Kevin Pangos was on the preseason Wooden Award list, along with 49 other players. If you went through most major websites detailing their picks for who would end up as an All American, Pangos was conspicuously absent. This isn't just the first team either, but also missing from the second and third teams as well.
This isn't necessarily a knock on anyone or anything. There are a lot of stellar guards in college basketball, and when making the All American lists, you don't get to pick too many of them. Still, through the beginning of the season, it looks like all the writers out there missed out on the Pangos boat, because he has been playing the best basketball in the nation.
Let's take a pull out of all the guards from SB Nation's preseason All American lists.
|Marcus Paige||North Carolina||junior|
|Fred Van Vleet||Wichita State||junior|
|Juwan Staten||West Virginia||senior|
|Ron Baker||Wichita State||junior|
The first thing to take notice of, and probably the reason why Pangos is absent, is that these were all great guards last year. Only Wright didn't see time in the NCAA Tournament last season, but his outputs didn't go unnoticed as he has the benefit of playing in a major conference. Pangos wasn't really that great last year, and it looks like the complaints of the turf toe really were the cause. Now, a fully healthy Pangos is rampaging. But let's also give some credit to Pangos here as well. Turf toe isn't causing him to pass the ball more and turn the ball over less. Pangos has put in the hard work to be up there with best guards in the country.
So far, on the offensive end, the statistics back it up. Pangos is rated the fourth highest player in the country according to Ken Pomeroy's offensive ratings. The rest of the crew isn't anywhere near him.
|Fred Van Vleet||103.7|
The interesting thing about it all, and what might be a knock against Pangos, is that he isn't nearly as involved in the offense this year as he has been in previous years. The percentage of possessions, or an estimation of how often the ball passes through his hands, is the lowest it has been his entire collegiate career. That isn't a knock against Pangos either. This year, the Zags haven't needed the ball to run through Pangos' hand on every play because they have so many options.
|player||%Poss||eFG%||Assist Rate||TO Rate|
|Fred Van Vleet||18.7||38.6||18.0||9.3|
A couple of things stand out immediately. First off, Pangos' effective field goal rate is through the roof. Second off, despite seeing the ball the least out of everyone, Pangos' contributions to the offense shine through the highest. His 6.3 assists per game is the best mark of his career. Combine that with his overall reluctance to turn the ball over, and you have one of the more consistent point guards in the country.
That consistency will be the key in keeping Pangos in the All American conversation throughout the entire year. Pangos' play right now has been out of his world, and to a certain extent you have to expect a slight regression back to the mean. His assist numbers are real this year, and I would expect Pangos to finish the year averaging more than five assists per game.
The shooting percentage will definitely come down. Right now, there are only 14 guards in college that have taken at least 39 field goal attempts and have an effective field-goal percentage of .700 or higher. Last season, senior Karvel Anderson from Robert Morris led all guards with an eFG% of .633. Only three guards finished the year with an eFG% greater than .600. At some point, throughout the season, Pangos' shooting numbers should come back down to Earth.
Even expecting a slight down tick in his offensive contributions, Pangos has a great chance to end the season as an All American. Right now, he is playing as one of the best and he might finally get the national accolades that he deserves.