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‘Value Add’ stat projects Utah’s Delon Wright as having a historic season

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A couple of years ago, John Pudner, a full-time political advisor and part-time college hoops blogger, developed a new statistic to measure how good every player in the country is.

He called the stat ‘Value Add’. For the baseball fans out there, it’s the college basketball answer to WARP. Essentially, Pudner stuffs a bunch of possession-based stats — efficiency rate, usage rate, minutes played, etc. — into an excel spreadsheet which spits out a value that he says will tell you how many more points that specific player created than if all of his possessions were given to an average bench player.

In other words, Value Add is a stat that quantifies how much better a player is than the average sub.

And the numbers he produces are fairly accurate. Last season, UConn’s Shabazz Napier was ranked as the most valuable player in the country with Utah’s Delon Wright not that far behind. UCLA’s Jordan Adams, Sean Kilpatrick of Cincinnati and N.C. State forward T.J. Warren rounded out the top five, while names like Doug McDermott (7th), Russ Smith (13th), Frank Kaminsky (14th), Fred Van Vleet (15th) and Jabari Parker (21st) were ranked high as well.

Pudner has released his preseason projections for the 2014-2015 season — you can browse through them all right here — and Wright is projected as far and away the most valuable player in the country. In fact, Pudner projects Wright to have the highest Value Add rating in the 11 years that he’s been keeping track of the stat.

Wright’s a stud — he averaged 15.3 points, 6.8 boards, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks in 36.4 minutes last season — and while I expect him to be in the conversation for Preseason First Team All-America, it’s important to remember that Utah is going to be much better this season. He’ll have more support which means that the Utes will not be relying on his as heavily as they did last season. His numbers may dip a bit this year.

Van Vleet, Kaminsky and Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell are behind Wright, with Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter and VCU’s Briante Weber also in the top six. Michael Frazier (Florida), Perry Ellis (Kansas), Marcus Paige (North Carolina) and, the most surprising player at the top of these rankings, Jalan West (Northwestern State) round out the top ten.

With stats like this, it’s always interesting to browse through some of the players ranked lower than expected. According to Value Add, Michigan’s Caris LeVert (65th), Iowa State’s Georges Niang (78th), Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield (86th) and Stanford’s Chasson Randle (93rd) are being overrated when in the conversation for preseason all-america teams.

WATCH LIVE: James Madison battles UNC-Wilmington on NBCSN

James Madison guard Shakir Brown, left, drives past Hofstra forward Denton Koon (12) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Harrisonburg, Va., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)
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Two of the top teams in the CAA battle on Saturday afternoon as James Madison travels to UNC-Wilmington. You can catch this matchup live on NBCSN at 3 p.m. EST.

UNC-Wilmington (19-5, 11-2) is currently the class of the conference as they hold a two-game lead over James Madison, William & Mary and Hofstra. The Seahawks have won 10 consecutive games and they’re led by guard Chris Flemmings, who is averaging 16.6 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game.

James Madison (19-7, 9-4) has won three consecutive games as they try to make up ground on UNC-Wilmington. Guard Ron Curry leads the Dukes in points (16.8 ppg) and assists (3.9 apg) as he’s having a very solid season.

These two teams played on Jan. 28 with UNC-Wilmington winning 78-73 on the road.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.

VIDEO: Winthrop’s Keon Johnson goes coast-to-coast for buzzer-beater

Winthrop's Keon Johnson (5) shoots a layup while defended by Coastal Carolina's Warren Gillis during the first half of the Big South Conference Championship college basketball game Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won 81-70. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
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Winthop earned a Big South road win at Radford on Saturday afternoon as junior guard Keon Johnson raced coast-to-coast and buried the game-winner at the buzzer.

The 5-foot-7 Johnson erupted for 32 points in the win and he’s been one of the most potent mid-major scorers in the country this season. The win moves Winthrop to 18-7 on the season and their 10-4 mark in the Big South ties them with UNC Asheville atop the conference standings.

(H/T: LiveonASN)