What's wrong with UALR's Will Neighbour? It appears nothing

We’ve been asked a number of times what’s wrong with UALR forward Will Neighbour? We guess that comes from people expecting him to put up 20 and 10 every night.

But when you compare this year’s numbers to last year’s numbers, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong. In fact, his numbers are up from last season.

Neighbour averaged 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds as a sophomore and has upped that to 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds this year. He’s on pace for more blocked shots than a year ago and already has 20 assists in 13 games. He had only 17 assists in 29 games last season.

But would he score more if he took more shots? Possibly.

This year he’s taking 8.8 shots per game, two of which came from the three-point line. Last year he averaged 8.3 shots per game, but 3.5 came from the three-point line.

Neighbour’s shot attempts are slightly up and so are his season averages. If Neighbour got five or six more shots per game, would his averages go up? The numbers say yes. But he’s clearly taking good shots right now. Would the increased shots be of the same quality? That’s difficult to say. Neighbour gets intense scouting from opposing teams. And his assist total is an indication that he’s trying to get open teammates involved.

His teammates also have to recognize the mismatches he puts opponents in. During Monday’s loss to Louisiana Tech, UALR took bad shots without trying to get the ball to Neighbour, who was being guarded by a much smaller player.

One thing we do know for sure is Neighbour’s value on the court. This season, UALR has scored one fewer point (2,599) than its opponents (2,600). When Neighbour has been on the court this season, UALR has been 52 points better than its opponents. With Neighbour on the bench, UALR has been 53 points worse.
So what’s wrong with Will? It appears it’s nothing to worry about at this point.