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BarryJacobs Takes A Look At Steve Donahue's Offense

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Steve Donahue arrived last year at Boston College with a reputation for successfully integrating the 3-point shot into his team's offense.

He had perfected the approach at Cornell in the Ivy League, where his 2010 Big Red reached the Sweet 16 while leading the nation in 3-point accuracy (.4295). Less recognized, Donahue's third straight Ivy champs also made more than half of their two-pointers, a not-insignificant trait.

Last season, BC closely followed the Donahue Design with players almost exclusively brought in by Al Skinner, his predecessor. The Eagles were second in the ACC in 3-point accuracy (.382) behind Virginia, and led the league in the percent of their field goal attempts from long range (.433).

In fact, BC's reliance on the three in 2011 as a tool was more pronounced than all but one ACC squad since 2006, when the league's latest dozen-member incarnation was settled.

Not to deviate from form, Donahue's 2011 club also made 52.38 percent of its two-point baskets, second in the conference only to Duke (52.45).

Asked about his squads' 3-point propensity earlier this fall, Donahue said, "Realistically, I'm recruiting kids like that and I'm going to play that style."

He may have to adapt, however, with 11 new, rather inexperienced players in 2011-12. "To say that this group can shoot the ball as well as the other kids, I don't think that's the case," Donahue offered. He said many of his newly arrived players have "different skills than I've ever coached before," including more of an ability to penetrate and finish.

That may mean fewer threes, in keeping with an adaptable coaching profile revealed by uptempo BC's throttled-back, near-upset of UNC at Chapel Hill last year, ultimately a 48-46 defeat.

"I think he realizes he has to have some guys who can compete athletically in the league," observes Brick Oettinger, a longtime basketball recruiting analyst with ACC Sports Journal.

The statistical evidence this season is understandably scant. The Eagles, picked last in the ACC by the region's media (but not likely to finish there), edged New Hampshire in their only game.

Not incidentally, Donahue's 2011 club made 52.38 percent of its two-point baskets, second in the conference only to Duke (52.45).

ACC Teams With Highest Percentage of Field Goal
Attempts From 3-Point Range, Since 2006
From 3
Team Year 3FGA-FGA Coach
.456 N.C. State 2006 777-1704 Herb Sendek
.433 Boston College 2011 802-1852 Steve Donahue
.392 Duke 2008 816-2084 Mike Krzyzewski
.385 Virginia 2007 706-1860 Dave Leitao
.384 Miami 2011 750-1955 Frank Haith
.379 Clemson 2006 740-1955 Oliver Purnell
.370 Virginia 2008 748-2020 Dave Leitao
.368 Miami 2010 670-1820 Frank Haith
.366 Miami 2009 682-1865 Frank Haith
.35267 Duke 2011 778-2206 Mike Krzyzewski
.35256 Duke 2006 709-2011 Mike Krzyzewski

2011 ACC Team Employment Of Threes As Percent Of Overall Shots
From 3
.433 Boston College 802-1852
.384 Miami 750-1955
.362 Virginia 583-1611
.353 Duke 778-2206
.347 Georgia Tech 643-1855
.345 Clemson 630-1827
.333 Florida State 634-1903
.310 Virginia 572-1845
.296 Wake Forest 513-1736
.250 North Carolina 580-2318
.233 N.C. State 423-1818
.219 Maryland 434-1980

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