Bio: Junior, 6'2", 195 lbs. (Lansing, Michigan)
Last season: 11.3 minutes per game, 2.4 points per game, 1.7 assists per game, 0.9 turnovers per game, 51.1% FG% shooting (37.1% from beyond the arc)
What we saw last season: Out of everyone on the team last year, Anthony Clemmons probably had the most disappointing season. After playing almost 17 minutes per game in his freshman year, a sophomore slump saw that fall to just 11.3 minutes per game in 2013-2014. He went from playing 20 minutes per game in November, to less than 4 per game by March.
So what precipitated this drop in playing time? Well, mainly turnovers.
This chart sums up his season pretty well. As the competition got tougher, Clemmons had a tough time not giving up the ball to the other team. Once Big Ten play started, Fran clearly didn't trust him anymore.
In addition to coughing up the ball more often, Sapp saw his assists fall from what we had witnessed during his first year on campus. As a freshman, Clemmons finished the season with a 32.8% assist rate (an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on the floor), which was good for 63rd best in the nation, according to Kenpom. He still had a turnover issue during his freshman season, but that was excused because he was new to playing at this level, and he had a crazy good assist rate. However, with one full year under his belt, Clemmons saw his assist rate fall to a more pedestrian 24%, while his turnover rate (the percentage of personal possessions used on turnovers by a player while on the court) soared to 31.2%. Essentially, instead of taking a step forward, Clemmons took two steps WAY backward last season.
What we need to see this season: First and foremost, we should probably give him some major credit for not transferring this offseason. After a disappointing sophomore year and a big time point guard recruit coming to town, it would have been understandable if Clemmons saw the writing on the wall. Instead, he decided to stay and compete, and that shows a lot of heart. So, that alone makes me want him to just kick absolute ass this season.
As for more specific things, we obviously need to see less turnovers out of him. Giving the other team the ball is one of those things that can get you yanked from a game incredibly fast. Not only does it keep points off the board for your team by wasting a possession, but it can directly lead to points for the other team if they get out on the break. If Clemmons can ditch the turnover bug and get his assist rate up from last year, that alone, should be enough to get him some increased playing time.
Add to that, him continuing to be one of the team's better defenders, and not a particularly bad three point shooter (36.2% as a freshman, 37.5% on only 16 attempts last season), and Fran McCaffery has a very solid player that he can bring off the bench. The issues with Clemmons seemed to be mental last season, and I don't see why they can't be fixed this season.
Best case scenario: Clemmons learns how to take care of the ball and his assists shoot back up to his freshman year levels. He forces Fran to play him somewhere around 15-17 minutes per game playing mostly point guard, but seeing some time at the two spot, as well. There's a bit of a log jam with Mike Gesell and Trey Dickerson, but Fran loves versatility and he will move guys around, and Clemmons' ability to play lockdown defense and make things happen for his teammates on the offensive side of the ball is just to valuable to waste.
Oh yeah, and he becomes a legitimate three point threat when he's on the floor, too.
Most likely scenario: Clemmons comes off the bench replacing either Dickerson and Gesell. He plays mostly point guard with a little shooting guard mixed in, while also seeing time as a defensive sub at the end of close games. His assist rate goes back up, but doesn't quite rebound to his freshman level. Meanwhile, he learns how to hang onto the ball a little better and earns back Fran's trust. Clemmons proves that he's not an offensive liability when he's on the floor by finding his teammates in scoring position and by knocking down the occasional three. He also provides Iowa with some defensive prowess out on the perimeter. He won't be a star by any means, but he will be a guy that can be relied upon to give the Hawkeyes solid minutes off the bench. Every team needs that.
One request: Just kick ass this season, Anthony. Get rid of the turnovers, and Fran will make some meaningful minutes available for you. You have a skill set that can be vital for this team this season, so let's see it. We are all pulling for you.