Full Breakdown on USU’s new point guard, Deyton Albury | Sports

Utah State now has its first incoming transfer under new head coach Jerrod Calhoun, coming in the wake of having seven of its players enter the transfer portal this spring (six of whom are still in said portal). The now former Queens point guard Deyton Albury will take his talents to the west to don the Aggie Blue and Fighting White.

A bit of background on Albury, he’s a 6-foot-2, 190-pound native of Nassau, Bahamas. In 2020 he graduated high school at Sunrise Christian in Kansas. Albury didn’t make the jump to college quite yet first attending a post-high school basketball academy, Believe Prep. His path then took him to Chipola College for two seasons and finally he played the 2023-24 season at Queens University at the Division I level. In one year with the Royals, he started 28 of 32 games, averaging 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.2 steals and was named Third Team All A-Sun along with being named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year.

It’s been quite the journey for Albury, but his talent has led him on a predictable climb up the basketball ranks.

The thing that jumps off the page with Albury immediately when you watch him is his athleticism. In this case a video is worth more than a thousand words so take a look yourself (clip via College Basketball Scouting on YouTube)

Albury got clean past his man within one stride (thanks to a killer jab step), drove the lane, took off from outside the restricted area and finished the play with a one-handed dunk around a tough contest.

You can’t teach that.

That athleticism is put to good use in Albury’s game. He’s an aggressive rim-attacking point guard with nearly 70 percent of his field goal attempts last year coming at the rim. And that aspect of his game is well attested for in highlight reels filled with his daring drives to the rim and acrobatic finishes.

There’s a creativity in his drives with spins, rip-throughs and an overall solid mastery of ball-handling. He’s able to navigate the court smoothly and find ways to sneak past the defense and occasionally power through contact. Transition is an area where Albury is especially deadly, a typical strength of downhill, attacking guards.

The sheer volume of his layup attempts doesn’t quite come across in those highlights. Albury was 10th last year among all players in field goal attempts at the rim according to Synergy Sports tracking data. A remarkable rank considering six of the other nine players are centers or forwards (Great Osobor is among that top 10 along with Zach Edey) and the rest stand 6-foot-4 or taller with frames of 200-plus pounds in all cases.

One minor sticking point of that almost absurd level of attacking the basket is Albury’s field goal percentage on such shots. Last year he made 53.3 percent, ranking in the 37th percentile among all qualified players. It’s not terrible but moving up a level to Mountain West basketball isn’t going to make things easier for Albury at the rim. But it’s safe to say a more moderate attempt rate — something that will happen given the jump in talent around him — should keep him from his percentages away from dropping into dangerous territory and could even facilitate a rise in efficiency.

The rest of Albury’s shot profile is limited since so many of his attempts come in one area, though there are promising aspects of these other types of shots. Around once per game, on average, he’ll break out a floater which he makes at a decent 43 percent. And with some improvement, his mid-range pull-up jumpers could have some viability (his dribble-jumper FG% last year was just under 27 percent, about six to seven percent under what would be fairly viable efficiency).

Of course, the most important question regarding the rest of Albury’s shot types is how does he do as a 3-point shooter. No guard can truly thrive without an outside shot and Albury doesn’t disappoint in this aspect. Over the last three years, including his time in the JuCo ranks, he’s shot 36 percent on 3-pointers. He even broke out this nice step-back three against Duke.

A key caveat is he’s not a volume 3-point shooter. For instance, according to Synergy Sports data, Albury only attempted step-backs like the one just above a grand total of six times last season (he made four of them, though). Last year he averaged 1.7 threes attempted per game so he’s not going to be lighting it up from outside but teams can’t sag off him and that’s the important factor in this equation. Give Albury an open catch-and-shoot three and he will hit it enough to make teams pay.

You might recall his 3.7 assists per game average mentioned way back at the start of this breakdown and that’s truly one of his best counters to teams trying to stop his drives into the paint. When defenses collapse, Albury is very adept at finding a freshly open teammate caused by the defense honing in on his position.

The following is probably one of the most fun examples of Albury’s court vision.

