We can take an approach to measuring these plays in our game by using available play-by-play data. I'm calling them "points per steal," but in honor of the pick six, I'll also offer a colloquial version: the take and make. My method of tracking points per steal is fairly simple: record every fast-break point a player generates after stealing the ball, then divide by the number of steals. There is some subjectivity involved in determining what constitutes a fast-break point, but generally it involves any points scored within five seconds of a steal. The goal is for the stat to capture which players succeed at picking off the ball and flying up the court for a field goal or free throws. In other words, who are the Charles Woodsons and Ed Reeds of college basketball?I have been tracking this stat for all players in the Summit League during conference play and have referenced it a few times in Weekly Breakdown posts. In the coming weeks, I plan to make all of this data available, but in the meantime, let's take a look at some of the individual leaders in points per steal this season. The following table presents the data for those players who have tallied at least 25 steals through February 15.
Ladies and gentlemen, Nate Wolters is your take and make king. And it's not even close. He's personally turned 27 steals into 42 points, and that's not even counting the buckets he's assisted in these scenarios. His points per steal figure towers above those of his stealing peers in the league, and it says a lot about his open court and finishing ability. While Wolters is known for his offensive game, we can't overlook the value he adds by being able to disrupt opponents' passing lanes on the perimeter and turning such defense into easy buckets for the Jacks.
As the season wraps up and postseason play begins, keep an eye out for Wolters when opposing squads are moving the ball around on the perimeter. As the "take and make" stats showcase, if he's able to pick off the ball, he's more than likely going to make the opponent pay by taking it back for a make of his own.