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Free Throw Woes

If you’re shooting better from the floor than you are from the line, chances are your team has a problem.

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Temple v San Diego State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We last looked in 2014 at returning ACC players who were more accurate from the floor than the foul line. We said a startling number – eight -- sported that statistical profile. Three seasons later the ranks of inverse accuracy were even larger, with 10 holdover ACC performers hitting better from floor than line in 2017.

Notably, none of the backward-oriented shooters were guards. The shortest members of this group were NC State’s Darius Hicks and Notre Dame’s Austin Torres, both 6-7.

A single player in the reverse ranks, Virginia’s Jack Salt, started more than half of his team’s games. Salt started each of the Cavs’ 34 outings, averaging 18.4 minutes.

Six of 10 returning shooters who were more accurate on field goals than foul shots stand 6-10 or taller, including 7-foot Anas Mahmoud of Louisville and FSU’s Chris Koumadje at 7-4. This is not surprising, as big men tend to be stretching their shooting range when moving out to the free throw line.

Not a single member of the backwards boys were among the league’s top 25 scorers. The best point producer was Clemson’s Elijah Thomas with a 7.5-point average.

Incidentally, for you Duke fans, two of last year’s Blue Devil freshmen also made field goals more efficiently than free throws. Harry Giles did it, and he’s gone to the NBA. The other, Javin DeLaurier, was a scrub whose minutes diminished as the ’17 season went on. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was particularly complementary of the athletic Virginian prior to this season.

Returning ACC Regulars with Higher Field Goal Than Free Throw
Percentage, 2017 (Minimum 100 Minutes Played Per Game,
Listed by Largest Percentage Difference FG to FT Accuracy)
Player, School FG Accuracy FT Accuracy
Abdoulaye Gueye, GT .393 (11-28) .167 (1-6)
Austin Torres, ND .553 (21-38) .333 (6-18)
Chris Koumadje, FS .654 (53-81) .480 (12-25)
Anas Mahmoud, UL .623 (76-122) .462 (24-52)
Johncarlos Reyes, BC .536 (15-28) .400 (4-10)
Elijah Thomas, C .578 (78-135) .479 (23-48)
Jack Salt, V .559 (52-93) .489 (22-45)
Antonio Vrankovic, D .684 (13-19) .636 (7-11)
Ray Spalding, UL .590 (79-134) .545 (42-77)
Darius Hicks, NCS .250 (2-8) .235 (4-17)

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