noting players' %poss and their corresponding off rtg for each game. For example, against Indiana, Haluska used 23% of team possessions when he played, and finished with an off rtg of 83. Unfortunately, that's not atypical. In all games where Haluska used over 22% of possessions, his off rtg dipped below 100. Which basically means that he's effective when someone can create an open three for him, but loses his effectiveness when he tries to get his own shots. Brunner's numbers make me think he should still be able to score pretty efficiently. Horner, of course, has been maddeningly inconsistent, but I'm as comfortable with him taking more shots as I am with anyone else. It's been a long time since he took over a game, but at least he's shown he can do it against quality teams. Reed played 15 minutes in each of the last two games, and played a bigger role in them than in any previous conference game. As expected, his efficiency dropped.

Carlton Reed.............%Poss..........Off Rtg
Indiana...........................18....................83
N'western......................19....................97

It's a small sample size, but those are the only two games he's used many possessions. Those two games aren't outstanding, but as far as scoring is concerned, he's a better option than Mike Henderson. Henderson's TO/poss rate is actually worse than Pierce's, and that's no easy accomplishment.

Conclusion
Pierre Pierce was clearly the focal point of Iowa's offense through its first seven conference games. Since he scored in such an inefficient fashion, his absence in the offense probably won't be the crisis some are making it out to be. The team going forward will be more balanced and made up of more efficient scorers, so they should be able to pick up the slack from the fallen star.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
 
No More Pierre
The Pierre Pierce situtation got resolved a lot faster than I expected. CollegeSports.com reports that Pierce was permanently removed from the Iowa basketball program today.
"Effective, immediately, Pierre Pierce has been dismissed from the University of Iowa men's basketball team," said [head coach Steve] Alford. "I regret this step has
become necessary, but Pierre has betrayed the trust we placed in him when he was
given a second chance two years ago. Pierre is an excellent basketball player
who will be missed by our team. But, given the circumstances, I feel this is the
only appropriate response."
I'll be posting more on this later today/tonight as soon as I get all my thoughts together.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
 
Police Report Released
The West Des Moines Police Department released a statement Tuesday regarding Pierre Pierce's investigation. It's available at Hawk Central. One interesting line -

The charge of Assault w/ Intent to Commit Injury was changed to Assault w/
Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse. This was due to an error when filing the original
report.

The original report included charges of burglary, criminal mischief, false imprisonment, and assault with intent to commit injury.

Pierce did not practice with the team on Tuesday. He is expected to meet with police detectives to make a full disclosure after his attorney, Alfredo Parrish, returns from his vacation in Colorado.

Monday, January 31, 2005
 
Monday Recap
Here's a summary of what's been released today -

Pierre Pierce is a suspect in a criminal investigation regarding an incident at his ex-girlfriend's apartment that took place late Thursday or early Friday in West Des Moines. The incident report alleges burglary, vandalism, false imprisonment (detaining someone against their will), and assault with intent to cause injury.

Apparently, the woman's laptop computer and digital camera were found at Pierce's residence. He (or anyone else) has not been charged or arrested.

According to Pierce's lawyer Alfredo Parrish, as quoted at Hawk Central -
“[Pierce] believes there was a misunderstanding between himself and this
woman with whom he’s had a relationship for two-and-a-half years. I’ve made
arrangements for him to give a statement to the West Des Moines Police
Department when I get back in town.”

“We don’t want to comment on the incident at all,” Parrish said. “We’re
going to give a full statement and full disclosure. ... I’m sure the factual
details will be disclosed later, but I think the fact they’ve had a 2½-year
relationship should give folks a perspective on what happened.”

Parrish also mentioned that the woman was with Pierce in Iowa City the previous weekend.

More news is on the way tomorrow - the police should have a statement, and charges could be filed.

