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Threes If You Please

Some guys find it easier to shoot away from defenders

ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament - First Round
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Trey Wertz #2 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates with his team after hitting the game-winning three point basket at the buzzer to defeat the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 80-77 during the second half of their first round game in the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 09, 2021 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Shooting more accurately from three rather than two-point range is rare.

Very few fit the profile unless they routinely hover too far from the basket to be crowded by wary defenders, or are too fixated on long-distance dialing to attempt much else.

Or, they’re just lousy at trying or making layups, and wouldn’t know a mid-range jumper from a jumper cable.

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 from bonusphere opportunity.

Last season four qualifying ACC regulars (minimum 300 minutes played) were more efficient converting from three rather than 2-point range. That was less than half the number of jump shooting oddballs (9) in 2020.

Effectiveness from long range usually earns a player a sharpshooter’s reputation and special defensive attention, sometimes regardless of accuracy.

Last season the four ACC regulars with better acumen on threes than twos all came from different teams, as they had in 2020.

All four took a majority of their field goal attempts from the bonusphere. Virginia’s Tomas Woldentensae, Jr. tried more than 70 percent of his shots from afar, as he had in ‘20.

Woldentensae was alone among the predisposed perimeter punchers in not being a starter.

Half of the foursome are North Carolina bred.

Only two, Virginia’s Woldentensae, no longer in the league, and Virginia Tech’s Nahlem Alleyne, tried and made more threes than twos in 2020 as well. Both played for the league’s top five finishers in the standings in 2021, so presumably were favored for, or despite, their statistical shooting distortion.

Only Virginia Tech’s Alleyne (11.1) posted a double-figure scoring average. The junior from Georgia is the sole member of this group who’s his team’s leading returning scorer.

Notre Dame’s Wertz is the only player among the three-over-two crowd whose first name hints at this shooting strength.

None of the four made all-conference.

WHEN LONGER IS BETTER
3-Pt Pct. Better Than 2-Pt Pct. in 2021
(Minimum 300 Mins. Played, One 3 Tried Per Game, Pcts. Rounded)
3FGA As
% All FGA
Games Player, School 3M-Att 3%-Overall%
.705 22 Tomas Woldentensae,Jr.,V* 23-55 .418-.410
.559 17 Thomas Allen, NS 25-66 .379-.364
.527 21 Trey Wertz, ND 33-77 .429-.404
.518 22 Nahlem Alleyne, VT 42-103 .408-.392
* Gone in 2021-22.