Tyler Haws, Damyean Dotson

The Chase for 180: Taking Tyler Haws for granted

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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.

After returning from his two-year LDS mission a few months before the start of the 2012-13 season, BYU junior guard Tyler Haws had some adjustments to make. From a personnel standpoint gone were Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery, with Fredette taking the nation by storm with his prolific scoring ability during the 2009-10 season and Emery also being a valuable cog in that particular team’s attack. That change not only meant that Haws (11.3 ppg in 2009-10) would have more opportunities to score, but also that BYU would need him to hit the ground running.

Add in the school’s move from the Mountain West to the West Coast Conference, and Haws would also need to do this while adjusting to new opponents and styles of plays. It’s safe to say that Haws handled his return to college basketball very well, scoring 21.7 points per game while shooting 48.3% from the field and 38.1% from beyond the arc. It became commonplace to see Haws scoring 25 points or more, and the same can be said for Haws’ production in 2013-14.

Now averaging 24.6 points per game, Haws has become a much better three-point shooter (up to 46.5%) while maintaining his field goal (47.8%) and free throw (88.0; 87.7 last season) percentages. Through 22 games (Haws missed two games in November) Haws has scored 25 points or more in ten games, most notably racking up 48 points in a triple-overtime loss at Portland on January 23, and of those ten games he’s scored at least 30 in seven of them.

Given how good Haws has been for BYU it makes you wonder if his production has been taken for granted, and this is something head coach Dave Rose mentioned after his junior guard scored 33 in a win over Saint Mary’s on Saturday.

“That’s amazing that he’s been as good and consistent as he’s been,” Rose said. “I think even you guys (the media) are starting to overlook (that).

“He’s always been really good for us in closing out games,” Rose said of Haws, whose number was retired at Lone Peak High last Friday night. “He was good again (Saturday). You’ve got to give so much credit to Ty because of the work he puts in, the skill level that he has, and the consistency that he plays with. The rest of our team — you look at Matt (Carlino) and Kyle (Collinsworth), they deliver the ball to him in the right spot at the right time to do what he does.”

Haws, while certainly a proficient shooter from beyond the arc, tends to do the majority of his work inside of the three-point line. According to hoop-math.com just 19.5% of his shot attempts this season have been three-pointers, with two-point jumpers making up 60.2% of his shot attempts. Haws has made 39.5% of those shots, and when combined with the fact that he converts when at the rim (70.3% shooting on those looks) the end result is a player who’s both an elite shooter and an elite scorer.

Haws is the first line (if not paragraph) on every opponent’s scouting report and with good reason. The various ways in which he can score makes for a tough matchup night in and night out, and that will continue to be the case. The task for us observers is to not take that for granted.

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) 
52.9% FG, 51.4% 3PT, 88.2% FT = 192.5
Shot %: 17.0
eFG %: 65.9
True shooting %: 72.5

2) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
45.7, 48.0, 91.7 = 185.4
Shot %: 17.4
eFG %: 63.7
True shooting %: 69.7

3) Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State)
45.8, 47.3, 91.8 = 184.9
Shot %: 22.0
eFG %: 64.2
True shooting %: 69.0

4) Doug McDermott (Creighton) 
50.0, 43.9, 89.3 = 183.2
Shot %: 37.9
eFG %: 57.5
True shooting %: 62.5

5) Max DiLeo (Monmouth)
55.1, 53.1, 75.0 = 183.2
Shot %: 15.9
eFG %: 67.3
True shooting %: 69.5

6) Billy Baron (Canisius)
47.4, 44.6, 90.7 = 182.7
Shot %: 28.4
eFG %: 57.9
True shooting %: 64.3

7) Tyler Haws (BYU)
47.8, 46.5, 88.0 = 182.3
Shot %: 31.0
eFG %: 52.3
True shooting %: 60.1

8) Johnny Dee (San Diego)
44.6, 43.9, 92.9 = 181.4
Shot %: 30.5
eFG %: 55.4
True shooting %: 60.8

9) Brett Olson (Denver) 
48.1, 40.6, 92.5 = 181.2
Shot %: 22.0
eFG %: 56.9
True shooting %: 63.5

10) Jarvis Summers (Ole Miss)
50.8, 52.2, 77.8 = 180.8
Shot %: 25.1
eFG %: 58.1
True shooting %: 632.8

Inside the Arc (zero three-point attempts) 

1) C Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State)
66.7% FG, 1.76 points per shot

2) F Steve Forbes (IPFW)
66.5% FG, 1.77 points per shot

3) F Curtis Washington (Georgia State)
65.3% FG, 1.57 points per shot

4) Jameel Warney (Stony Brook)
64.8% FG, 1.55 points per shot

5) Marquise Simmons (St. Bonaventure)
63.7% FG, 1.56 points per shot

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29

Self pays freshman Jackson a major compliment

Josh Jackson, from Napa, Calif.,, dunks over Nancy Mulkey, from Cypress, Texas, as he competes in the slam dunk contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Freshman phenom production under Bill Self has been something of a contentious topic. Many fault the coach, who has won one national title and 12-straight Big 12 championships, for not developing one-and-done talent to their fullest potential during their single-season stays in Lawrence. Cliff Alexander and Cheick Diallo are Exhibit 1-A and 1-B for this argument in recent years.

Whatever outside criticism there is (Andrew Wiggins did go No. 1 overall just 2 years ago, after all), Self isn’t shying away from hyping the latest freshman with big expectations to come to KU. When asked who the greatest athlete of all-time is at the school’s annual Tradition Night last week, Self had a simple, if tongue-and-cheek, response.

