Who will shoot the 3 at UK? Everybody

In the wake of Jodie Meeks’ decision to stay in the NBA Draft, everybody is wondering who will pick up the 3-point slack for the University of Kentucky. If Calipari’s recent past is any indication, the answer is that everybody will.

Not since Rick Pitino has UK seen a system that is so aggressive from three-point range.

Calipari’s Memphis team took 681 threes last year, a very low number for a Calipari-coached dribble-drive offense that is functioning well.

Yet that’s still more three-pointers than UK has taken in all but three of the 11 seasons since the Wildcats’ last national championship. (That year, UK also took 681).

But look inside the numbers. On his Final Four team in 2008, Calipari had five players attempt at least 100 threes. That hasn’t happened at UK since the 1991-92 season, when Jamal Mashburn, John Pelphrey, Deron Feldhaus, Richie Farmer and Dale Brown all shot at least 100. (Let’s be fair, though. The 1996-97 national runner-up team had four players shoot at least 100 — Ron Mercer, Scott Padgett, Anthony Epps and Allen Edwads — plus Derek Anderson shot 94 and Cameron Mills added an incendiary 42 of 79).

Quickly, a look at how each of the past four UK coaches has utilized the 3-point line, compared with Calipari in the past four seasons. The following chart shows per-season averages:

Coach

3FGM

3FGA

Eddie Sutton

119.3

326.7

Rick Pitino

289.0

789.4

Tubby Smith

225.4

650.0

Billy Gillispie

192.0

533.0

John Calipari

269.8

780.3

The message? The three-point line is back open for business at UK. And it isn’t just one or two players who are going to be expected to perform from outside the arc. Calipari remarked after a couple of individual instructions that he was pleased with how well Patrick Patterson could shoot it from out there, which gives you an idea of how far the green light is going to shine in Rupp Arena.

Meeks likely would’ve gotten off better than 200 threes next season (though probably not the 288 he got as a junior). But when thinking about the three-point attack under the dribble-drive offense, don’t fall into the trap of identifying one or two shooters. Everybody on the court is expected to pose some level of perimeter threat.

Calipari has had four players per season average 100 three-point tries or more in his past four seasons. UK has had only four try 100 or more threes in one season out of the past 10 (Crawford, Bradley, Meeks and Perry in 2006-07).

It’s a change in mindset worth consiering when thinking about how the departure of Meeks will affect this team. It’ll take away a potent outside weapon, but don’t expect it to take away the 3-point game. If anything, the threes should be more plentiful in Rupp Arena than they have been for an awfully long time.

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37 thoughts on “Who will shoot the 3 at UK? Everybody

  1. Make no mistake here, Eric. Meeks was a candidate for player of the year, so that's what has been lost and its a big one for UK not only because of his outside shooting, but for his experience helping six frosh get their Nikes tied to the right feet.I'm also not sure how I feel, as a solid UK fan, with having to re-tool like trhis every single year, but I guess it beats mediocrity all to hell. I'll miss Meeks most because he is a class UK act.davidm

  2. Of course everyone will shoot the 3, but, who has proven that they can consistently make the 3 at the college level. All of the shooters for UK are unproven at this point.

  3. Next year's roster aside, you have to love the similarities in perimeter approach to Pitino's time at UK.As I recall, it worked out pretty well the last time we tried it.

  4. Take a look at the stats Crawford provided. Under each coach listed, from Sutton to Calipari, the percentage made falls between 34.7 and 36.6 percent, an unexpectedly tight range. And that's equivalent to hitting more than 50 percent from inside the arc. As Wheatgerm likes to say, if you're hitting more than a third of your shots from beyond the arc, you aren't taking enough of them. Let's hope those stats hold up!

  5. We will be fine, Meeks was a great player to watch when he was hitting the threes (and he is darn good at it) but he really looked bad driving into two or three defenders and creating a turn over. I appreciate what Meeks gave to our two dimensional offence last year, but we won't miss him as much as he will miss playing with this team and the new system.Meeks is a wonderful spot up shooter and he would have flourished on this years team and made us better, but you write it down, even if he goes undrafted he will not be back in blue next year because he does not want to come back to UK period.I wish Meeks all the luck in the world and God bless him in his future, but IMO he will not be back.

  6. Wait a minute! I thought this was "Dribble Drive Offense" and that anyone that couldn't "take their man off the dribble (per coach Cal) wouldn't play much". Now, after we loose our shooters (Meeks, Sloan, Stewart, Konner, Vilareno, etc.), we are worried about who will shoot the "trey". Great incoming group but not a proven outside shooter in the bunch. Poor job of planning if you ask me. Get ready for double digit losses again.

  7. Are you guys serious? Who could shoot a 3 last year with out being terrified of BCG. How many 3's did porter a natural "shooting guard" throw in the stands. They were in perpetual fear. I think we have yet to see the full facet of the these players game. With the pressure off we will find 3pt shooters in Wall, Miller, Dodson, and Stevenson.

  8. The word thrown around here is " unproven" which in no way means bad. It doesn't mean good either though. Wait and see guys wait and see. Heck Dodson could be a better shooter than Meeks, the coaches sure think he could be.

  9. If three months ago you came up to me and said "give up Jodie and you'll get Wall, Cousins, Patterson back, Bledsoe and Dodson" I would have taken that in a heartbeat. That's not poor planning. That's bringin home the bacon!

  10. Call it what you want to, but Wall, Cousins and Patterson are probably gone after next season. With this years team "less" Meeks, Porter, Sloan and Stewart we loose 75% or more of our "3" point scoring leaving only Miller as an outside threat that has college experience. This experience does matter no matter what you may think. Coach Cal has missed on this (admit it) and the lack of an outside threat will cost us some games this year. Remember last year with Meeks, Patterson and Miller how the defense would "sagg" and close up the inside? We will see more of the same without a bonified perimeter threat and you can't use the "DDMO" effectively against a "packed" zone defense. Then after this season is over, rebuilding again. Hard to win championships when you are always rebuilding. Just ask Tubby Smith.

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