To put a bow on this college basketball season, we’re once again diving into a classic series of ours where we ask each returning Cyclone to “step into my office” to review the season that was, and take a shot at what next season could look like.
In this edition of “step into my office” we look at Coach TJ Otzelberger’s overall performance from this season, which included a visit to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2016.
Season at a Glance
Recency bias will remember the second-round game against Wisconsin first and foremost. Mr. “I never really liked Wisconsin” had himself a game against his former Big Ten foe. Kalscheur finished with 22 points and propelled the Cyclones to an unlikely Sweet 16 berth. That’s something I don’t think this fanbase will soon forget.
Tournaments brought out the best in Gabe, in the Pre-season NIT, he had his highest scoring output of the year against Memphis with a 30 piece. A game where he shot a sweltering 60% clip from 3.
But, with any wing in basketball these days, they’re expected to do two things, knock down the three, and play defense. I can say with full confidence Gabe does an excellent job of one of those two things; defense.
Kalscheur was often tasked with guarding the best offensive guard on opposing teams, and for the most part, he did an incredible job. Otz’s defense sells out on the perimeter and when executed, it forces the offense to shoot contested threes or drive into help defense. Kalscheur did an incredible job of bullying smaller guards, and hanging with wings his size.
Where Gabe constantly struggled, was the three-point line, in no ways making him unique from the team. Kalscheur has held the title of ‘streaky shooter’ throughout his college career, and this season was no different.
However, his defense was never impacted by a bad shooting night. A lot of three-point minded players will start to coast when they can’t hit their shots, I didn’t see that once with Kalscheur.
So, about that 3-pt shooting... I’ll tell you right now, the numbers aren’t going to like Gabe Kalscheur, and that’s fine. Kalscheur does a lot of little things right, that don’t show up on the box score. An extra pass, a hard close out, diving after loose balls, tipped passes, none of those have a stat, but he’d be top of the conference in a couple.
40 for 170 equals out to 23% from 3-point land. That’s not ideal. Especially at the volume he shoots threes, you want at least 30% of those to drop. Kalscheur was asked to score a lot, more than just open kick-out threes. If Brockington or Hunter were being locked up, Kalscheur was more often than not the third or even second option.
Another worrisome stat, Kalscheur attempted at least 1 three-point shot in every game, he finished 11 games without a three point make. His worse night, 0-6 against Oklahoma State in a crazy overtime win.
He finished the season average 9.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists which is about par for the course throughout his career.
2022-2023 Season Outlook
I think it’s simple. Kalscheur right now, is fine. He’s a fine player, if he does the exact same thing next season, he’ll be fine again. His defensive intensity is vital, his willingness to guard the best player is huge, and he’ll need to do that next year as well.
The one place he can improve is pretty obvious: three point shooting and offensive efficiency. In a perfect world Kalscheur is strictly a kickout open three guy, but we didn’t have the offensive firepower last year to pull that off, and i don’t think we will next year either.
Kalscheur is going to be asked to be a primary option next year to score. We saw it in the Wisconsin game, he can create off the dribble in the mid-range, a la Izaiah Brockington style. Now with IZB gone, that might open the door for more mid-range jumpers.
I’m not expecting Kalscheur to average anything over 12 points next season, but if he can keep his defense strong, shoot 30% from three, he goes from fine to really good, really fast.
Here’s to hoping.