KU three-point shot charts: Naadir Tharpe's hot spot and other quirks

To get a better feel for the Kansas men's basketball team's long-range tendencies, I consulted's shot charts and marked down the location of each three-pointer taken by KU's five most frequent outside shooters.

Green Xs are made threes, while red Xs are missed threes.

Let's take a closer look.

Point guards

Elijah Johnson

Elijah Johnson by Jesse Newell

Johnson's made threes are distributed fairly evenly, though his go-to spot appears to be the left-side wing. Half of the senior's threes have come from that area (10-for-24 shooting, 41.7 percent).

Naadir Tharpe

Naadir Tharpe by Jesse Newell

Talk about a hot spot. Tharpe thrives on the left side as well, but he's best just the left of the circle. Tharpe is 8-for-8 in that location this year, but when he moves farther left down the perimeter, he's 0-for-8. It's a small sample size but interesting nonetheless.

Shooting guards/wings

Travis Releford

Travis Releford by Jesse Newell

Releford appears to be most comfortable on the right wing, as he's made six of nine shots from that location (66.7 percent). Also notice that 21 of Releford's 36 three-point tries have come from the right side (58 percent). He doesn't appear to be a fan of shooting from the deep corners, attempting just three shots there while making none.

Andrew White III

Andrew White III by Jesse Newell

There's not as much data yet for White, though I do find it interesting that 19 of his 22 three-point attempts have come in four distinct locations. White also appears to like the straight-on shot, as five of his tries have come from that area (only Johnson has more).

Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore by Jesse Newell

Though I would have bet money a couple days ago that a majority of McLemore's threes were from the corner (doesn't it seem like that?), the shot chart shows that only four of his made threes have been from there. The deep left corner might even be his most inefficient shot, as he's just 3-for-12 in that location (25 percent). McLemore actually is best a few steps away from the left corner, where he's made seven of 10 threes. The freshman doesn't appear to have a glaring weakness, making a three on nearly every spot around the perimeter.



jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago


I would further color code these for date each shot was taken, so we can then see the migratory effect of opposing coaches taking away hot spots for players. For example, I wonder if Ben's cluster of makes occurred and was followed by defenders denying him that spot and giving him the spot farther toward the base line, where he grows less accurate. Or is the effect just random?


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Just watch what yet-another-BillSelf-ku-team does to the Temple University Owls. Recall Temple had knocked off the #1 team 2yrs ago, and their fans were calling for the Jayhawks by name...well, the MorrisHawks went and blew the Temple Owls outta their own gym. What a hoot! Ya wont hear 2 hoots outta them on Monday, just sayin...


Grouch Lives 1 year, 3 months ago

Let's assume Jesse just gave away the store. What's this tell the opposition?

"Okay, let's not guard the KU guards when they are at top of the key. Woops, that may not always work. Okay, let's not guard them at a thirty-degree angle from the free throw line. Oh, that may not be too wise. Then, let's give them the shot from the left corner, especially that McLemore kid. Well, his average is pretty good, so what if he starts making the open 3? Gosh darn it, KU doesn't really have a spot on the floor we should just give them!"

Frankly, the information Jesse provided will only tell opposing coaches one thing - that they should probably defend the 3 because we shoot it pretty darn well. And if that defensive concept was not already in their plan, then we get to shoot lights out!

If I were playing KU, I'd want to play defense every KU offensive play and score on every possession. If we placed ourselves in the right place to be lucky, we might get the win. The whole argument that Newell showed too much so others can "plan their strategy" is a lack of recognition of the former Kansan Dwight D. Eisenhower's comment that "plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”


kusayzone 1 year, 3 months ago

ho hum..everyone knows what is everyone's pockets. Jesse does not accoumt for the Self factor. You shoot when HCBS tells you to based on the matchups..Pretty pictures though.


AznSnSaTioN 1 year, 3 months ago

Great information, thanks Jesse. With and inside, outside game like KU is playing right now it will be hard to stop the Jayhawks.


stockhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Echo those who are saying that any team that could've benefitted from this chart does not deserve to be on the same floor as KU. Mildly preposterous claim you guys. So rather than suggesting that Jesse is somehow giving an unfair advantage to the Temple owls, let's just appreciate the fact that he is providing consistently solid analysis that, as he mentioned, takes a lot of work to put together (if you're not using Synergy :) ) I, for one, am enormously interested in this stuff, and if nothing else, I can impress my friends next time I watch a game.

Thanks for putting it together, Jesse.


justinryman 1 year, 3 months ago

As John Wooded once said, and I am paraphrasing a bit, but, We will give you are plays and tell you when we are going to run them. But we will still score on them because we run them so well.


KGphoto 1 year, 3 months ago

I mentioned this data in the article about our defensive 3pt. shooting percentages. Jesse, can you show us where Temple's hot and not-so-hot spots are? (Maybe it will help silence the paranoids, by leveling the playing field for Bill. Lol.)

Yes, of course Bill already knows, especially since you mentioned the detailed recon Synergy has made available, but can we see it too? Exactly how you've laid this out? I'd like to see how, or IF, we work defensively to keep shooters out of those spots on Sunday.

Good stuff. Thanks Jesse.


Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 3 months ago

Off topic....

Will someone...anyone...join me in a "Go Ducks!"?


Vernon Riggs 1 year, 3 months ago

If you are the Temple coaching staff and relying on JNewell to scout the toughest team that you will be playing on your schedule this season, wave the white flag now! Let them make a game plan to stop the Jayhawks 3-point shooting. That same CBSsports data shows that the Jayhawks score more than 65% of their points within 3-feet of the basket. Stop the trey and it will rain dunks and lay-ups all night. Let the Temple coaching staff come up with their best plan with or without JNewell. In the wise words of Mike Tyson, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”


msezdsit 1 year, 3 months ago

Ok, the heck with being nice about:



msezdsit 1 year, 3 months ago

All very interesting but did you ever consider that doing our upcoming opponents scouting report might not be the best thing. I have. Wonder what Bill thinks. Sure the opposing coaches will probably figure this stuff out but let them stay up until 3 in morning doing it instead of giving them a template. Just something that occurred to me while reading your explanation of the inbounds plays at ohio state. You just might be doing a disservice to the hawks.


milehighhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Thanks, Jesse!

--University of Temple


Ferd Magellan 1 year, 3 months ago

Great analysis. I think reason McLemore has a high number of attempts on the left side is due to a couple of set plays Self has used since Rush to give our best shooters and open look on that end. One of them is an end of the half play, the other is a good half court play. One of the bigs sets an off-ball screen for McLemore that often leaves him open on the left side. We tried running it a couple times for White but he was blocked both times.


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