Of the national media attention the Virginia Cavaliers basketball program has received in 2018, there have been two main stars. Isaiah Wilkins was recently hailed as “the most irreplaceable player in the country” by Kerry Miller of The Athletic, and you won’t be able to watch a UVA game without hearing Wilkins referred to as a “glue guy” at least a dozen times. The other? Kyle Guy, of course, and the saga of the dearly departed man bun.
One name you won’t hear as much is Devon Hall’s. But where voices are silent, numbers are loud. And the numbers are shouting Hall’s praises.
Bart Torvik is a stats guru who runs a site similar to the KenPom mecca every Virginia fan has bookmarked. Torvik’s site has some interesting developments beyond what KenPom shows, including a player metric Torvik calls PORPAGATU!—Points Over Replacement Per Adjusted Game At That Usage, “with an exclamation point for emphasis.”
PORPAGATU! shows a player’s contribution to his team much the way VORP or WAR do in baseball: not just the numbers the player puts up, but the difference between that player and the average guy in Division I. One of the nuances of college basketball that PORPAGATU! accounts for is that low-usage players generally post higher efficiency ratings than high-usage players. Torvik has also adjusted the metric to factor in pace fluctuations each season.
Torvik’s stats go back to 2008. And in the last decade of Virginia basketball, Devon Hall in 2018 is putting up the third-highest PORPAGATU! of any Cavalier season.
Malcolm Brogdon’s all-everything 2016 season is, by a wide margin, the top spot. (And note that three of the top four individual seasons were all 2016; thanks a lot, Syracuse.) The only pre-Bennett season is Sean Singletary’s electric 2008, after J.R. Reynolds left and when Mike Scott was only a freshman.
You can get a sense of Hall’s place in this era by charting usage vs. offensive rating—two of the elements of PORPAGTU!
Only five players the last decade have had a usage over 20% and an offensive rating at or above 120:
- Devon Hall (2018): 21.2 usage, 125 offensive rating
- Malcolm Brogdon (2016): 26.8 usage, 120 offensive rating
- Anthony Gill (2016): 24 usage, 122.6 offensive rating
- Justin Anderson (2015): 22 usage, 120.5 offensive rating
- Anthony Gill (2015): 25 usage, 122.3 offensive rating
Hall’s 125 offensive rating in 2018 is also the fourth-highest among all UVA players of the past ten years, behind Laurynas Mikalauskas in 2008 (125.2), Doug Browman in 2012 (127.2), and—holding a Cavalier record unlikely to be broken—Austin Nichols, who departed UVA with both a career and single-game offensive rating of 133.3.
So next game, while Kyle and Ty make it rain from three, while Deandre and Mamadi bring the roof down with thunderous dunks, and while Jack and Isaiah swat shots into the cheap seats, don’t miss the chance to marvel at the quiet, ruthless efficiency of Devon Hall.