Full Breakdown of SUU to Utah State transfer guard Braden Housley | Sports

Utah State was kind of short on solid passing point guards last year. “Kind of” because the Aggies did have arguably the program’s best ever pure point guard, Darius Brown, but he was essentially the only pure point on the roster.

So it stands as a bit of a contrast that first-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun appears to be very committed to having depth at this position. The addition of Southern Utah transfer point guard Braden Housley is a display of that commitment. With Housley on board, the Aggies will have three point guards with Drake Allen and Deyton Albury being the other two on the roster so far.

There’s actually a pretty clean comparison between Housley and Allen. They share the same height listing at 6-foot-4 with a minor difference in weight (Allen just ahead at 190 pounds to Housley’s 180) and both established themselves as highly productive passers prior to getting to the Division I level — Housley with his 6.8 assists as a senior at Skyridge, Allen and his 6.0 at Snow College.

The comp goes even further with the fact both Allen and Housley played one year at SUU and the obvious fact both have now made the move up to Logan. The main difference for Housley is he’s making his way to USU far earlier than Allen as the former is just entering his sophomore year with the latter being a fifth-year senior.

To get the full breakdown on Allen, you can jump over to last week’s breakdown, but let’s focus on Housley’s time at SUU. He spent two seasons there, one as a redshirt and this most recent season as one of just two players to start all 31 games for the Thunderbirds. He averaged 10.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, leading the team in the latter.

These stats will paint Housley as a decent scorer with pretty solid passing ability. The 3.6 assists is probably deflated a tad with SUU ranking 219th in field goal percentage and 337th in 3-point percentage last year.

For being just a freshman last year, Housley possessed pretty good court vision and ability to read defenses to make the right pass, or keep the ball himself. This largely manifested itself in ball screen action, where a majority of Housley’s scoring and a good chunk of his assists come from.

Making good passes out of ball screen action isn’t always easy, requiring guys to play with patience and read the defense. Housley does this quite well with a variety of passes to various spots. Housley was particularly solid at reacting to help defense and kicking to shooters.

When it came to passing to bigs, Housley struggled a tad. On the one hand, a pocket pass or one-handed overhead pass to a pick-and-pop big was no problem, but the lob pass, requiring a bit more skill and accuracy, weren’t on point or were barely accurate enough for a catch.

That a difficult pass isn’t quite in the wheelhouse of a freshman point guard shouldn’t be cause for alarm. What’s important is that Housley possesses the foundational skills to be a top-level passer and he’s got time to grow. The vision is there and the talent around him will help bring out these skills.

It’s likely that Housley won’t play a ton his first year (more on that at the end), but in the event he does, having a shooting big like Isaac Johnson and a tremendous rim finisher in Aubin Gateretse are perfect weapons in ball screen offense. Combine that with capable shooting wings, Ian Martinez and Tucker Anderson, and there’s a lot Housley can pull off. He just didn’t have this scoring talent around him at SUU.

The other relevant aspect of the pick-and-roll game for Housley is how much he scores out of it. It was his more common form of scoring, with roughly a third of his points coming via this action alone.

Just like with the passing aspect of his game there’s a solid foundation for scoring though a lack of top-tier skill that’s going to have to come with development. Housley knows how to get to the right spot and take the right shot, or draw a foul.

The majority of these shots are either early 3-pointers when defenders go under the screen…

…or in attacking the paint when the big doesn’t hedge, or in some cases taking 3-pointers when getting switched onto bigs because of high ball screens.

All of this is a solid variety of scoring and passing, but neither are elite right now. Some of the passing flaws have been shown, but the more worrying thing is shooting.

Housley’s 3-point shooting takes the character of someone who is a high-level sniper. He was one of 25 freshmen last year to attempt at least 150 total threes. And this isn’t just about taking a lot of threes, it’s about the level of difficulty of these threes. Those pull-up 3-pointers out of the pick-and-roll are not easy and it’s why those who can hit them are incredibly dangerous on offense.

The problem is he was one of the worst volume shooters overall last year. Not only did he rank last in 3-point percentage among those freshmen but he ranked second-to-last among ALL players last year with a minimum of 150 3-point attempts (455 total players)

That’s…not great.

The confidence to shoot that often from deep came out of nowhere. It’s not like Housley suddenly decided he’d jack up a bunch of threes. In high school there was every indication he was a top-level 3-point shooter. His statistical profile is incomplete, but we do have the 3-point percentage from his junior season in high school where he made 22 of 59 (37.3 percent) of his attempts. Combine that with the 44 threes he hit as a senior (his number of attempts is not listed anywhere, hence it being incomplete) and it’d be a fair assumption that Housley shot in the mid-to-high 30s from three in his prep career.

The hope in bringing up those numbers is that Housley simply had an incredibly down year, perhaps born of the nearly four-year gap in playing basketball thanks to a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a redshirt season.

The main issue with that hope is there’s not a great historical precedent for guys having this bad of a season but becoming or even being even average level 3-point shooters.

Going back through the 2004 season (as far back as the Sports Reference database will let you search and sort through quickly), there have been 108 other players to have a season roughly similar to Housley, i.e. attempt at least 150 threes and make less than 28 percent of them. Digging even further to see which of those players went on to be solid shooters isn’t too encouraging. Less than a quarter of those players finished with a career 3-point percentage of 34 percent or better (roughly the average 3-point percentage of men’s college basketball).

These breakdowns have usually ended with a note on defense and on that subject it’s a kind of similar to offense. Housley’s basketball IQ is high enough to make him promising but it’s not all there yet. Unfortunately, most of his defensive efficiencies lie with him being not the most athletic. There were a lot of blow-bys he gave up to a lot of players. Occasionally he hung on and moved his hips enough, but there were a lot of guys blowing by him and/or drawing fouls on Housley. Late in SUU’s game against Texas Rio-Grande, the Vaqueros ran a high pick-and-roll to forced a switch of Housley onto the ball and it was a relatively easily drive to the lane that ended in a foul.

With all the rough edges, combined with his youth, Housley is probably going to be on the sidelines for much of the season. Veterans like Allen, Albury and Martinez, along with the more established Mason Falslev, will take up most of the rotation minutes on the guard line. Housley will play some minutes, but it will likely be more akin to what Javon Jackson saw last year; semi-regular minutes but fairly restricted and the occasional DNP. If Housley remains patient through a year of not playing much, there’s a starting point guard spot waiting for him a year from now and the chance to lead a quality offense with potentially fellow rising starts in Falslev and Anderson.

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