The Chuckycrater Scale was born in an offhand comment I made in one of this blog's postseason basketball* chats in 2011, after Anthony Crater drained our collective lifeforce trying to run whatever the USF offense was supposed to be. We all agreed that Chucky Atkins was our platonic ideal of a USF point guard, and Crater was... the opposite of that. So I came up with the Chuckycrater Scale to measure how good USF's point guards were.
* - This means "chats held after USF basketball season," not "chats about USF postseason basketball." Those don't happen too often around here.
We never fully fleshed out that scale. To put it in some kind of historical context, we arbitrarily assigned grades to guys like Atkins (A), Chris Howard (C), Reggie Kohn (B/B+), and Chris Capko (D, if I'm remembering right). Now that Anthony Collins is leaving USF, it's time to not only give him his final Chuckycrater Scale grade, but also identify what that scale actually looks like.
To calibrate the Chuckycrater Scale, we're going to evaluate Collins on five factors and weight them according to what we feel is most important to playing point guard.
Physical Ability (15%)
This is the measurable stuff. How fast was he, how strong was he, any freakish gifts like long arms on defense, etc. Bonus points for exceeding natural limitations, points taken away for wasting physical gifts.
Knowledge of Offense and Ball Security (35%)
Could he get an entry pass into the post? Could he direct traffic, drive and kick, and find cutters? If you were the coach, would you trust him to run a play in crunch time without taking a timeout to set something up? What was his assist-to-turnover ratio?
Scoring Ability (20%)
It's OK if he was a pass-first point guard. But if he wanted to score, how good was he? Could he get his own shot on offense? Could he hit threes to stretch the defense? How well did he shoot free throws? If the team needed him to get buckets, how willing was he to do it?
Could he play on-ball defense? Did he have to gamble to try and get steals? Did USF have to hide him on the defensive end or in a zone? Could he press effectively in the backcourt or in a half court trap? How much did he resort to fouling when he was struggling to check an opponent?
Anything else worth considering, including quality of teammates, quality of coaching, legendary feats, injury history, etc.
Now that we've set the parameters, let's break Collins down.
ANTHONY COLLINS' CHUCKYCRATER SCALE SCORE
PHYSICAL ABILITY: At only 6'1" and allegedly 170 pounds, Collins was small for a point guard. He lacked strength, but he was fast, elusive, and could dribble into and out of any spot on the court. He was also extremely tough, taking a battering in the lane and getting up from collisions you would have expected to put him out of the lineup for weeks. Put it this way — he certainly didn't play any smaller than he was. GRADE: A-
KNOWLEDGE OF OFFENSE/BALL SECURITY: In his freshman year, USF ran a very deliberate offense that suited Collins very well. He got to stand out at the top of the key, pound seconds off the shot clock, and then decide how to attack. Other than Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and sometimes Shaun Noriega, he didn't have anyone to kick out passes for open threes when he drove the lane. His bigs struggled too, but at least he could get them the ball and give them a chance to operate. He also excelled at lob passes for cutting wing players. After Gus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson Jr. graduated, his teammates became totally unreliable on the offensive end, and Collins got caught trying to do too much. Never a great assist-to-turnover ratio, although there weren't too many assist opportunities in Stan Heath's offenses. This past season, Orlando Antigua wanted to turn up the tempo and give individual players more freedom. It didn't really agree with Collins, who was used to running a tight ship on offense. He could really only play one way, but he played that one way very well. GRADE: B
SCORING ABILITY: Collins was a reluctant scorer. Even though his array of floaters and runners in the lane were lethal, he was never a shoot-first point guard. Teams stopped picking him up high because they knew he wouldn't try many threes. It's not that he was a bad shooter. Far from it. But it wasn't in his DNA to look for his own shot, even when he maybe should have. One of the few times I saw him do it was at Tulsa this year, when Corey Allen Jr. was red hot and it gave Collins better scoring chances. OK at the rim. Good free throw shooter. GRADE: B
DEFENSE: With his small size, he couldn't play lockdown defense. Taller guards could just shoot over him and he ended up on the short end of some serious mismatches when the defense switched. But he was fast enough to give driving guards trouble, and his hands out on the perimeter were lightning quick. Finished fifth in USF history in steals and just harassed guys out high. Didn't take many plays off. If you were going to criticize a USF team for not giving full effort (and you could do that pretty often during Stan's last two years), Collins was not a guilty party. GRADE: B+
INTANGIBLES: Played with a lot of guys who couldn't take advantage of the way Collins could set them up. Missed an entire drama-filled season with a knee injury and could have left along with Stan, but came back for a season with Antigua to see how things would work out. Once played a game wearing a Toy Story Band-Aid on his forehead. Looked like freaking Chris Paul compared to his predecessor. Will be fondly remembered as the trigger man for the most successful USF men's basketball team to date. GRADE: A-
FINAL CHUCKYCRATER SCORE: B+
Anthony Collins may get a little more credit than he deserves for USF's 2012 NCAA Tournament run, because the team's ferocious defense was really responsible for their success. Still, placing him in the offense gave them enough of a boost that they could score enough points to win games they weren't winning the year before. He wasn't ideally sized, and he wasn't built to run and gun. That lack of versatility keeps him out of the very top tier of USF point guards, but for what he was, he was really good.
Thanks for everything you did and good luck wherever you may go, AC. Hopefully you get to finish your college career somewhere that suits your game and gives you a chance to go out strong.