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The Chase for 180: Phil Forte III’s shooting key factor for Oklahoma State

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Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

Trailing 47-30 at the half at then-No. 15 Kansas on Saturday afternoon, Travis Ford’s Oklahoma State Cowboys needed a spark. The Cowboys shot just 30.8% from the field, with sophomore guard Phil Forte III accounting for three of their eight made field goals. Forte would keep going in the second half, knocking down four more shots from beyond the arc to help get Oklahoma State back into the game, a contest they would lose 80-78. Forte’s final numbers: a season-high 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field (7-for-10 3PT).

The sophomore from Flower Mound, Texas has been a valuable reserve for Oklahoma State in each of his two seasons in Stillwater, but this season he’s doing so in a more efficient manner. After shooting 37.0% from the field and 33.8% from beyond the arc as a freshman, Forte’s made 50% of his three-pointers and is shooting 47.4% from the field overall through 18 games. As a result his effective field goal and true shooting percentages have made significant improvements as well.

Forte isn’t asked to create many of his shots off the dribble, with Markel Brown and Marcus Smart being the ones on the perimeter who get those opportunities within the Oklahoma State offense. Their ability to make plays off the dribble results in shot attempts for players such as Forte, with a high number of his shots being of the assisted variety.

According to hoop-math.com nearly 80% of the shots Forte’s attempted this season have been three-pointers, with 94.3% of his makes from beyond the arc being assisted. Against Kansas six of Forte’s seven made three-pointers were assisted, with five different Cowboys assisting on those shots. Forte’s possession percentage may currently rank fifth on the team but his shot-making ability is clearly something Oklahoma State needs in order to be at its best offensively.

Through 18 games that’s been the case, helping to make Oklahoma State one of the better offensive teams in the country.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Jason Calliste (Oregon)
49.5% FG, 54.3% 3PT, 88.1% FT = 191.9
Shot %: 14.7%
eFG %: 61.7%
True shooting %: 71.0%

2) Matt Kennedy (Charleston Southern) 
48.3%, 52.9%, 87.8% = 189.0
Shot %: 18.7%
eFG %: 55.8%
True shooting %: 60.9%

3) Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State)
47.4%, 50.0%, 90.6% = 188
Shot %: 23.2%
eFG %: 67.3%
True shooting %: 71.8%

4) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
61.0%, 54.8%, 71.2% = 187.0
Shot %: 19.0%
eFG %: 69.3%
True shooting %: 70.3%

5) Anthony Brown (Stanford)
51.4%, 50.9%, 83.3% = 185.6
Shot %: 18.8%
eFG %: 60.8%
True shooting %: 64.8%

6) Doug McDermott (Creighton)
50.2, 44.0, 90.3 = 184.5
Shot %: 37.1%
eFG %: 57.6%
True shooting %: 63.0

7) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
46.0%, 48.2%, 90.2% = 184.4
Shot %: 17.1%
eFG %: 64.4%
True shooting %: 70.3%

8) Billy Baron (Canisius) 
47.1%, 45.3%, 91.3% = 183.7
Shot %: 28.0%
eFG %: 57.5%
True shooting %: 63.7%

9) Jarvis Summers (Ole Miss)
51.6%, 53.4%, 78.5% = 183.5
Shot %: 25.3%
eFG %: 59.9%
True shooting %: 64.8%

10) Trevor Releford (Alabama)
50.3%, 39.6%, 91.7% = 181.6
Shot %: 28.7%
eFG %: 59.9%
True shooting %: 64.4

Inside the Arc (five or fewer three-point attempts)

1) Dominique McKoy (Duquesne)
FG %: 68.1%
Three-point attempts: 0-for-2

2) Joel Embiid (Kansas)
FG %: 67.9%
Three-point attempts: 1-for-4

3) Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State)
FG %: 67.0%
Three-point attempts: none

4) Ladon Carter (Tennessee Tech) 
FG %: 66.7%
Three-point attempts: none

5) Ryan Rhoomes (Fordham) 
FG %: 66.3%
Three-point attempts: none

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.