Setting aside the well-timed cut, nine out of 10 players just take this pass and go all the way to the rim, especially a guy whose whole thing is supposedly taking that exact shot and has the athleticism to finish over or through the traffic. But Albury recognized his teammate had the far better shot and the quick dump-off pass back lands that teammate an easy layup. It’s not a super-complicated read, but it shows how Albury keeps his head up at all times and can spot the times when he needs to pass. His assist reel is full of these types of simple dump-offs and kickouts. 

Queens ran very little pick-and-roll and didn’t have any good rolling bigs so it’s hard to say how good Albury can be as a ball-handler and passer in those situations since there’s not much film for those situations. That’ll change with Calhoun at the helm. His teams have consistently run ball screen sets that utilize the roll man so that will be a key adjustment for Albury in his new home.

Somewhat related to Albury’s passing is the one number among all of his stats that is a cause for some concerns — 3.3 turnovers per game. The character of these turnovers is typically either Albury dribbling into too much trouble to the point that a pass out is just to difficult to hit and he misses his mark, or he mishandles the ball as he tries to hit a final gear heading into the paint.

To be blunt, there’s not a whole lot of sugar-coating that can be done with that turnover rate. It’s not great. Albury finished the year tied for the 17th-most total turnovers among all players at the Division I level. The key is to understand the number a little bit better. Albury’s usage was among the highest in the country — KenPom’s usage metric ranks him 22nd among all players — and that’s going to lead to a lot of turnovers for anybody. Even with that said, this is going to be the number one area of improvement for him.

Wrapping things up with this breakdown, there’s Albury’s defense. There’s plenty to like his effort on that side of the ball. He’s aggressive, sometimes to a fault as he often got himself into foul trouble. The quickness Albury uses to create offense is used just as much on the defensive end, and moving up to the Mountain West level isn’t really going to impact where he stands in terms of being one of the quickest guys on the court. Players will have a hard time getting by him without a well-set screen and Albury has enough length to defend most guards.

His 190-pound frame will limit his switch-ability beyond matching up with either guard in any typical backcourt, and it’ll show when he gets switched onto bigs, but that’s fairly typical of any point guard and shouldn’t be counted too much against him. That said, he showed a lot of energy when guarding guys bigger than him so it’s not like they’ll have a field day against him.

There were a few too many concerning clips of Albury not aggressively getting around screens to follow his man, something he absolutely HAS to be able to do if he wants to be an effective defender in the Mountain West. In some other cases, though, he’s shown great ability to get around them and cause problems. He did just that against Duke and it earned him a steal and a bucket on the other end (Albury is at the top of the screen at the start of this clip, defending away from the ball).

The steal here may have been a bit lucky, given his hand happened to be in the way, but it’s the kind of luck that only hustle will allow to happen and it’s also just the kind of high-effort defense teams desperately want out of their point guards. Get through a screen, deny a hand-off or short pass and disrupt the flow of the opposing offense. It’s the kind of thing Darius Brown was doing all last year and it made him a beloved player by the fans.

Albury usually shows good hustle on defense and solid awareness, and seems to have gotten better on that end as the year progressed. With continued coaching, there’s a solid defender to be found in Albury. He’s probably not an All-Defense prospect, but it seems unlikely he’ll be a liability on that end of the floor.

Exactly how Albury fits with this team is hard to tell at this point. There’s a lot still up in the air with who will be paired up with him in the backcourt and who the frontcourt players will be. Does Ian Martinez come back and give the Aggies the most athletic guard trio they’ve ever seen (Albury/Martinez/Mason Falslev)? Or will Josh Uduje or some other transfer fill in that third guard/wing position in the starting lineup? Great Osobor could also theoretically return and that would impact Albury’s usage and give him more space in the lane given teams are terrified of leaving Osobor even remotely alone in the paint.

Suffice to say, having a guard this athletic and capable of running the point guard slot will be a boon for the Aggies no matter which players he’s able to call teammates. And at this point we do know that Albury and Falslev, who himself was a terror attacking the rim last year, will form quite a slashing duo. Surround those two with shooters and teams will have a heck of a time finding ways to stop Utah State’s offense.

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