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What Happened to Jamal Webb

December 27, 2012

UND point guard Jamal Webb didn’t set the world on fire as a freshman, but there was plenty there to suggest that he would be a good player going forward. His offensive rating was a tick below average, but a lot of that was due to him (understandably for a Freshman) having a high turnover rate. He also had an assist rate just under 30%, which was a top 100 rate in the entire country. Webb was also a good shooter, with an eFG of around 52%. His numbers held steady as a Sophomore, with an eFG just under 52% and though his assist rate fell, so did his turnover rate.

But this season, Webb has been a totally different player. His eFG has plummeted to an abysmal 40.8% and his assist rate has dropped to 20%. Never one to take care of the ball, he’s now turning it over at a 35% clip.

What happened? While it is too early to say, UND’s non conference slate is tougher than it has been in the past couple of years, so Webb has struggled against the better athletes he’s seen so far. Will that continue into Big Sky play? They have played just two conference games so far, and Webb was awful: he shot 2-9 (0-3 from three) and had 0 assists and 5 turnovers against Southern Utah and shot 3-8 (1-4 from three) and had 3 assists and 3 turnovers against Northern Colorado.

Keep in mind that those two teams are a combined 6-13 on the season so far, and are two of the worse teams in the Big Sky. If Webb struggles against those teams, there’s no telling how he will perform against the better schools.

If UND wants to make a run at the NCAA tournament though, he will have to. Southern Utah and Northern Colorado are two schools where UND should expect wins (even though Southern was on the road, they are terrible and should have been a win). They’ve given away two wins so far, making it even tougher for them to finish in the top 4 of the league. There’s obviously not going to be an at large bid this year for the Big Sky, so it won’t really matter, but they’re not doing themselves any favors in terms of giving them better matchups in the conference tournament.

UND gets back at it on January 3rd against Idaho State and we should all be watching Jamal Webb. If he improves, UND will be in good shape to maybe make a surprise run in the conference tournament. If he doesn’t, he might be spending his senior year watching someone else running the team.

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