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Barry Jacobs On The Weirdest ACC Stat

Chances are, it will never happen. It's too preposterous. The odds are too long, the achievement too unlikely. It's unfair to reach conclusions based on 11 games worth of evidence.And so forth.

Besides, once the Wake Forest squad returns from its Christmas break, coach Dino Gaudio intends to take action, altering Ishmael Smith's mechanics at the foul line. A rear-view video study of the sophomore's free throw form clearly shows an elbow bent outward, a force against which a forward motion toward the basket must contend.

Smith shot .462 at the line as a freshman in 2007, worst among ACC point guards. The product of Concord, N.C., refuses to blame the broken thumb he incurred in a Nov. 29, 2006 loss in a game against the Air Force Academy. He refuses, in fact, to concede there's even a problem he cannot readily correct.

After all, it's just not possible that an ACC player could shoot better from 3-point range than from the foul line for an entire year.

Yet, 11 games into the season, Ish Smith was doing just that - hitting 37.9 percent of his 3-pointers (11-29) and only 26.1 percent of his foul shots (6-23).

How unusual is this statistical profile?

Well, as far as we can tell, since the 3-point shot went into effect for the 1986-87 season, no 100-minute player has matched Smith's feat while attempting at least one three and one free throw per game. No one.

Last year UNC's Bobby Frasor came very close to matching Smith, hitting .368 from the bonusphere (14 of 38 in 28 appearances) and .375 at the foul line (3 of 8, which doesn't qualify).

Players With Higher 3-Point Than Free Throw Accuracy, One Season

(Smith Percentages Through Dec. 23, 2007)
Player, School Year 3-Pt % FT %
Ish Smith, WF 2008 .379 .261
Ray Hicks, Mia 2005 .571* .444*
Deron Washington, VT* 2005 .600* .600
Mario Lucas, M 1993 .600* .515
Marc Blucas, WF 1992 .346* .250*
George Lynch, NC 1991 .700* .630
Daric Keys, WF 1988 .600* .571*
Phil Henderson, D 1987 .692* .600*

* Averaged fewer than one attempt per game