Now that the dust has settled, it appears Fred Hoiberg is bringing in 11 new players for his first season as Nebraska’s head coach.
Five of those players have already played at the Division I level, giving us a better idea of what they’re going to bring to the program as opposed to the players coming out of high school or junior college (or out of France, in Yvan Ouedraogo’s case). With that in mind, Hail Varsity is going to take a look at each of those newcomers through the prism of their statistical profile courtesy of SynergySports Technology.
So far, we’ve broken down the strengths and weaknesses of the three transfers who will have eligibility for this season — Shamiel Stevenson, Matej Kavas and Haanif Cheatham. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the guys who will be sitting out this season, starting with Western Kentucky transfer Dalano Banton.
Banton, a 6-foot-8, 195-pound guard who hails from Canada, spent one up-and-down year as a Hilltopper before entering the transfer portal and choosing Nebraska. The former 4-star recruit appeared in 31 games with 12 starts at Western Kentucky, averaging 15.1 minutes and putting up 3.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 turnovers per game. Per-40, that equals out to 9.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.4 turnovers. He shot 40.2 percent from the field including 8-of-37 (21.6 percent) from 3 and 55.9 percent form the free-throw line.
The numbers aren’t exactly pretty. Overall, he used 166 possessions as a freshman and scored 105 points. His 0.633 points per possessions (PPP) was in the ninth percentile and rated as “poor” according to Synergy.
In the halfcourt alone, he had 131 possessions and scored 83 points (0.634 PPP, 10th percentile, “poor”).
Banton’s most common play type was Spot-Up, which essentially includes both catch-and-shoot opportunities and attacking closeouts. He had 50 spot-up possessions this season and converted them into 40 points (0.8 PPP, 18th percentile, “below average”). For reference, the NCAA average last season was 0.941 PPP. He shot 13-of-40 with three shooting fouls and seven turnovers.
On 31 catch-and-shoot looks, Banton scored 21 points (0.744 PPP, 18th percentile, “below average”), shooting 8-of-31 (25.8 percent) from the field. He pulled up off the dribble three times, shooting 1-of-2 and drawing one shooting foul. He shot 2-of-5 on runners and drew one foul, scoring five points. He only took it all the way to the rim three times, shooting 2-of-2 and earning one trip to the free-throw line for six points.
More often than not, Spot-Up situations are advantage situations where players get a clean look from the perimeter or get the ability attack a defender hurriedly closing out, opening up driving lanes. However, Banton couldn’t hit shots at a decent rate and struggled to get all the way to the rim, and he didn’t show much ability on in-between shots either.
His second most common play type is Pick-and-Roll Ball-Handler, and while he wasn’t great there either, he at least showed some promise with his intriguing blend of height and ball skills. Between looking to score himself and making plays for others, Banton used 88 pick-and-roll possessions this season and produced 71 points (0.807 PPP, 39th percentile, “average”).
Individually, Banton used 31 possessions to score 22 points (0.71 PPP, 41st percentile, “average”). He shot 10-of-23 (43.5 percent) with one trip to the free-throw line and seven turnovers.
He looked to pass more than score when he ran pick-and-rolls with 57 such possessions which led to 49 points (0.86 PPP, 32nd percentile, “average”). However, his numbers would likely be even better if he was on a team with other guys that could actually shoot.
He fed the roll man 20 times for 24 points (1.2 PPP, 79th percentile, “very good”). He turned the ball over five times but the roll man shot 10-of-15 form the field when the pass got through. However, he kicked it out to spot-up shooters on 32 possessions and that only yielded 21 points (0.656 PPP, 15th percentile, “below average”) with 7-of-28 shooting, two turnovers and two shooting fouls. He hit cutters five times for four points (2-of-5 shooting).
Banton certainly seems to have some passing chops in the pick-and-roll and he was pretty decent scoring himself despite his lack of a consistent jumper. I’d expect him to run plenty of pick-and-rolls in 2020-21 while surrounded by the kind of shooters Hoiberg covets.
Sample size drops significantly from there. He was pretty bad on the offensive glass, scoring 10 points on 14 possessions (0.714 PPP, seventh percentile, “poor”). He shot 4-of-8 with four shooting fouls and three turnovers. His lack of functional strength probably hurts him in this area.
He used a total of 15 Put-Back, Cut, Isolation, Off-Screen and Hand-Off possessions and scored seven points, shooting 3-of-8 with six turnovers and just one trip to the foul line.
Similar to Haanif Cheatham, Banton doesn’t show much of a mid-range game. He shot 1-of-5 on halfcourt jumpers inside the arc. Unfortunately, he doesn’t show much of a 3-point shot either as he hit just eight of his 33 attempts (24.2 percent). Twenty-six points on 38 jump shots (0.684 PPP, 17th percentile, “below average”) is not good. He shot 8-of-31 on catch-and-shoot jumpers — 3-of-16 on guarded shots and 5-of-15 on unguarded ones. He shot 1-of-7 on pull-up jumpers (his one midrange make).
He showed a bit of touch on runners, shooting 5-of-12 including an and-one for 11 points (0.917 PPP, 76th percentile, “very good”). He was pretty mediocre at the rim despite his length, unfortunately, scoring 32 points on 29 possessions (1.103 PPP, 47th percentile, “average”) while shooting 16-of-29 (55.2 percent) with just one shooting foul.
Banton really struggled in transition, something he’s going to have to really improve to play or Hoiberg. On 35 possessions int he open floor, Banton scored just 22 points (0.629 PPP, sixth percentile, “poor”). He shot 9-of-18 with three shooting fouls and turned the ball over a whopping 15 times. That’s a 42.9 turnover percentage. His decision-making has to improve significantly.
Banton has a long way to go as an offensive player before he’s ready to make an impact at the high-major level, but perhaps a redshirt year under the watchful eye of Fred Hoiberg and his staff is just what the lanky Canadian needs to refine his shot and add muscle to his frame. When you add his playmaking to his scoring, the picture is a little brighter as his 1.13 points per possession-plus-assist was in the 58th percentile.
If Banton can make the physical and skill-focused strides he needs to make during his redshirt season and cut down on his turnover rate, he can grow into an important piece in Hoiberg’s offense as a pick-and-roll playmaker and off-ball floor-spacer.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.