With the way Joe Toye ended his freshman season, we fully expected him to begin his sophomore year in the starting lineup.
Instead, Nolan Cressler started all year and Toye came off the bench for most of the season. He finally worked his way into the starting lineup before the second game against Arkansas — thanks to Matthew Fisher-Davis being suspended — and averaged 29.1 minutes per game over the final 12 games of the season.
But on the season, he averaged 21.1 mpg, which should tell you about how much he was playing over the first two thirds of the season. And his play didn’t really justify much more than that.
As a sophomore, Toye’s scoring average jumped from 3.6 ppg to 6.4 ppg. But that was largely a function of more playing time and more shots. He attempted 2.5 shots per game as a freshman and 5.0 as a sophomore, and his shooting percentage dropped from 50 percent to 40 percent — largely because of a drop in his two-point percentage from 52.8 percent to 40.2 percent. As a result, he went from averaging 16.8 points per 40 minutes as a freshman to 12.1 as a sophomore.
Of course, he shot proportionally more threes as a sophomore. As part of a team-wide effort to shoot more threes, Toye took 78 of his 175 shot attempts from beyond the arc — and in SEC play he made 41 percent of them, good for 11th in the conference in SEC games only. On the other hand, he shot 68 percent at the foul line, which doesn’t really sound like a guy who’s a 41 percent three-point shooter.
I’ve thought that Toye is a guy who would be much better off just concentrating on doing one thing really well rather than trying to do a bit of everything and just being average across the board. The question going forward, then, is whether Toye wants to be a prototypical slasher who gets to the basket and dunks everything — which, frankly, is not something that goes with 40 percent two-point shooting — or if he wants to be a shooter. The bigger concern, though, is that Vanderbilt really needs Toye to do better than this as a junior. Perhaps if he can build on his play down the stretch, Toye will go a long way. But then we thought that going into 2016-17.
Grade: B. Toye was a bit of a disappointment for about the first half of the season, but we’ll give him some benefit of the doubt because he really did help the team down the stretch. He still needs to do better next year though.