The expectations were high for sophomore guard Courtney Ramey coming into the 2019-20 season. Coming in as a fringe Top 50 recruit, Ramey showed promise as a freshman, playing in all 37 games of the season and starting 20 of them on a guard-heavy team. He was an intriguing prospect.
At times in the 2019-20 season, he showed flashes of the potential that made him such an enticing player as a freshman, but overall it was an up-and-down season for Ramey. His baseline numbers didn’t see any sort of significant improvement in an advanced role, and most of his advanced stats regressed during his second year with the team. Despite these inconsistencies, he was given honorable mention recognition in the All-Big 12 awards. Today’s story is a look at Ramey’s season in review, examining what went well and where he can improve heading into fall.
Ramey ended the year third on the team in scoring by averaging 10.9 points per game and had some impressive shotmaking performances, including a four-game stretch in mid-to-late February where he scored over 20 points in three of those contests. Moreover, Ramey improved significantly on his 2-point field goal percentage, jumping from 39% his freshman year to 46% this past season. However, that jump was mitigated by a sharp decline in his most touted skill from the 2018-19 season.
After making 39% of his 3-point attempts on almost four attempts per game in 2018-19, Ramey’s accuracy from deep dropped to 31% on a very similar volume. In fairness, the team’s poor spacing and perimeter talent as a whole allowed opposing defenses to put a disproportionate amount of focus on lead ball handlers like Ramey, making it more difficult to consistently generate good looks — undoubtedly a factor in his decline. However, it is unfair to place all of the blame on Texas’ offensive system.
In a more on-ball role this season, Ramey’s 3-point rate dipped by 8% while he increased his number of self-created attempts. In the three games available to replay from this season (which is, admittedly, not the greatest of sample sizes), Ramey was 2-of-7 on threes off the dribble and 1-of-3 on spot-up attempts.
With fellow guards junior Matt Coleman and redshirt sophomore Andrew Jones more than passable as on-ball creators, having shooters such as Ramey and junior Jase Febres primarily used as floor spacers and off-ball threats could really open up the Longhorns’ offense and likely boost its efficiency.
Ramey continued to be a pesky on-ball defender and a high-IQ player who understands the intricacies of team defensive concepts. At 6-foot-3 but only 185 pounds, he is often guarding players who have a size advantage over him. Ramey makes up for this with his pressure and quickness. His 2% steal percentage demonstrates his ability to disrupt both his matchup and passing lanes.
If Ramey can add some muscle to his frame, he could take that next step as a defender and effectively slow down bigger guards.
For most players, more opportunities with the ball in your hands translates to larger playmaking duties. Ramey’s usage increased slightly to 22.5%, on par with guards such as sophomore Kihei Clark of Virginia and Missouri’s senior Dru Smith. Ramey’s assist and turnover percentages both dropped slightly, likely because he was more scoring-oriented this season. However, that does not mean his playmaking abilities have taken a dip. As a secondary distributor, Ramey is more than capable of keeping the offense moving and finding the open man, as shown below.
Even with his struggles, Ramey received some form of all-conference recognition. Entering Ramey’s junior season, his play, especially offensively, will be vital in every game. As long as he consistently provides off-ball value, plays within the flow of the offense, picks his spots better and continues to make strides with playmaking on both sides of the ball, Ramey could become the Longhorns’ most important player. You never know, Ramey could also bring home some significant individual hardware as well.