Name: Ishmael Leggett
2023 Stats: 16.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.4 spg, .393/.320/.845 shooting
Career Stats (3 seasons) 10.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg, .396/.333/.782 shooting
Leggett was Rhode Island’s top offensive threat last season with his 16.4 points per game ranking 7th in the Atlantic 10. He is an intelligent player who will be an excellent addition in the backcourt. Let’s take a look at a couple plays.
The immediate question is what the heck Leggett’s defender is looking at. Leggett catches his opponent’s controller disconnecting, and once he is level, explodes for the easy give-and-go.
Leggett leads the break with a ton of speed, but the defender plants his feet to draw the charge. Having to quickly halt his momentum, Leggett goes with the Euro Step to avoid contact and lay it in. It’s a bang bang play with the two players arriving at the spot at nearly the same exact time so who’s to say what the call would have been had they collided. Many players would have crashed into the defender and hoped for an impossible finish and chance for an and one. In this and in several other plays I’ve seen, Leggett searches for the high percentage shot while showing superb body control.
Leggett’s efficiency improved across the board from a disappointing sophomore season. Of particular note is the jump from 69% to 85% from the line. He made 10 or more free throws in six games last season. The 40% from the field is okay, but the hope is that his efficiency will improve even more back to the level he was during his freshman season, when he wasn’t the main focus of the defense. Nelly Cummings improved from 38.4% in his last year at Colgate to 41% at Pitt under similar circumstances.
He rebounds very well for a guard, finishing second on the Rams with 5.8 per game. He had a career-high 14 against St Bonaventure last season. Leggett improves Pitt’s team rebounding.
Defense - Leggett showed strong anticipation on defense with 42 steals last season. At 6’3” he possesses adequate size to effectively play the 2 guard at the college level.
Intangibles - Leggett seems like a lead-by-example guy. When he speaks, people listen. After suffering through some difficult seasons with Rhode Island, Leggett is ready to be part of a winner.
Outlook: I see Leggett being an excellent secondary option. Any player who has multiple 30-point games at the D1 level can score. The hope is that the team chemistry from last season will carry over and this new group of Panthers will help Pitt have an even better year in 2023-24.