Statistics can be like icebergs. They can tell you only the tip of the story.
We've been reading reams of copy lately about J.J. Redick, the Duke University senior guard who seems to shatter a basketball scoring record every time he suits and starts shooting.
Redick can fill a net. He nails three-pointers like they're layups, and he unloads them from all over the floor. At 6-foot-4, Redick poses a perplexing matchup for opposing coaches. Taller players can't stay with him, and he can outjump players his size.
Can anybody stop him?
Maybe not these days, but I'm sure Kansas University fans haven't forgotten that late March day in 2003 when Redick couldn't hit Disneyland from Cinderella's Castle.
Officially, the worst game of Redick's career occurred when he was a sophomore. Redick scored only two points in a 2004 loss at Wake Forest. Battling what coach Mike Krzyzewski called "a slight hip flexor," Redick played only 21 minutes that night in Winston-Salem, N.C., taking five shots and missing them all. His two points came at the free-throw line.
But was that really his worst game? I don't think so. He was worse, in my opinion, against KU in that NCAA Sweet 16 game at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif.
Redick scored five points that night, but in contrast to the Wake outing, he played 37 minutes and missed 14 of 16 shots, including 10 of 11 from three-point range.
Isn't 2-for-16 shooting a heckuva lot worse than 0-for-5?
Redick went in with a scoring average of 15.3, second best on a Blue Devils' team that had won 26 games without a prominent inside player.
"J.J. is maybe as good a shooter as there is in the country," KU coach Roy Williams said the day before the game. "Even though he is a freshman, this time of year the inexperience factor is no longer there."
Yet Redick looked every bit a freshman as he fired brick after brick in the Arrowhead Pond's funky rose-and-teal environs while Kirk Hinrich, the KU player who primarily guarded him, looked very much like the experienced senior he was.
Hinrich gave away an inch to Redick, but he possessed the savvy and athleticism to negate the Duke freshman's strengths. Curiously, while concentrating on stifling Redick, Hinrich scored only two points himself - his lowest scoring output since his freshman year. Hinrich was 1-for-9 from the field.
Then again, if Duke had won, the media no doubt would have switched the story thread and noted how Redick's offense had suffered while he concentrated on shadowing Hinrich.
Yet while Duke needed Redick's points, Kansas didn't require much production from Hinrich because the Blue Devils couldn't throw a net over teammate Nick Collison, who erupted for 33 points and 19 rebounds.
Then, in a fact-is-stranger-than-fiction turnaround, Hinrich scored 28 and Collison only eight two days later as the Jayhawks squeezed No. 2-ranked Arizona, 78-75, to advance to the Final Four at the Louisiana Superdome.
Redick still has several college games remaining, but I'll be surprised if he ever reaches the depths he did against Kansas that night down the road from the Magic Kingdom.