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The Chase for 180: Riley Grabau utilizing increased opportunities

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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.

As a sophomore, Wyoming guard Riley Grabau started 30 of the 32 games in which he played but averaged just 6.0 points per game while shooting 35.2% from the field and 32.3% from beyond the arc. With seniors Derrious Gilmore and Leonard Washington leading the team in scoring and both boasting shot percentages around 26%, Grabau was in the position of being a supplementary piece for the Cowboys.

With those two out of eligibility it was clear that there would be more opportunities for players such as Grabau, and to this point in the season he’s taken advantage. Averaging 11.5 points per game, Grabau’s raised his shooting percentages to 45.4% from the field, 46.7% from three and 90.8% from the foul line. According to hoop-math.com nearly 74% of Grabau’s shots have been three-pointers, and he’s avoided taking many of the two-point jumpers (14.3% of his shots) that he hasn’t converted at a particularly high rate thus far (26.9% FG on those shots).

The key for Grabau down the stretch is whether or not he can build on the two games he put together last week, averaging 17.5 points per game in wins over then-No. 5 San Diego State and San Jose State. Against the Aztecs Grabau connected on five of his nine shot attempts from the field, shooting 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Grabau followed that game up with a 5-for-11 afternoon against San Jose State, performing well offensively in a game that was anything but an offensive masterpiece (Wyoming won, 46-38).

So why would those games be so important moving forward? Wyoming’s lost leading scorer Larry Nance Jr. for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, which he suffered in their win over Fresno State on Tuesday night. Nance leads Wyoming in shot percentage (27.0%), and the Cowboys will need to find a way to account for the 15.4 points per game (and 8.6 rebounds/game) that he provided if they’re to build on their current three-game win streak.

Among the players who will be asked to do more is Grabau, who scored just six points on Tuesday night (1-for-6 FG). But even with that effort, overall the junior guard has made strides within Larry Shyatt’s system. Can he take another step forward? The Cowboys certainly hope that will be the case.

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) Matt Kennedy (Charleston Southern)
51.0% FG, 51.9% 3PT, 90.8% 3PT = 193.7
Shot %: 19.2
eFG %: 59.0
True shooting %: 63.8

2) Jason Calliste (Oregon)
52.9, 51.2, 84.8 = 188.9
Shot %: 17.0
eFG %: 66.3
True shooting %: 71.9

3) Doug McDermott (Creighton)
51.3, 44.4, 90.1 = 185.8
Shot %: 38.0
eFG %: 58.5
True shooting %: 63.6

4) Brett Olson (Denver)
48.0, 42.5, 93.4 = 183.9
Shot %: 22.6
eFG %: 57.7
True shooting %: 64.0

5) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
45.4, 46.7, 90.8 = 182.9
Shot %: 18.0
eFG %: 63.2
True shooting %: 68.9

6) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
59.3, 50.0, 72.7 = 182.0
Shot %: 18.7
eFG %: 67.4
True shooting %: 69.0

7) Johnny Dee (San Diego)
43.9, 43.9, 93.3 = 181.1
Shot %: 30.4
eFG %: 54.6
True shooting %: 60.3

8) Trevor Releford (Alabama)
50.5, 40.1, 90.5 = 181.1
Shot %: 27.5
eFG %: 60.0
True shooting %: 65.5

9) Anthony Brown (Stanford)
49.1, 49.4, 81.8 = 180.3
Shot %: 18.9
eFG %: 58.3
True shooting %: 62.8

10) Tyler Haws (BYU)
47.8, 44.2, 87.2 = 179.2
Shot %: 31.2
eFG %: 51.8
True shooting %: 59.4

Inside the Arc (zero three-point attempts)

1) F Curtis Washington (Georgia State)
66.9% FG, 1.59 points/shot

2) C Sim Bhullar (New Mexico State)
66.1% FG, 1.71 points/shot

3) F Marquise Simmons (St. Bonaventure)
64.1% FG, 1.56 points/shot

4) F Jameel Warney (Stony Brook)
63.9% FG, 1.54 points/shot

5) F Marshall Bjorklund (North Dakota State)
63.6% FG, 1.54 points/shot

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29
February 5
February 12

The Chase for 180: Taking Tyler Haws for granted

Tyler Haws, Damyean Dotson
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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