Links
Hawk Central
Des Moines Register
KCCI
WHO-TV
Cedar Rapids Gazette

 
More Dirt
This one's clearly ancillary to the developing Pierre Pierce story, but KCCI reports that Brody Boyd got pulled over for drunken driving on Friday.
Police said they stopped Brody Boyd in Iowa City after they saw his car
driving in the wrong lane and hitting a curb. Boyd's blood-alcohol level was
more than twice the legal limit, police said. He faces a charge of drunken
driving.


 
Today's Top Story
KCRG reported tonight that Pierre Pierce is a suspect for an alleged burglary and assault after an incident at his ex-girlfriend's residence in West Des Moines on Friday. A search of Pierce's residence revealed the woman's laptop and digital camera. No charges have been filed and no arrests have been made. I'll post more as soon as I see any further reliable facts.

WHO-TV and KCCI have the latest details.

Sunday, January 30, 2005
 
Haluska Injury Update
The word on KCRG this morning was that Adam Haluska sprained his ankle against Indiana, but is expected to be ready for next Saturday's game against Michigan State.

 
Weekend Update
Updated Stats through Saturday's games, conference games only
Stats Glossary

Offense, Points per 100 poss.
Illinois.............123
Mich St...........115
Wisc...............109
NW.................108
Indiana...........104
Iowa...............102
Ohio St...........100
Penn St............99
Mich ................98
Minn.................97
Purdue.............97
Average........105

Defense, Points per 100 poss.
Mich St...........92
Minn...............97
Iowa...............99
Illinois...........100
Ohio St.........101
Mich..............102
Wisc.............102
Indiana.........106
Purdue.........110
NW...............119
Penn St........124
Average.......105

Team adjFG%
NW..............0.572
Illinois..........0.550
Mich St........0.535
Wisc............0.516
Ohio St........0.501
Iowa............0.495
Mich ...........0.490
Indiana.......0.479
Purdue.......0.475
Penn St......0.462
Minn...........0.446
Average....0.502

Opponents' adjFG%
Mich................0.451
Minn...............0.462
Iowa...............0.474
Wisc..............0.479
Indiana...........0.481
Ohio St..........0.484
Mich St..........0.496
Purdue..........0.521
Illinois............0.528
Penn St.........0.566
NW................0.568
Average........0.502

Turnovers / Possessions
Illinois...........0.159
Wisc.............0.182
Ohio St.........0.187
Indiana.........0.209
Mich St.........0.214
NW...............0.215
Minn.............0.216
Iowa.............0.230
Purdue.........0.230
Penn St........0.253
Mich.............0.257
Average......0.213

Opp. TO / poss
Iowa.............0.270
Mich St........0.260
Minn............0.233
Illinois..........0.231
Mich............0.227
Indiana........0.224
NW..............0.216
Purdue........0.191
Ohio St........0.186
Wisc............0.160
Penn St.......0.144
Average.....0.213

Offensive Rebound Rate
Illinois...............0.388
Penn St............0.383
Mich St............0.377
Purdue............0.337
Iowa................0.331
Mich................0.326
Indiana............0.324
Minn................0.298
Wisc................0.291
Ohio St...........0.245
NW.................0.236
Average.........0.321

Opp Off Reb Rate (1 - def reb rate)
Mich St................0.257
Ohio St................0.264
Wisc....................0.268
Minn.....................0.287
Illinois..................0.294
Penn St..............0.317
Purdue...............0.349
Indiana...............0.355
Iowa...................0.369
Mich...................0.388
NW....................0.406
Average............0.321

FTA / FGA
Indiana.............0.466
Minn.................0.419
Wisc.................0.399
Penn St............0.390
NW...................0.389
Iowa.................0.386
Mich St............0.369
Purdue............0.348
Mich................0.327
Illinois..............0.316
Ohio St............0.247
Average..........0.368

Opp FTA / FGA
Penn St...........0.214
Illinois..............0.253
Wisc...............0.318
Ohio St...........0.345
NW.................0.357
Iowa...............0.396
Indiana..........0.413
Minn..............0.414
Purdue..........0.454
Mich .............0.477
Mich St..........0.487
Average........0.368



Enjoy. Let me know if you spot any glaring errors.



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