The term ‘glue guy’ gets thrown around on college basketball broadcasts on a nightly basis, and though the analytics movement aims to quantify everything that takes place on the court, these players’ contributions are immeasurable.That doesn’t mean the skills these guys possess aren’t valuable, though they can certainly be overstated. Hustle. Grit. Scrappiness. Clutch gene. In other words, qualities that opposing fans love to hate.
The best glue guys are hard-working team players that have multiple useful skills, but are typically masters of nothing.
Here are the best glue guys in college basketball this year.
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
Arcidiacono was named Co-Big East Player of the Year as a junior in a season in which he averaged 10.1 points per game and shot below 40 percent from the floor. Like it or not, that’s the epitome of what a glue guy is.
Arch is constantly diving on the floor for loose balls and getting under opponents’ skin, and he sets the tone for a Villanova squad that has won back-to-back Big East titles.
Alex Caruso, Texas A&M
The senior Aggie isn’t exceptional at anything on the basketball court, but he’s solid at just about everything. Caruso has upped his field goal and 3-point percentages in every season for Texas A&M, and the past two years, he’s averaged more than five assists and two steals per game.
Steals and assists are probably the two statistical categories most synonymous with being considered a glue guy. Caruso thrives in both areas.
Robert Johnson, Indiana
Johnson doesn’t put up huge offensive numbers, but the Hoosiers function much better with him on the floor.
Since James Blackmon Jr.’s injury, Indiana has gone 9-1. Johnson’s minutes have spiked since Blackmon Jr. went down, and his unselfishness is a major reason for IU’s turnaround. He doesn’t need the ball to be effective, but he’s enough of a threat that defenses can’t ignore him. Johnson also does all of the little things on defense, and he’s become the glue guy that the Hoosiers sorely lacked at the beginning of the season.
London Perrantes, Virginia
Is there a non-star player you’d rather have hoist a game-winning shot than Perrantes?
Probably not. The Virginia point guard is no statistical monster, but anyone who watches the Cavaliers knows how important he is to their success. Shots like these are quite common for Perrantes:
Perrantes has improved his scoring from last season, and Virginia is far better with him on the floor. He trails only Anthony Gill among Cavalier regulars in net rating, edging out star backcourt teammate Malcolm Brogdon in that catch-all metric.
Casey Benson, Oregon
Benson shares Oregon’s point guard responsibilities with Tyler Dorsey, and he’s a stabilizing force on a Ducks team that features several talented scorers and high-flyers.
Benson is as careful with the ball as anyone in the country. He averages 28 minutes per game and turns the rock over less than once per contest, and that’s not due to a lack of touches. He’s an undersized yet tenacious defender, and though he’s not featured often on offense, Benson knocks down 38 percent of his 3’s. The sophomore is the ultimate team player, and the Ducks have a higher offensive rating (128.1) with Benson on the floor than any other rotation player.
Kadeem Allen, Arizona
Allen simply does everything there is to do on a basketball court. He averages almost 10 points per game on efficient shooting percentages, and his rebounding and passing numbers are very respectable.
The freshman Wildcat is Arizona’s best perimeter defender and has taken the lead ball-handling responsibilities off of Gabe York, who can focus more of his energy on scoring in the midst of Allonzo Trier’s injury. Allen should have an excellent career in Tucson when all is said and done.
Kyle Dranginis, Gonzaga
The senior jack of all trades is nearly averaging 5,5 and 5 in points, rebounds and assists in just a shade under 30 minutes per game. Gonzaga could use more scoring out of Dranginis, but he’s developed into the team’s most formidable playmaker and perimeter defender. He simply makes winning plays on a regular basis.
Gonzaga features two star big men in Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis, and Dranginis knows his role. He’s not trying to be a hero; he’s just trying to set up the two horses down low in optimal ways. In that sense, Dranginis is a valuable glue guy for Mark Few’s squad.