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Tom Schreiber is Princeton's Offense

This is Tom Schreiber.  His talents are magical.  via <a href=""></a>
This is Tom Schreiber. His talents are magical. via

If I asked you to name the most dangerous offensive players in the college game right now, how long would it take you to get to a Princeton Tiger?

Would it take 15 guys to get to a Princetonian?  20?  Never?   

(I would've guessed never.)

What if I told you that there are only eight guys that are racking up points at a more efficient pace than a Princeton Tiger?  And what if I told you that the Princeton Tiger was a freshman running from the midfield? And what if I also told you that he's basically putting the entire offense on his back?

(I would've guess that you were a lying sack lies.)

Well, it's all true.  Tom Schreiber, who actually missed the Tigers' game against Pennsylvania due to a bite from injury monster, is currently ranked eighth in Total Offensive Value.*  This flies in the face of what I had to say about Princeton's offense just a few weeks ago:

When push comes to shove, this isn't the Princeton of old.  There's no Hubbard.  No Sims.  No Hess, Prager, Trombino, Boyle, and on and on and on.  The guys that could turn a three-goal deficit into a two-goal lead just aren't there for the Tigers this year.  Right now, it's Tom Schreiber, Forest Sonnenfeldt, Chris McBride, and Jeff Froccaro just trying to piece something together for Princeton's offense.

Way to go, idiot.

For reference purposes, here's the nation's full top-20^:

R. Pannell Cornell 30 31 61 15.68 389
S. Perri Drexel 30 23 53 14.32 370
J. Boltus Army 23 35 58 13.65 425
K. Crowley Stony Brook 24 18 42 12.35 340
T. Moore Robert Morris 41 10 51 12.09 422
N. Galasso N. Carolina 22 29 51 11.28 452
M. Matthews Denver 29 17 46 11.25 409
K. Cunningham Villanova 21 16 37 10.98 337
T. Schreiber Princeton 14 13 27 10.51 257
C. Isdaner Wagner 21 11 32 10.49 305
P. Baum Colgate 31 10 41 10.46 392
C. Rice Marist 17 18 35 9.92 353
S. Sturgis Penn State 16 15 31 9.84 315
L. Schuss Ohio State 28 15 43 8.92 438
B. Schmidt Mt. St. Mary's 24 13 37 9.81 377
A. Demopoulos Denver 21 19 40 9.78 409
T. Hull Navy 23 15 38 9.77 389
C. Zindel Marist 18 16 34 9.63 353
K. Williams St. Joseph's 16 8 24 9.56 251
R. Church Drexel 20 15 35 9.46 370

* = Total Offensive Value measures points per offensive possession.  This differs from points per game.  Schreiber is actually ranked 33rd in points per game.

^ = The top-20 is current through games played April 17, 2011.

O/P~ = This is total offensive possessions.

Let's discuss Schreiber a little more after the jump.

This is where the tempo-free approach really shines.  On a per-game basis, Schreiber is notable but not considered in the first-cut of prime offensive producers.  On a tempo-free basis -- eliminating all that aggregation of opportunity noise inherit in tempo-included stats -- Schreiber is seen as a guy that, when Princeton actually has the ball in an offensive possession, is incredibly dangerous and generating points.

Let's compare Schreiber to another guy -- Steele Stanwick.  Now, Stanwick is a handful, one of the nation's most-feared guys with the ball his stick.  On a points per game basis, Stanwick is seventh nationally at 4.00 per game. On a possession basis, Stanwick clocks in at only 22nd nationally. 

The question, therefore, is why guys like Stanwick and Schreiber drop or rise depending on which metric you examine.  Here's some bullet-point thoughts:

  • The reason that Stanwick has a higher points per game total than Schreiber is that Virginia has generated 211 more offensive possessions this year than Princeton.  When you break that down by offensive possessions per 60 minutes, the Cavaliers have been getting about 13.5 more offensive possessions per game than Princeton.  The takeaway here is that Stanwick has had more opportunities to generate points than Schreiber, which is why Stanwick has been able to aggregate more points per game than Schreiber.  This is not necessarily a benefit from greater skill, but a comparison of a team's style and how players have benefitted from playing in that style.  Stanwick has cashes in on a bunch of opportunities, but Schreiber cashes in on a greater proportion of his team's offensive possessions.
  • Knowing that Virginia is getting more offensive possessions per game than Princeton, the question becomes "Who has been more productive each time a player's respective team has had an offensive possession?"  Here, Schreiber comes out on top.  For every 100 offensive possessions Princeton will have, Schreiber will generate about 10.5 points.  Stanwick, contrastingly, will only generate about 9.4 points.  On pure production alone, Schreiber has been more efficient scoring points than Stanwick has when each player's respective team has had possession of the bean.

Now, this isn't to say that Schreiber is a better player than Stanwick.  It also isn't saying that Stanwick isn't great. There are lots of factors in this, including the fact that Stanwick has to share the ball with tons of other great offensive players. 

The point of this all, I guess, is that Tom Schreiber is taking care of business whenever Princeton has the ball despite the fact that a) Princeton doesn't score a lot of beans in their games, and b) Princeton rarely has the ball in an offensive possession.  He deserves offensive recognition, even if his team is somewhat offensively limited.