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Aiming to be Straight Shooters – Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The quantity was proven to Kowacie Reeves

“For actual?” he requested. 

Then to Niels Lane

“That is actually stunning,”  Lane mentioned. 

And Myreon Jones, too. 

“Critically?” he shot again. “I did not realize it was that dangerous.” 

If the eight returning Florida Gators went again and reviewed the tape from the gang-that-couldn’t-shoot-straight 2021-22 season, they’d quickly be reminded of simply how dangerous it was. 

30.3 p.c

That is what the Gators shot final season from the 3-point line of their first yr out of the NCAA Match since 2016. That the share was amongst not solely the worst within the Southeastern Convention (twelfth within the 14-team league) but in addition within the nation (317th out of 358), was dangerous sufficient. It additionally was the worst within the historical past of the UF program. Sure, the bottom for the reason that NCAA adopted the 3-point line for the 1986-87 season. That might be 35 years in the past. 


For the reason that NCAA launched a common 3-point line for the 1986-87 school basketball season, Florida has shot beneath 35 p.c 10 instances over these 36 seasons, together with an all-time worst 30.3 p.c throughout 2021-22. This is a breakdown of these 10 cross-eyed taking pictures seasons.

Pct. Season 3FG-FGA File (SEC) / Postseason  Coach
.303 2021-22 269-887 20-14 (9-9) / NIT second spherical Mike White
.305 1988-89 94-308 21-13 (13-5) SEC champions / NCAA 1st spherical Norm Sloan
.313 2009-10 203-648 21-13 (9-7) / NCAA 1st spherical Billy Donovan
.315 1995-96 258-809 12-16 (6-10) / None Lon Kruger
.319 2015-16 218-674 21-15 (9-9) / NIT third spherical White
.323 2014-15 218-674 16-17 (8-10) / None Donovan
.334 2018-19 291-872 21-13 (11-7) / NCAA second spherical White
.341 1989-90 115-337 7-21 (3-15) / None Don DeVoe
.344 1991-92 125-363 19-14 (9-7) / NIT Remaining 4 Kruger
.347 2019-20 221-636 19-12 (11-7) / Canceled attributable to COViD  White

* For context, the all-time greatest Florida taking pictures staff was the 1986-87 squad at .437, certainly one of 3 times in program historical past the Gators hit at the least 40 p.c from lengthy distance. The others had been 1997-98 (.400) and 2006-07 (.409), the second of the back-to-back NCAA title seasons.  

An incapability to knock down 3-point photographs will not be, in itself, a loss of life knell to a staff’s success. By no means. Take Arkansas, for instance. The ’21-22 Razorbacks gained 28 video games and reached the Elite Eight as a No. 4-seed within the NCAA subject regardless of making simply 30.4 from deep (one spot forward of UF at 316th nationally). The Hogs, although, did another issues higher and didn’t reside and die by the 3-ball. Threes accounted for less than 34.2 p.c of their shot choice, a statistic ranked 260th nationally. 

The Gators, nonetheless, weren’t solely poor 3-pointer shooters, however prolific ones. Regardless of making barely three of 10 from distance, practically p.c of the photographs UF tried final season had been 3s. Solely 21 groups within the nation had the next model element quantity than UF’s 45.8, and solely two of these groups (Alabama and Villanova, each NCAA Match groups) had been from one of many six energy conferences.


UF assistant Kevin Hovde

“That is a troublesome solution to reside,” Florida assistant Kevin Hovde mentioned this week. “Nonetheless, in the event you make just some extra, it is most likely a special season.”

That was the pondering of Mike White and his employees in what turned out to be their last flip in Gainesville; that the odds would finally even out and gamers like Jones (39 p.c the earlier two years at Penn State), Brandon McKissic (38 p.c in 4 seasons at Missouri-Kansas Metropolis), Tyree Appleby (36 p.c in two seasons at Cleveland State) and even Reeves, the freshman top-50 prospect and prep sniper, would inch their numbers up. By no means occurred. 

“I believe it was the psychological piece. Like everybody was in numerous head areas and generally you may simply see it,” Reeves mentioned. “I am positively not going to place it on the coaches. Guys simply overthought some stuff final yr. It was a staff factor.”  

Added Lane, the junior guard/ahead: “We had some confirmed shooters final season. We should always have been higher than that.”

