We continue our player recap series with a look at Brandon Childress, a guard who was the only true freshman to play significant minutes for Wake this year. He was one of six players to log minutes in all 33 games, and one of seven players who averaged over 20 mpg (with 21.5 mpg).
On the season, Childress averaged 6.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.4 turnovers, and .8 steals per game.
These numbers aren’t too flashy, but Childress basically stepped right into his role in the rotation. With Bryant Crawford and Keyshawn Woods generally starting at the 1 and 2, Childress and Wilbekin were the rotation backup guards. Childress often handled PG duties when on the court, thanks to his ball-handling skills and particularly his ability to stay composed and break pressure.
He took the fewest shots (5.4 per game) of any “rotation” player (20+ mpg). His role was not to come off the bench and light it up, since the team was blessed with a variety of powerful scoring options on offense. Instead, his role was to help get the ball down the court, limit mistakes, and play tenacious defense. He did those things quite well for a true freshman in the ACC.
For example, in Wake’s first win at NC State in over a decade, Chill’s defense (including 3 steals) was a big part of keeping Dennis Smith, Jr. to three made FGs. And, in several games where Wake struggled against the press, Childress was able to either dribble through the double team or find the open guy to break the press. Forcing dangerous scorers to pass the ball away or take a bad shot doesn’t show up well in the stat sheet, and neither does managing to bring the ball across half-court without turning it over. But, those are both places the team had recurring struggles, and I was impressed with Chill’s contributions in those areas.
Childress was third in assists and steals on the team, and fourth in 3pt% (among those who attempted at least two 3 pointers over the year...). The fact that he earned so much playing time (he finished ACC play with 14 straight 20+ minute games) shows that Danny Manning was pleased with what Chill brings to the court, even straight out of high school.
It’ll be interesting to see what role Childress will have next year. Assuming Crawford and Woods both continue to start, then Childress and Wilbekin will likely continue to share backup guard responsibilities. However, if the team loses JC and finds itself without a comparable scoring option down low, the offensive scheme may call for some more shots from the guards. Another year under Ryan Horn’s S&C tutelage may also help Childress finish stronger at the rim and bring up his scoring numbers a little as well.
Have you liked what you’ve seen out of Brandon Childress in year 1? What do you expect from him in the future?