Earlier this month, the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a change to the Men’s Basketball three-point line, moving it back from 20 feet and nine inches to the international three-point distance of 22 feet and 1.75 inches.
College Basketball's three-point line will be moved back to the International three-point line, starting in 19-20, per the NCAA: https://t.co/QUYIlpfowb
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 5, 2019
The committee cited the following rationale for extending the line:
- Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.
- Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.
- Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.
NE PROVEN DEEP THREAT RETURNS
Four of the Huskies top five 3-point shooters from the 2018-2019 season are no longer with the team.
Early NBA entrant Jaylen Nowell (44% on 116 3PT attempts in 2018-2019 season) plus seniors David Crisp (37.4% on 198 attempts); Dominic Green (35.1% on 158 attempts; Matisse Thybulle (30.5% on 151 attempts) have all moved on from the University of Washington.
The only proven (returning) deep threat on the Huskies roster — measured by a minimum of 50 attempts and 30% shooting from beyond the arc — is rising junior Naziah Carter (31% on 71 attempts).
Only two other Huskies returning for the 2019-2020 season attempted 10 or more three-point shots last season: Hameir Wright (58 attempts, 24.1% shooting) and Jamal Bey (10 attempts, 40% shooting).
Based on past performance, three-point shooting is the number one glaring weakness for the Huskies
The good news is that Naz Carter showed noticeable improvement shooting beyond the arc from his freshman to his sophomore season.
Carter made himself into a reliable catch-and-shoot marksman from behind the arc.
Carter can quickly get his feet set properly; and has a compact efficient shooting form with a high release point.
Even with defenders closing to his shooting hand, Carter is able to get his shoot of cleanly in one-count.
Considering he shot a higher three-point percentage than Thybulle last season (albeit on less attempts), the Huskies should trust Carter’s deep shooting ability and game plan to get Carter open looks from three.
Naziah Carter’s improved three-point shooting makes him a versatile scorer, either creating his own shot by attacking off the dribble or from catch-and-shoot situations, and a threat to score anywhere on the floor.
ATTLE READY THREES
Despite all the hype and fanfare surrounding Washington’s two top ten recruits for 2019, Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart, It is possible that their most impactful recruit this season may be four-star recruit RaeQuan Battle.
Washington will return two sophomore guards, Jamal Bey and Elijah Hardy, and bring in underrated freshman point guard Marcus Tshonis.
However, none of these guards provide the outside shooting threat that Battle does.
Incoming freshman RaeQuan Battle’s textbook shooting form sometimes resembles a moving work of art.
Battle shows impressive elevation off two-feet to clear defenders, yet is consistently on balance with an efficient smooth motion and quick release of the ball at a high release point.
Battle’s long arms and use of his explosive legs gives him deep range that easily extends to the new international three-point distance of 22 feet and 1.75 inches.
Battle excels at hitting deep jumpers off dribble-handoff situations, particularly from the high wing or top of arc areas, so expect the Huskies coaching to incorporate dribble-handoffs into the offensive game plan.
He also has a solid dribble step-back move that creates enough space for Battle to get his shot off in the face of a defender.
Battle is also very good at pull-up threes, so he possesses the offensive versatility to hunt his shot in transition or in half-court offense.
RaeQuan Battle is a necessary component to next season’s Huskies offense. As a true freshman, expect the coaching staff to give Battle a significant role as a situational three-point specialist, and possibly even sixth-man by late season.
OVE BACK JMAC
Incoming freshman Jaden “JMAC” McDaniels can be an effective three-point shooter from the longer international three-point distance.
At 6’10” with long arms, he shoots very easily from long distance.
McDaniels shows a good shooting form with no wasted motion and a quick release.
Because of his height, Jaden’s jumper is extremely hard to contest because of his high release point.
Also, Jaden’s offensive versatility will make defenders give him space rather than deny the three-point shot too aggressively.
McDaniel’s long first step, ball-handling skills and impressive athleticism make him a threat to attack the rim after he puts it on the floor, and a nightmare for defenders.
McDaniels is a three-level scorer. Expect the Huskies coaches to use Jaden to stretch the floor from the perimeter as a 6’10 wing, maybe not primarily as a three-point threat yet allowing for Jaden’s offensive versatility to extend out to the new three-point line.
In half-court situations, the Huskies can use JMac as another outside threat for Washington’s offense that will provide spacing for Isaiah Stewart to go to work in the low post.
ORE GREEN, MORE SPACE
“When Quade Green is eligible” is a familiar refrain from Husky fans.
Washington will hopefully secure an NCAA transfer eligibility waiver for Quade Green, their former 5-star point guard and transfer from Kentucky, that allows Green to play earlier for the Huskies during nonconference play.
In his nine games played as a sophomore at Kentucky, Green primarily played off the ball when Kentucky coach John Calipari went with bigger and more athletic freshmen Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley at point guard over Green (which led to his transfer).
At the time of his transfer, Green was Kentucky’s best three-point shooter by making 42.3% on 26 attempts. (Kentucky’s other guards were shooting a combined 27.8 percent from 3-point range.)
Based on his previous performance at Kentucky, Quade Green will be the Huskies best 3-point shooter whenever he is available.
Green has rare versatility as a three-point shooter because of his ability to shoot it equally well off-the-dribble or in catch-and-shoot situations.
Quade Green is an excellent catch-and-shoot marksman from beyond the arc. He is also adept at working with screens off-ball –pin down screens, baseline screens or pop/curl/flare– and using these screens to set up his defender and free himself up for a catch-and-shoot three.
And Quade can also hit threes off a 1-2 dribble pull-up from beyond the arc or in transition.
With the new deeper three-point line, a three-point shooting point guard is a unique threat that puts a lot of pressure on a defense.
When Green brings the ball up court, a defender must pick him up almost as soon as he crosses half-court, or they risk Quade hitting a three-point shot off the dribble.
With Green on-ball, off-ball, or both (even within the same possession), Quade’s ability as a long-range shooting point guard gives the Huskies coaching staff the flexibility to use him to free up opportunities for his teammates,
Similar to how the Golden State Warriors use Steph Curry’s “gravity” as a long-range shooter to boost their offense without him dominating the ball, the Huskies should use Green’s deep shooting ability to attract defenders’ attention and create more space and more opportunities for his Huskies teammates.
The Huskies will have many very skilled scorers that can take advantage of opportunities both beyond and inside the new three-point distance, including Naz Carter, RaeQuan Battle, and Jaden McDaniels who are all explosive athletes.
The Huskies coaches should plan in advance to run an offense that takes advantage of Green’s unique ability as a deep-shooting point guard — as well as the long-range shooting ability of Carter, Battle, and McDaniels — by emphasizing spacing, passing and the ability to read on/off-ball situations, instead of relying heavily on iso ball.
Learning these offensive concepts prior to Green’s eligibility will make the transition smoother and give the offense an immediate boost whenever Green is eligible to play.