Sophomore guard Curtis Haywood II could be in for a big season as Georgia Tech looks to replace three of their top scorers from a year ago.
Curtis Haywood II last season put together a decent freshman campaign that saw him play in 15 games but missed the last part of the season with a stress-related injury in his leg. That being said if you break down Haywood’s season into his first eight games and then his last seven-game stretch. You can see both the good, the bad, and all the correlations between.
First eight games:
In Haywood’s first eight games, the Oklahoma native started seven games for the Yellow Jackets and played an average of 29.1 minutes per game, a major difference from the 18.7 minutes he would average over the last seven games. That being said, over his first eight games, Haywood was a major contributor to the Yellow Jackets offense. In those first eight games, Haywood averaged 8.3 points per game and 3.5 assists per game. Solid contributions from a true freshman. Haywood in this eight-game stretch had four games including three in a row in which he had double-digit points. Where Haywood may have been most impressive was on the boards where he averaged 4.1 rebounds per game.
In this eight-game stretch, Haywood shot rather well with a shooting percentage line of .463/.480/.813. Solid shooting numbers no matter who the shooter is.
Last seven games:
In Haywood’s first eight games, we see that with a solid chunk of minutes roughly 72% of all total minutes, Haywood was an effective and efficient player. That being said, in Haywood’s final seven games last season, he saw a cut in playing time. Part of this in fairness was because of the return of Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie. Nevertheless, Haywood averaged 18.7 minutes per game and with the minute cut saw a dramatic drop in his production. He ended up averaging just under three shots per game, dropping his points per game to from 8.3 to 2.0. He also saw a drop in his rebounds and assist averaging just 1.9 total rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.
As you can see above, when Haywood was presented with a strong amount of minutes, he was able to produce at a rather quality level. His first eight games are nothing to scoff at and it shows how the quality of a player Haywood could be down the road.
The advanced statistics back up Haywood’s production level as he had an offensive rating of 111.3, which was tied for the highest offensive rating on the team last season with Josh Okogie. What makes the offensive rating even more impressive is that Haywood had a usage rate of just 12.5% last season, the lowest among any Yellow Jacket last season.
In terms of Haywood being efficient, Haywood last season had the second-highest true shooting percentage .567 and the third-highest effective field-goal percentage of .524. His performance efficiency rating was the seventh best on the team with a PER of 12.1 which considering the number of games played is a strong mark. Defensively, Haywood has room to improve with a defensive rating 105.1, which was among the highest on the team last season.
What to expect in 2018-19:
In 2018-19, Haywood should see a step up in minutes played and therefore production. Early on, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Haywood average 25-30 minutes per game at the least but could also see above 30 minutes. He should be a starter for the Yellow Jackets if they choose to go with a veteran presence over Michael Devoe as a starter. Haywood for the Yellow Jackets offensively will be one of their top three-point threats. Last season, Haywood shot 37% from beyond the arch and took nearly 75% of his shots from beyond the arch. While the percentage of shots from three-point range will probably fall a bit, Haywood should see a rise in his shooting percentage and overall point production as he works more into mid-range and short-range shots.
Haywood will also be an asset when he’s not taking the shot as he had the second highest assist percentage of any Yellow Jacket last season, only behind Jose Alvarado. His ability to bring down rebounds will also be much-needed for the Jackets this season after losing a few key rebounders in Ben Lammers, Tadric Jackson, and Josh Okogie.
Overall, Haywood should take a step forward in all areas as he looks to become a better all-around player in 2018-19. For a team that will need to find players to replace three quality scorers in Lammers, Jackson, and Okogie, the true sophomore could be in for a big season for the Yellow Jackets.