Malik Boothe - Red Storm in Review 2011

[See earlier Red Storm in Review posts]

Malik Boothe got a mention a couple of days ago as part of the roster chage that powered the Red Storm into the NCAA Tournament last year. A nice move, once again, by Steve Lavin and the staff, and a risky one. Malik Boothe seemed like the only capable ballhandler/ lead guard the Red Storm had coming into the 2010-11 season.

It's strange to see a major conference team go so many years without true alternatives at the 1-spot; most teams have multiple players who can handle against pressure, but the way St. John's roster was constituted, the point guard position was played by Boothe, who suffered through injuries and a lack of scoring ability and Malik Stith, who hasn't yet done much well except occasionally on-ball defense.

Still, Malik Boothe is, to borrow Kellen Winslow's ill-used words, a "soldier." Our man from Rosedale played his role, accepted his fate graciously, cheered from the bench when he wasn't in, and got after the other team's lead guard like a terrier on the hunt. And he improved his game a bit. More, below the fold.

Malik Boothe(photo credit: Red Storm Sports)

When he came to St. John's, Malik Boothe was looked upon as a possible savior - a player who could defend and, despite his lack of scoring prowess, a player who could make the stagnant office of the Red Storm flow. Watching the very game but offensively substandard Eugene Lawrence ball for 3 years, anything else would be a positive.

Or so we thought.

The oft-injured Malik Boothe never met expectations; or, perhaps, the things Boothe couldn't do weren't balanced by a system that emphasized the things he could do. At point guard, a player's faults pulsate with every dribble; fans complain "well, he should be able to do THAT" or lament the lack of offensive flow or hate the off-balance brick that player puts up out of necessity at the end of the shot clock.

Boothe has been a tough bulldog, but being a tough bulldog doesn't show up in the box score; the 2 turnovers per game do. The missed shots do. The lack of points scored on a team that lacked scoring options/ consistency does.

At a certain point, fans started to think a little wistfully about Geno - as well they should have. Despite Geno's inability to shoot, he gave all of himself to the program, drew fouls, took risks in making his passes. I'm of the opinion that if he and Truck Bryant of West Virginia switched places, they'd also switch stats.

Malik Boothe - All Games
All
G
GS
MPG
ORtg
Sh% 
eFG%
2p%
3p%
FT%
PPG
Ast%
Stl%
TO%
A/T  
2010-11
32
11
18.6
95.9
12.2
45.4
45.3
30.4
71.2
4.1
28.8
2.6
29.4
1.9
Malik Boothe - Big East Games only
Big East
G
GS
MPG
ORtg
Sh% 
eFG%
2p%
3p%
FT%
PPG
Ast%
Stl%
TO%
A/T  
2010-11
17
2
17.6
95.1
12.9
46.0
43.6
36.4
85.7
4.1
28.6
3.2
32.1
1.5

Boothe opened the year with a bit of scoring (15 points against the St. Mary's Gaels), but soon found himself splitting time with Malik Stith after that opening game. It looked like a setup to get Stith the starting job; but it could also have been to get Stith ready for the inevitable injuries to the guard group. It turned out that those moves were the staff looking for a way to get more offensive flow and defensive effectiveness on the floor; and both of those players took a back seat to Dwight Hardy's prowess.

But this was probably the best (or most efficient) year of Malik Boothe's career. Boothe came a lot closer to a non-liability on offense. His in-conference steal percentage increased. He used more possessions and looked more confident trying to score on the floor. And in his more limited role, Boothe popped up off the bench and pissed opponents off.

Malik had nice moments, like carving up the Marquette Golden Eagles like a Christmas ham (or a jilted Valentine?) and a 14-point outburst against Notre Dame in the Garden, with a side of barking at the intense Ben Hansbrough

But in many ways, it was a year like any other. Boothe didn't use many possessions, functioning as a dribbler who made little impact on the game; his shot percentage was around 12%, meaning he took 12% of the shots while he was on the floor. And with five guys, that means the defense didn't have to worry about Boothe taking it in for the score. And when he ended a possession, it was too often with a turnover.  When he had 33 minutes a game as a sophomore, he got up to 4.4 assists per game; but his assist rate remained about the same.

He also had 3.3 turnovers per game, and his turnovers per possession used remained about the same. He wasn't the most sure-handed. Last year, that 32.1% turnover rate was one of the highest in the Big East. That rate stat is affected by the number of possessions Boothe doesn't use - imagine the figure to be turnovers divided by shots taken, though it's more complex. Still, that's a big number, and for a pass-first, pass-second point guard, that's not great to have on his record.

But we love Malik Boothe and everything he's done for the program; personally, I hope he becomes a coach. He obviously has a solid sense of what he's doing and won't back down to any man, and that's a spirit that's not always seen around the Big East.

Like Geno Lawrence, Boothe was in part a product of his environment. Anyone could see that he wasn't made for spot up shooting at 5'8", and that he was better in the open court. Could he have been a higher impact player on a faster-paced team? Unsure.

Malik Boothe - All Games
All
G
GS
MPG
ORtg
Sh% 
eFG%
2p%
3p%
FT%
PPG
Ast%
Stl%
TO%
A/T  
2007-08 
30
6
19.0
77.3
12.9
32.8
36.8
16.1
65.8
3.0
26.0
2.1
30.9
1.6
2008-09 
25
25
33.7
82.4
13.9
37.5
40.4
21.4
64.9
6.4
24.7
2.7
31.3
1.5
2009-10 
32
32
25.3
90.7
11.6
42.2
42.7
27.3
66.7
4.9
20.9
2.3
28.3
1.6
2010-11
32
11
18.6
95.9
12.2
45.4
45.3
30.4
71.2
4.1
28.8
2.6
29.4
1.9
Malik Boothe - Big East Games only
Big East
G
GS
MPG
ORtg
Sh% 
eFG%
2p%
3p%
FT%
PPG
Ast%
Stl%
TO%
A/T  
2007-08 
18
5
21.3
76.1
13.0
32.5
39.5
13.0
69.6
3.3
30.3
2.4
32.6
1.6
2008-09 
10
10
36.5
75.7
12.4
29.3
34.1
13.6
78.6
4.8
21.2
2.8
31.3
1.5
2009-10 
17
17
25.0
84.4
9.6
42.2
40.8
33.3
59.4
4.0
21.8
1.6
32.6
1.5
2010-11
17
2
17.6
95.1
12.9
46.0
43.6
36.4
85.7
4.1
28.6
3.2
32.1
1.5

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