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One Stat That No One Wants To Lead In

Turnovers. No one wants to lead in turnovers.

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North Carolina v Duke
DURHAM, NC - MARCH 03: Trevon Duval #1 of the Duke Blue Devils goes after a loose ball against Joel Berry II #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on M
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Turnovers are like fouls and missed free throws – nobody wants them unless it’s a last-gasp, go-for-broke gamble. Coaches routinely preach about cutting down turnovers, since each lost possession has a deleterious effect.

There can be many mitigating factors where turnovers are concerned.

For one thing, the faster the tempo, the more possessions are created. The more possessions, the greater the possibility of committing turnovers in forcing or maintaining the pace. Yet it’s interesting to note that North Carolina, where coach Roy Williams love to push the ball, didn’t have anyone among the decade’s top 15 in turnovers.

Offensive creators, particularly those who attack via dribble, also tend to commit inordinate numbers of turnovers. These high-risk, high-reward players usually offset lost possessions with the volume of points they produce. Of the players with the 15 highest TO totals in this decade, eight paced their teams in scoring.

Being a freshman, exposed for the first time to the intensity and speed of play and level of talent at the college level, often has an adverse effect on ballhandling efficiency. Four of the top 15 in turnovers since 2011 were freshmen, including Duke’s Trevon Duval in 2018.

To his credit Duval, along with NC State junior Lorenzo Brown in 2013, were the only miscue masters to offset their ballhandling mistakes with two assists for every turnover.

As the Wolfpack transitioned from Sidney Lowe’s careful tutelage to Mark Gottfried’s more aggressive offensive style in 2012, Brown had an impressive 1.98:1 ratio of assists to turnovers. But he also committed a turnover every 5.4 minutes played, easily the worst among the decade’s prolific fumblers.

Finally, it’s worth noting that two of the decade’s five most profligate turnover suppliers played last season and remain active in 2018-19. Syracuse senior Frank Howard led the way with 126 turnovers. BC’s Ky Bowman, a junior and the current team’s top returning scorer, was fifth during the twenty-teens at 112. Neither managed 1.5 assists per turnovers.

Most Turnovers in Season Since 2011
(Asterisk Indicates Team’s Leading Scorer)
TO Player, School Asts Year A:TO Minutes
Per TO
126 Frank Howard, SU, jr 175 2018 1.39 11.3
118 Lorenzo Brown, NS, so 234 2012 1.98 5.4
118 Nolan Smith, D, sr* 189 2011 1.60 10.67
114 Lorenzo Brown, NS, jr 239 2013 2.1 9.9
112 Ky Bowman, BC, so 165 2018 1.47 11.9
108 Xavier Rathan-Mayes, FS, fr* 115 2015 1.06 10.28
108 Dez Wells, M, so* 113 2013 1.05 10.06
107 Dennis Smith, NS, fr* 197 2017 1.84 10.41
107 Eli Carter, BC, gr* 125 2016 1.17 9.96
106 Bryant Crawford, WF, fr 133 2016 1.25 9.0
105 Michael Gbinije, SU, sr* 160 2016 1.52 13.4
103 Malcolm Delaney, VT, sr* 137 2011 1.33 12.6
102 Trevon Duval, D, fr 207 2018 2.03 10.81
102 Jerome Robinson, BC, so* 108 2017 1.06 10.68
102 Seth Allen, VT, jr 88 2016 -.86 10.4
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