In sports, comparing players from different generations is natural. LeBron James and Michael Jordan, Ray Allen and Reggie Miller, you get the point. Rutgers basketball has never been known as a factory of successful NBA products. One has to assume Corey Sanders will become one of the few viable Scarlet Knights to go pro. However, Sanders still has at least one season left at Rutgers, so the NBA is still a good distance away.
As we look at Sanders and his body of work as a player, along with his statistics, he seems oddly familiar. So familiar that he may remind Rutgers fans of one of their former stars, Quincy Douby. Fans will recall Douby as the electric offensive weapon that led Rutgers to a 19-14 record in 2005-’06. Since Douby left after that campaign, the Scarlet Knights have yet to crest over the .500 mark record wise. Many believe it is Sanders that now gives Rutgers the best chance of bucking that gloomy trend. Now, when we put Sanders and Douby side by side, the similarities are quite distinct.
First we can look at the size of the two guards. Sanders stands 6-foot-2 and Douby 6-foot-3, both weighing in at 175 pounds. While Douby was more lean and long, Sanders has a little more bulk to him. None the less, in terms of height and weight they are near identical.
Size has little to do with their on-court comparison, it’s just a little tibdit that adds to the point. Sanders is heading into his third year at Rutgers, and Douby left after his third year. Thus, to stack up both players adequately we can look at their freshman and sophomore seasons in comparison to one another. Below are the combined per game statistics from Sanders in 2015-’16 and 2016-’17 and Douby in 2003-’04 and 2004-’05.
Sanders: 60 games, 14.2 points, 3.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 steal, 40 percent FG, 43 percent two-point FG, 29.7 percent three-point FG.
Douby: 62 games, 13.8 points, 2.5 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 1 steal, 40 percent FG, 43 percent two-point FG, 37.8 percent three-point FG.
Given those numbers we cannot conclusively say one is better than the other. What we can say is that their numbers are eerily similar, and even though they differ slightly, the margin is quite thin. Besides three-point percentage, the baseline statistics show little disparity and in fact, a close association between Sanders and Douby.
The resemblance between the two continues when we look at their biggest strength. Sanders and Douby are excellent at creating shots for themselves and scoring. For Sanders, he likes to go downhill towards the rim rather than taking a jump-shot. On the other hand, Douby, who was also adept to finding his own shot with the dribble, liked taking jump-shots. This had a lot to do with Douby’s thin frame, he did not have the muscle to finish at the rim consistently like Sanders does. However, both make a living on the basketball court with their ability to score in droves.
As referenced above, the overarching difference between the two is shooting ability. Douby was an unbelievable shooter in his tenure with the Scarlet Knights, while Sanders has never been known for that. Both players are so-so defenders, but are proficient in getting in the passing lanes and making steals. Neither are true point guards either, as Sanders and Douby are not high volume distributors.
One thing Rutgers fans can get excited about is if Sanders will perform as Douby did in his junior campaign. In 2005-’06 Douby averaged 25.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.8 steals. He also shot a scintillating 51 percent from two-point range and 40 percent from three. Granted, to get these bawdy numbers, Douby shot nearly 19 times per game. Perhaps the most important aspect was the 19-14 record Rutgers turned in that season.
So, will Sanders continue this pattern of similarity with Douby heading into 2017-’18? It’s hard to say he can’t, given Sanders’ ability to score, but Scarlet Knights fans have be wary of the possibility of Sanders shooting 19 times a game like Douby did in 2005-’06. Sanders has a better team around him than Douby did, so we may not see the bulky Douby-esque numbers. However, it is not out of the realm of possibility for Sanders. Maybe the most exciting thing for Rutgers fans is the prospect of the team having a record above .500, it would be their first since Douby. Their 2017-’18 schedule sets up well for them to have a successful season too.
For the sake of the argument, Corey Sanders and Quincy Douby are not carbon copies of one another. Although they share similar numbers and play similar styles, they are not total mirror images of one another. However, one has to notice a resemblance when they watch Sanders play. They may not be the same, but Sanders has to give Rutgers fans a warm sense of nostalgia when he steps on the floor. Better yet, he may provide more fond memories for when the next great Scarlet Knight comes along.