“I’ll say Josh Jackson,” Self said of the the 6-foot-8 shooting guard ranked No. 1 in his class, according to Lawrence Journal-World.

With others answering with the likes of Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, it’s pretty fair to say Self was playing to the crowd with the answer, but it’s still telling that he was willing to deliver such a sound bite, even if it was before a welcoming audience. Self didn’t try to seriously depress expectations for Wiggins, a player Jackson is often compared to, and it looks like he won’t for Jackson as well.

Jackson, though, won’t have the burden Wiggins had as there’s one of the country’s best backcourts in Frank Mason II and Devonte Graham to help shoulder the workload for the Jayhawks.

 

ACC non-commital on HB2 stance

John Swofford
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With North Carolina unwilling to rescind their controversial so-called bathroom bill, the NBA has withdrawn its All-Star Game from the state this year and numerous high-profile music acts have canceled performances as a result.

The ACC is declining to join them with a hard-line, or really any, position.

“We don’t want to damage our league with any premature decisions,” commissioner John Swofford said on The David Glenn Show. “We’ll just see how it plays out.”

The ACC, of course, has quite the presence in the state with North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest all in the Tar Heel State. Swofford’s comments are sure to draw the interest of the LGBT community, which has roundly been critical of the bill, which requires people to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, and has recently been active in college athletics, opposing the Big 12’s potential inclusion of BYU in its expansion plans over concerns of the Church of Latter Day Saints school’s honor code.

North Carolina’s bill has also drawn the eye of the NCAA, which is requiring potential championship sights to provide information on local anti-discrimination laws.

One of the loudest voices in the ACC, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, has come out against the law.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Coach K said last month.

The Champions Classic renewed through 2019

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Champions Classic is back, baby!!!

On Wednesday, the four schools that participate in the event — Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State — announced that they have signed deals to extend the life of the doubleheader for another three years.

This is terrific news. The Champions Classic is always the best early-season event of the season, an annual double-header that always ends up putting together two of the best non-conference games in packed NBA arenas. This year, it features Duke, the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country, squaring off with Kansas, who is a consensus top three team with the No. 1 freshman in the class, Josh Jackson, on their roster, in one game.

The other game? Kentucky, the third consensus top three team nationally, going up against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, who will be, at worst, a top 15 team in the preseason polls.

So yeah, we’re going to get a pair of sensational basketball games in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15th. MSG also just so happens to be the best arena to watch a great neutral site basketball game.

It’s going to be awesome.

There’s only one possible way to make it better: turn it into a two-day event, with the winners squaring off for the Champions Classic title the following night.

Make it happen.

Anyway, here’s the schedule:

Nov. 14, 2017 (United Center, Chicago)
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Duke vs. Michigan State

Nov. 13, 2018 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)
Michigan State vs. Kansas
Duke vs. Kentucky

Nov. 12, 2019 (Madison Square Garden, New York)
Kansas vs. Duke
Michigan State vs. Kentucky

Hartford makes smart decision to allow ‘Pancake’ Thomas transfer

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Hartford coach John Gallagher, AP Photo
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Another talented graduate transfer has hit the market.

Cleveland ‘Pancake’ Thomas — that’s a helluva name, isn’t it? — has been granted a release by Hartford and will be allowed to transfer to another program for his fifth season.

“Our biggest priority for Cleveland was that he graduate from the University of Hartford with a valuable degree,” Hartford head coach John Gallagher said in a statement released to ESPN after some speculation that Thomas wasn’t going to be given a release. “That happened. Beyond wishing him the very best, we don’t comment on other program’s players. We are very excited about our group and the upcoming season.”

The term “release” is needed here because Thomas, a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 18.9 points and shot 42.6 percent from three this past season, spent his first two years of eligibility at New Mexico. A graduate transfer exception is granted to any player making their first transfer after receiving an undergraduate degree. But since Pancake had already transferred once, he was only eligible to apply for a graduate transfer waiver, which the school he is leaving must support.

Remember the saga of Todd O’Brien? He tried to leave St. Joseph’s to spend his fifth-year at UAB but made headlines everywhere when Phil Martelli wouldn’t let it happen? That’s because O’Brien had started his career at Bucknell and needed Martelli to support the waiver.

Gallagher could have done the same to Pancake.

He made the right decision not to — Martelli has enough coaching cache to withstand the onslaught on criticism he received, I’m not sure that is true for Gallagher — even if it will result in Thomas playing elsewhere, hence the cold-hearted nature of that statement.

Anyway, Thomas never averaged more than 3.9 points at New Mexico, so while he’s a tantalizing prospect for programs that are dying for perimeter depth and shooting, this isn’t exactly a kid that’s going to launch himself into the NBA Draft’s first round by jumping up to a higher level.

Shawn Forrest named assistant coach for Jankovich at SMU

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22:  Head coach Larry Brown (L) and associate head coach Tim Jankovich of the Southern Methodist Mustangs look on during the team's game against the Kent State Golden Flashes during the 2015 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on December 22, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southern Methodist won 90-74. The game marks Brown's return from a nine-game suspension.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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DALLAS (AP) Shawn Forrest has been named an assistant basketball coach at SMU, his third school since the end of last season.

Mustangs coach Tim Jankovich announced Forrest’s hiring Tuesday.

Forrest spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Western Kentucky before head coach Ray Harper resigned. Forrest was named a UTSA assistant in May, but two weeks later left for Louisiana Tech before the unexpected opening at SMU.

Jankovich was SMU’s associate head coach before the abrupt resignation last month of Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. Forrest fills the open assistant spot created on the staff when Jankovich was promoted to head coach.

Before Western Kentucky, Forrest was an assistant coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas, Arkansas State and Florida A&M.