Let’s discuss an area that Tech basketball struggled with last year, outside shooting. I wanted to have the chance to analyze some of the stats this off-season. The downtown shooting on our team seemed to be repeatedly inconsistent during games, so I did research to see how it was compared to other Big 12 teams. Not good, the discovery was predictable and disappointing.
Three-point shooting ability is a trait that can make or break a team. When it's working it stretches a defense and allows inside players to have much more space to work around on offense. This gives better opportunities for points in the paint. My personal favorite advantage that successful three point shooting teams gain is the ability to frustrate defenders and kill an opponents momentum. It turns individual matchups into mind games when players are on fire from downtown and cannot be stopped.
Everyone reading this might agree the most annoying thing in college basketball (besides the refs) is not being able to stop a team from making bombs all over the court. It seems like you have no control over anything when Phil Forte, Brady Heslip, or Eron Harris are draining treys from six feet behind the 3-point arc. It can suck the energy right out of players and fans.
To help read the above chart try this... grab the bottom bar on the chart with your mouse on the x-axis and scroll slowly to the left until it is showing "01-04" (referring to date) for the 2013-14 season. That was the Iowa State game on January 4th and we were 6 for 20 from the outside in that game. ISU went 5 for 19 in that game. Now, move the graph to the right and you will see the Texas Tech blue chart line get further away from our Big 12 opponents green chart line. By the time the season was over the graph will show that we attempted 262 outside shots compared to 358 attempts against us in conference play. Tech ranked last place in the Big 12, and #316 out of 351 Division 1 teams in three-point attempts.
Next, check out the below chart with trending 3-point MAKES in our Big 12 games.
Scrolling through the x-axis from 01-04 until 02-01, Tech made more outside shots in Big 12 games against our opponents up until February 1st. At that point the gap between our 3-point makes and conference opponents makes begins to widen. It eventually ends on our last Big 12 game showing that we made 81 treys compared to 111 made against us. Our three-point number of made baskets were bad enough for last place in the Big 12, and #325 nationally.
The final chart is listing the roster from last season, and I have it sorted by rank of individual three point field goal PERCENTAGE.
There are some interesting findings here. The #1 and #2 ranked players should be discarded because of so few attempts. Dejan Kravic was our center and Stan Mays only played 14 minutes the entire year.
#3 Aaron Ross only shot 21 downtown attempts, but made 8. Ross didn’t get steady playing time, but he has shown he has the range to hit outside shots. The problem is that he has another knee injury and is not projected back until January of 2015. Also, he plays the power forward spot and will not get many looks from the outside. We cannot rely on him to be our primary three point threat next season.
Dusty Hannahs had the most 3-point attempts and makes. He was #4 on the team with 36.9%, and was known as our outside scorer. It was his specialty and every team tried their hardest to stop it. He was an excellent set shooter, but did not do well with the catch and shoot on the run. His departure to Arkansas is a big blow to our three-point shooting ability.
Toddrick Gotcher had the second most attempts and makes at 25 for 76 (32.9%). He is my pick for getting on fire in games next season and taking over on scoring beyond the arc.
Jaye Crockett, not much to say about Crockett at #6 except that he could do everything. He expanded his shooting range and his presence will be greatly missed next season. Jordan Tolbert at #7 expanded his game as well, Tubby Smith giving him the green light was impressive. He will also be missed with his departure to SMU.
Robert Turner at #8 was an extremely streaky outside scorer, and it seems he could be a legit downtown threat when he was hitting. I am hoping he gets his shot right this season and is one of our outside shooting weapons along with Gotcher. Turner was almost the same as Gotcher on his attempts and makes 22 for 75 (29.3%), but we need to see better stats from our point guards and shooting guards (or swingman) next season.
Jamal Williams is gone, and Randy Onwuasor needs to really work on his outside game hitting 3 for 20 (15%). The other roster players did not make a downtown shot.
As I wrote at the beginning, after concluding my research I was not only disappointed but also somewhat discouraged at our three point shooting ability. I do have faith that Gotcher and Turner will step it up and take some worries away, but will either one make up for losing Hannahs? We will have to wait and see.
Also, our new recruits Justin Gray, Keenan Evans, and Devaugntah Williams could be huge contributors to the outside scoring ability of our team. We will need some big time help at draining treys next year. Our overall team three point field goal percentage at 31.1% ranked #314 in the nation. Bottom line... our field goal attempts, makes, and percentage were all ranked LAST in the Big 12. It is going to take some huge strides to get our outside shooting back on the right track, but I expect to see us rise in all those categories next season.
Wreck ‘em Tech!
If anyone has any stats that they would like me to research and write a breakdown about this off-season please write it in the comments section, email at DanSwany@yahoo.com, or tweet @DanSwany.