Trevor Releford

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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

Trevor Releford sinks game-winner in Alabama’s win over Ole Miss (VIDEO)

APTOPIX Georgia Alabama Basketball
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Trevor Releford scored 21 of his game-high 26 in the second half; the biggest shot coming in the final seconds to give Alabama a 67-64 win over Ole Miss, snapping the Crimson Tide’s four-game losing streak and delivering the Rebels a tough loss in the process.

Ole Miss still sit third in the SEC standings behind Florida and Kentucky. After its upcoming game against Georgia, Ole Miss has a difficult back-to-back against the Wildcats and Gators, though both of those are at home. The Rebels then get another crack agains the Crimson Tide, the finale of their three-game home stand.

The Rebels had just earned a win over Missouri this weekend, helping their case to be on the bubble. But a loss to Alabama, coupled with his lack of non-conference wins, is a real blow to their tournament hopes.

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

Lingering hip issue bothering Alabama senior guard Trevor Releford

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In its’ 59-45 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday, Alabama failed to reach the 60-point mark for the first time this season. One reason for the relative lack of the offensive production was the absence of starting guard Trevor Releford, who was held out of the game due to what was termed as “precautionary reasons.”

The reason for the move: Releford’s been dealing with a lingering hip injury, and according to Michael Casagrande of AL.com the point guard’s status for Alabama’s game against No. 12 Wichita State has yet to be decided.

A lingering hip “aggravation” was the reason they shut him down for the night. It bothered him since before the team’s trip to New York on Thanksgiving weekend.

“It just needs to get better,” Grant said. “It’s limiting his mobility a little bit. We just made a decision that he needed to let it calm down a little bit and get back. It shouldn’t be anything long term.”

Releford currently leads three Crimson Tide scoring in double figures with an average of 16.4 points to go along with 2.2 assists per game. Releford factors into 25.2% of Alabama’s possessions this season, and he’s playing an average of 32.9 minutes per game (fellow guard Retin Obasohan is tied for the lead in minutes). Given how Wichita State can get after opponents defensively, a less than 100% Releford (or no Releford at all) would make things very difficult on Alabama.

They’ll have their work cut out for them either way, but Alabama needs Releford on the floor if they’re to have a shot at upsetting the Shockers.

Alabama needs OT to dispatch of D-II team in exhibition

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Alabama’s season hasn’t exactly gotten off to an ideal start, as the Crimson Tide needed overtime to dispatch of Division II West Georgia in an exhibition game on Monday night.

Trevor Releford, who finished the game with 27 points but just a single assist, hit two free throws with a couple of seconds left on the clock to force the extra period. Alabama pulled away down the stretch, as the 65-64 final score was the result of an inconsequential, buzzer-beating three.

“To be honest with you, I feel like we had a lot of guys play out of character today,” coach Anthony Grant said. “First game in front of a crowd for some of our guys, we didn’t handle it well. We had some veterans that didn’t play like veterans today.

“Like I said, I think we’re better than that. We’ve got to look in the mirror to what we did and what we didn’t do. We just have to be better. With Oklahoma coming up on Friday, we can’t expect to have a chance to win if we go out and play like we played today.”

The Tide got pounded on the glass, giving up 22 offensive rebounds to a team that was outrebounded by Jacksonville State in an exhibition game earlier this month.

Exhibition games are really not all that big of a deal, as it’s the first chance that these teams are getting to play in real game situations. Playing in front of a sparse crowd in a game that doesn’t matter against a team you’ve never heard of isn’t exactly going to get these athletes fired up, either. Add in the fact that the coaching staff works through kinks and tries out different sets and different defenses to see what actually works, and there are times where you get results like this.

Alabama isn’t exactly considered a lock for the NCAA tournament this season, but make sure to always take results like this with a grain of salt.

Alabama and UCLA schedule home-and-home series

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As teams begin to solidify their non-conference schedules for the 2013-14 season, it has been reported that UCLA will host Alabama next season with the Bruins traveling to Alabama the following year.

Anthony Grant may have his best team in next season his fifth in Tuscaloosa even with Trevor Lacey transferring out of the program. While Lacey’s decision to transfer is certainly a major blow as he was a double digit scorer and averaged better than three assists and rebounds as a sophomore, Trevor Releford returns and highly touted center Jimmie Taylor should be one of the better freshmen in the SEC.

UCLA, meanwhile, begins anew with first year head coach Steve Alford–out are Ben Howland and his prized recruit Shabazz Muhammad. Alford still has plenty of pieces to work with as rising sophomores Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams will make for a strong nucleus.

 

This is a nice series for both schools pitting upper-tier Pac-12 and SEC teams against one another.

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11