Brandon McCoy has become an unstoppable force in the Mountain West.
San Diego State, San Jose State and Boise State have all conceded 20-plus points to UNLV’s star freshman. And that’s with defenses game planning specifically to stop McCoy.
“They are throwing everything and the kitchen sink at that kid,” Marvin Menzies said after UNLV beat San Jose State. “And as a young freshman, he’s been able to handle it with maturity.”
The last three games McCoy has averaged 22.3 points on 26 of 40 (65%) shooting. His efficiency has been off the charts. McCoy realizes teams are selling out to stop him.
“The other day I went into film with Coach Menzies, and there were four people guarding me. He just told me to slow down and trust my teammates. They have been giving me the ball and trusting me with the ball,” McCoy said after the win over San Jose State.
But that hasn’t stopped him from powering through defenses for massive point totals.
His best move is simply dribbling through the lane to get an open one-handed shot.
If no double team comes, McCoy is able to take a dribble parallel to the basket and step into the lane. Once he creates some separation with the dribble, he has the space to extend his arm for an easy shot. And all of that comes with all five Spartans encircling him.
The best part of this move is that McCoy can do it with either hand.
This time he gets fouled after beating a double team. The move is so effective because McCoy doesn’t need deep positioning to pull it off. He can post up outside the lane and quickly get an easy shot at the rim.
Scoring through a double team isn’t ideal offense. When McCoy draws two defenders, someone is open. Against San Diego State, McCoy showed out with his best passing game of the season.
San Diego State is one of the few teams that doubles the post with two bigs. Most teams send a guard to help out.
This double team makes passing harder as there are usually two 6-foot-10 players surrounding the ball. But it leaves the paint exposed, especially if the guards aren’t prepared to rotate.
That’s what happened to San Diego State, as McCoy posted two assists in the game, both finding Shakur Juiston. McCoy’s frontcourt partner added five assists, three of which were to McCoy.
The Rebels carved up the Aztecs defense and showed how scary they can be when McCoy gets doubled teamed.
Marvin Menzies has focused his offense on McCoy. Getting the big man touches around the basket have been the key to UNLV’s half-court offense. Menzies has shown off his arsenal of plays.
Against San Diego State, UNLV ran a horns set that saw Jovan Mooring and Brandon McCoy set screens for Jordan Johnson.
The purpose of the play is to get McCoy a one-on-one post up after the screens. McCoy gets fouled after navigating through a soft double team.
The one issue with the play is the players in the corner (Juiston and Tervell Beck) are not three-point shooters. Defenses could just leave them and double McCoy anyway.
Even in the loss to Boise State, Menzies dialed up a play get McCoy touches against Boise State zone defense. The Broncos went zone to keep the ball from McCoy, but Menzies’ overload play managed to get McCoy fed.
Again the purpose is to get McCoy a one-on-one matchup. By putting the three guards on the same side, Boise State has to commit to defending that side of the floor.
It leaves the center of the 2-3 zone to cover McCoy. Boise State tries to front McCoy with help side behind. But Juiston’s presence and cut on the opposite block makes the help side defender late.
One of McCoy’s biggest strengths on offense is crashing the boards. His offensive rebounding rate of 13.3 percent ranks second in the conference. His 78 points off putbacks leads the Mountain West and ranks fifth in the nation.
He is a force on the offensive glass and creates his own offense even when Menzies can’t design plays for him.
While McCoy has been rolling on the offensive end, his defensive lapses have led to Menzies benching him for Mbacke Diong.
But recently, McCoy has improved on the defensive end, as he has at least two blocks in the last four games after posting one or fewer blocks in each of the first six Mountain West games.
His improvement on the defensive end has led to more minutes. He averaged just 19.7 minutes per game during the three-game stretch against Air Force, New Mexico and Colorado State. In the last 5 games, McCoy has seen the floor for 32 minutes per game.
UNLV looks set to ride McCoy through the Mountain West. He is one of the biggest mismatches in the conference.
If UNLV is going to knock off #23 Nevada on Wednesday, McCoy dominating a front court that doesn’t exceed 6-foot-8 will be key.