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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 20, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Final free throw numbers

As became obvious long ago, the single-biggest problem the Huskies had this season was shooting free throws.
Now that the season is over, let’s look at some of the numbers.
UW hit 403-688 for the season, a percentage of 58.6 that is the worst in school history except for a 57.5 mark in 2000-01.
It was a 14 percent drop from last season when the Huskies hit 460-635 (72.4), interestingly attempting 53 more free throws this year (playing just one more game) despite all those missed front ends of one-and-ones that surely would have resulted in an average of one or two more attempts per game (UW missed the front ends of three straight one-and-ones down the stretch last night, for instance).
Part of the reason for the drop is that UW lost a few of its better FT shooters after last season — Spencer Hawes shot 75 percent, Adrian Oliver 77 percent and Hans Gasser 77 percent among players who shot enough free throws to make a difference statistically.
But every returning player this year was simply worse at the line than they had been previously, most by a significant percentage. Here’s a look:
Jon Brockman — 66 percent in 2007 (103-156); 51.9 percent in 2008 (94-181)
Justin Dentmon — 79.8 percent in 2007 (83-104); 70.6 percent in 2008 (77-109)
Quincy Pondexter — 76 percent in 2007 (76-100): 68.5 percent in 2008 (76-111)
Ryan Appleby — 92.7 percent in 2007 (38-41); 85.2 percent in 2008 (23-27);
Artem Wallace — 35.9 percent in 2007 (14-39); 23.3 percent in 2008 (10-43).
And the Huskies replaced some of the guys who left with players who weren’t as good at the line.
Tim Morris shot 59.1 percent (26-44), Venoy Overton 65.9 percent (60-91), and Matthew Bryan-Amaning 34.8 percent (16-46). Even Joel Smith, a 76 percent shooter his first two years before missing last season, returned to a much worse percentage, shooting 57.9 percent (11-19).
All the things I hear other coaches say they do to improve their team’s free throw shooting are the things UW coaches say they do — shoot before and after practice; attempt to simulate game conditions by shooting free throws in the middle of practice or during practice, etc.
Players seemed to say it was a mental thing, something that grew contagious after a while.
“That’s one of the things we need to focus on this summer as a whole,” Smith said after the Valpo loss.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar says the Huskies will make it a definite focus of the off-season. But he also said the team should be better next year simply because the three incoming guards — Isaiah Thomas, Elston Turner Jr. and Scott Suggs — are all good free throw shooters.
He also wonders if Brockman’s troubles might have been due in part to having to do so much this season, and Dentmon maybe not being as comfortable while adjusting to a new role.
Whatever the cure, the Huskies have to hope they find one — as of March 16, UW ranked dead last in the nation (328 out of 328 teams ranked) in free throw shooting.

Comments | Topics: Scott Suggs

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