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When Deep Shots Are Better Than Cheap Shots

For some players, a three point shot is better than a layup.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 Louisville at Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - MARCH 07: Virginia Cavaliers guard Kihei Clark (0) shoots the ball during a game between the Louisville Cardinals and the Virginia Cavaliers on March 07, 2020, at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA
Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Shooting more accurately from 3-point range than from within the arc is just not that easy. That’s why it doesn’t happen all that often. Especially now that the bonusphere boundary stretches farther from the basket.

Last season only nine qualifying ACC regulars were more efficient converting from 3-point than 2-point range. This attribute usually earns a player a sharpshooter’s reputation, at least among scouts, and special defensive attention.

Of course the efficiency imbalance could also reflect a player’s limited athleticism. When the three came into effect, such players were forecast to most likely benefit.

Or, given a squad’s other strengths, players who are better from long-distance than from within the arc might just be best utilized away from the basket.

Last season the nine ACC regulars with accuracy better on threes rather than twos came from seven ACC teams, two each from Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Five of the nine return this season.

The majority of the nine took more than 70 percent of their shots from the bonusphere.

Four were starters.

Only two, Virginia’s Kihei Clark and Louisville’s Ryan McMahon, since graduated, played for the league’s top five finishers in the standings.

Only Clark (10.8) and Notre Dame’s Gibbs (13.3), also moved on, averaged double-figure scoring.

Clark is the sole member of this group who is also his team’s top returning scorer.

None of the nine made all-conference.

3-Pt Pct. Better Than Or Equal to 2-Pt Pct. in 2020
(Minimum 300 Mins. Played, One 3 Per Game, Pcts. Rounded,
Asterisk Indicates No Longer in ACC)
3s % FGA Player, School 3M-Att 3%-Overall%
.813 Ryan McMahon, UL* 156-192 .436-.422
.770 Tomas Woldentensae,Jr.,V 149-187 .361-.358
.767 Pat Andree, NS* 89-116 .326-.302
.744 Julian Rishwain, BC* 30-90 .333-.314
.714 Jalen Cone, VT 140-196 .487-.408
.680 Ismael Massoud, WF 33-83 .398-.385
.536 TJ Gibbs, ND* 181-338 .420-.420
.532 Nahiem Alleyne, VT 126-237 .389-.388
.343 Kihei Clark, V 36-96 .375-.375