clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Can Ivan Rabb be the best player in college basketball this season?

The Rabbolution is about to be televised again!

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Johnston: I think Rabb needs to put on some weight so he can hold his blocks better in the post and become an even better defensive presence. His outside shot is going to progress and he will be a dangerous weapon for us.

Ruey Yen: A better post game is what Rabb needs to go from a very good player to a potential national player of the year. Yes, the game of basketball is changing, and there is no need for Rabb to be a traditional center who gets the ball in the paint and slowly work it in for a shot. Nevertheless, I think his ability to do that when needed will really help Cal's spacing and allows the team to run the offense through him.

For a freshman, Rabb actually played the post position quite well. He showed a natural talent to read where rebounds will go and position himself for the putbacks. He just needed to add more strength to go with that length to take that step of becoming a dominant force. Having a more consistent midrange shot will also separate him from other players. I think Rabb averaging 20+ points to go with 10+ boards and 2 steals + blocks per game is a realistic expectation for a guy with his talent.

boomtho: Honestly, one of the things he’d have to change (note I didn’t say improve) is to be more of a selfish offensive player. Rabb consistently makes the right read, resets the ball when he doesn’t have good post position, and is happy to defer a bit and be more of a screening/rebounding clean up guy – that’s not going to get him to enough shots to get real POY consideration.

More specifically, Ivan will have to continue to improve his ability to create post position and seal defenders, build on his already impressive midrange J/turnaround game with a more effective face-up game, and continue to foul less so he can stay on the court longer.

LeonPowe: Reef mentioned this on twitter, but I don't think Rabb will be able to put up the counting stats necessary for National POY. Cal would have to be in the top ten rankings most of the season to get the visibility, because Rabb is not going to have flashy stats. Pac-12 player of the year is a possibility, in fact, I think he'd be amongst the favorites.

As to improvements, I'd love to see more utilization of his face-up game. He also needs to learn to foul less when on defense and hopefully he's added strength, because he was being rooted out of the post by almost every Pac-12 big man.

Kevin Wu: Rabb needs to have more confidence in his shot and build-up his post strength & dominance. He's too tall and too gifted to disappear from moments in games the way he did last year. As a team, our shooters need to make their shots. Moore needs to distribute well around the wing, making defenses have to give Rabb space down low to operate. It's all about spacing, guys! The more scoring pressure that other guys can take off Rabb, the better he'll be on offense and the more energy he'll have on defense.

Nick Kranz: Similar to Heisman discussions, it's hard to separate individual achievement with team achievement, and so Ivan will likely need Cal to jump from fringe top 25 to top 10, a leap that isn't impossible but I doubt is very likely. Beyond that, there's the obvious issue of whether or not we can get him enough touches, and whether or not Cal can scheme around the double teams he will likely face. I wouldn't mind seeing a physically dominant Rabb who can power through double teams. This is largely a question of how big a leap Rabb can make, physically and mentally. The general consensus is that the biggest leap comes between your freshman and your sophomore seasons . . .

Reef: For Ivan to be National PoY, Cuonzo would have to turn into Brad Stevens and Charlie Moore will need to be Chris Paul. He's going to get doubled every touch, and no matter how good his post-up game gets that puts a ceiling on his counting stats unless his coach or his teammates can get him the ball in high leverage iso spots. He can mitigate some of this by developing a better face up game, which he probably will, but I doubt he makes a leap to consistently getting 4-5 buckets a game facing up. He'll be a dominant Pac-12 big, maybe do 18 & 13, and be solidly in the discussion for conference honors. Anything beyond that would be a dream. Not out of the question, but I'm not expecting it unless I see some good signs in the early season.