As an alternative? How ’bout three consecutive video games in December — at Oklahoma (loss), house in opposition to Texas Southern (loss) and North Florida (win) — of a mixed 14-for-71. There was 6-for-22 at Auburn (loss), 7-for-31 in opposition to LSU (loss), 4-for-29 at Ole Miss (loss) and 5-for-22 at Kentucky (loss). The final 4 video games of the season (Kentucky at house, Texas A&M within the SEC Match, then NIT video games in opposition to Iona and at Xavier) the Gators made simply 21 of 101 from the arc. Do math. Higher but, do not. 

“Truthfully, even a number of the video games we gained — like down in Fort Myers — I do not assume we shot it that properly,” Reeves assist. 

Appropriate. When Appleby bombed in a scrambled, open-floor 3-pointer on the buzzer to beat Ohio State within the Fort Myers Tip-Off title recreation, it was the staff’s fourth make from deep on an evening it shot 28.6 p.c from the arc.    

That was then. Simply how the ’22-23 model of the Gators shoots the basketball stays to be seen, however heavy doses of offseason taking pictures drills mixed with Coach Todd Golden‘s analytical imaginative and prescient for this staff figures to make his first UF squad look completely different than the final. Golden desires to be an excellent 2-point taking pictures staff. He desires gamers to assault the basket, draw fouls and get to the free-throw line. 

The three-point line? Sure, in fact, Golden desires to shoot it properly from there — and definitely keep away from being among the many 12-percent worst in all of faculty basketball, like final season — however he desires it to occur within the context of an offense looking for environment friendly shot-making of every kind. 

“We need to take 3s,” Golden mentioned. “Good 3s.”

Of their first summer time of exercises, the employees setup an on-going taking pictures competitors involving all 15 gamers, with their mixture scores up to date and displayed on a grease board within the gymnasium on the Hugh Hathcock Basketball Complicated for all to see. Free throws, spot-up stationary mid-range photographs, transferring mid-range, spot 3-pointers, taking pictures on the transfer, simply to call a couple of. 

“From the summer time to now, we have performed far more taking pictures drills than we did final yr,” Jones mentioned. “By conserving monitor of our scores it makes us need to get into the fitness center extra as a result of everyone desires to get to the highest of that chief board.”

Sophomore wing Will Richard, the Belmont switch, gained the inaugural offseason taking pictures contest amongst his teammates. Richard shot 48.8 p.c as a freshman within the Ohio Valley Convention final season, together with 60.4 p.c on his 2-point makes an attempt vs. 32.6 from the arc.   

When the offseason gave solution to preseason, wing Will Richard, the switch from Belmont, was the general taking pictures champ, adopted by Jones, walk-on Alex Klatsky, level guard and St. Bonaventure switch Kyle Lofton, freshman guard Denzel Aberdeen and Virginia Navy Institute switch guard Trey Bonham. No trophies or awards went to the high-point guys. Simply bragging rights. 

And a few good baseline knowledge for the coaches to work from. 


Affiliate head coach Carlin Hartman

“You really want the precise guys taking the precise photographs and it’s important to hammer it each single day day,” UF affiliate head coach Carlin Hartman mentioned. “We need to give our guys a number of freedom to allow them to really feel good and cozy on the court docket, but in addition need to be certain that after they flip down a very good shot, they see that; in the event that they miss a man who’s open for a very good shot, they need to see that. I do not know what occurred final yr. I watched just a little bit. There have been some open [missed] photographs. A few of them had been premature photographs, possibly just a little early within the shot clock, possibly late within the clock, possibly the unsuitable man taking it.” 

Does not matter, anyway. What the Golden-led Gators will attempt to do on offense this season is get out in transition and search for a very good shot within the first eight seconds of the possession clock. If it is not there, they’re going to get into the half-court offense, let Lofton, along with his four-year profession common of 5.2 assists per recreation, do his play-making factor, whereas getting their two-time All-SEC submit man, 6-foot-11 Colin Castleton, as many touches as potential. 

At San Francisco final season, Golden’s staff — this system’s first to succeed in the NCAA Match since 1997 — ranked 82nd in tempo of play. That is fairly quick. His two earlier groups, nonetheless, had been 197th and a hundred and fifty fifth, respectively. His first Florida staff possible shall be someplace round these latter numbers, given the posh of enjoying by means of Lofton and Castleton. It is a technique that ought to assist keep away from a number of the late-clock panic 3s that had been jacked by a staff that ranked 267th in tempo a yr in the past.  

That is the plan, at the least. 

“The extra Colin and Kyle Lofton have the ball of their arms, the higher the seems to be Myreon and Will Richard and Trey Bonham will get,” Hartman mentioned. “We’ll be assured they’re going to make a bunch of photographs, too.” 

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