Wanted: 3-point shooters for KU team seeking to replace nearly all of its outside shooting from 2017-18 season


Outgoing Jayhawks, from left to right, Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman during the 2017-18 season teamed with Lagerald Vick and others to set a school record with 391 3-pointers, shattering the old mark of 218. With those four players leaving Lawrence in the offseason, KU coach Bill Self will be seeking to replace a whopping 94.4 percent of his 3-point makes with an almost entirely new crew of guards in 2018-19.

Outgoing Jayhawks, from left to right, Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman during the 2017-18 season teamed with Lagerald Vick and others to set a school record with 391 3-pointers, shattering the old mark of 218. With those four players leaving Lawrence in the offseason, KU coach Bill Self will be seeking to replace a whopping 94.4 percent of his 3-point makes with an almost entirely new crew of guards in 2018-19. by Matt Tait

It's been an explosive run of 3-point shooting for Bill Self's Kansas Jayhawks during the past three seasons. But all signs for the immediate future point to a potential change.

After playing primarily through the post throughout Self's time in charge, the Jayhawks, in three consecutive seasons, set a KU record for 3-pointers made and attempted in a single season. Don't expect that to be the case when the 2018-19 season rolls around. But that does not mean the Jayhawks will abandon the 3-point shot altogether.

“We may not make a school record, but we'll still be OK,” Self told the Journal-World on Monday. “Perimeter shooting is a concern, but not from the standpoint of how many 3-pointers we make. More from the point of do we run good offense and get open looks.”

KU's record-setting run started in 2015-16, when the first team to crack the 300 mark in school history made 304 triples during its run to the Elite Eight. It continued last year, when Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Frank Mason and Josh Jackson teamed to break that record by knocking in 318 3-pointers during their run to the Elite Eight.

And both marks were shattered this season, when Graham and Mykhailiuk became the first KU teammates to each make 100 3-pointers in a season, joining Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick in making 391 3-pointers to help the Jayhawks get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2012.

Only four Division I teams in power conferences finished the season in the top 15 in 3-point makes this season. And three of them reached the Final Four. Kansas, at third overall, was one of them, with Villanova (464) leading the nation and Michigan (361) ranking 11th. Marquette, with 385, was the other team in that group.

To put those numbers in further perspective, 63 Division I teams made 300 or more 3-pointers this season. That's seven times the number of programs that made that many 3-pointers during the 2010-11 season.

Naturally, that stat might lead one to believe that 3-point shooting is the wave of the future — perhaps at all levels of basketball — and that any program wishing to replicate the success of KU, Villanova or Michigan in 2018 would do well to copy their game plan. While that might make sense on the surface, personnel has a lot to do with it, and the Jayhawks' 2018-19 personnel, at least at this point, does not appear quite as poised to follow in the footsteps of Self's last three teams.

“I think our style will be different, without question,” Self said. “Because I think we'll play two bigs. But I do think one of the bigs, Dedric (Lawson), is a 3-point shooter. I could see him taking as many 3s as Lagerald (Vick, who made 59 of 158 this season).”

If Lawson is able to hit that pace, that will go a long way toward making the transition back to the post a smooth one. The Jayhawks will enter the 2018-19 season seeking to replace the highest percentage of 3-point makes in Self's 15 seasons at KU. And it's not even close.

In all, 369 of the 391 3-pointers made by the 2017-18 Jayhawks, or 94.4 percent, will be gone when next season tips off, with only Marcus Garrett's 12 triples, six from Mitch Lightfoot and two each from Sam Cunliffe and walk-on Chris Teahan returning.

Only once before in Self's 15 years at KU, has he had to replace even 80 percent of a team's 3-point shooting and that came after the 2004-05 season, when Self said goodbye to 157 of his team's 198 3-point makes, which were dropped in primarily by J.R. Giddens, Keith Langford, Michael Lee, Aaron Miles and Alex Galindo.

All five of those players were gone after the 2004-05 season, but Self had the luxury of replacing them with a class that included Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush, both players who finished their careers in the Top 10 on KU's all-time 3-point list.

It remains to be seen how well the incoming Jayhawks shoot the ball next season, but, as of today, none of KU's new perimeter players are known first for their 3-point prowess.

Freshman Devon Dotson is more of a pure point guard who attacks the basket. Freshman Quentin Grimes is a versatile combo guard. And transfer Charlie Moore, who red-shirted this season, shot 35.2 percent (45 of 128) during his freshman season at Cal. KU remains in pursuit of Romeo Langford, the No. 5-ranked player in the 2018 class who is expected to pick between Kansas, Indiana and Vanderbilt by the end of the month.

Langford (36 percent) and Grimes (38.6) were both high-volume shooters in high school who showed the ability to get hot from the outside from time to time.

Lawson, who nearly averaged a double-double during his final season at Memphis (2016-17), made 32.2 percent (48 of 149) of his 3-point attempts during his two seasons with the Tigers.

“No matter who you have out there, you're going to make at least 200 or 250,” Self said. “So I don't worry about those kind of numbers. We're obviously losing a lot, but the losses always seem exaggerated because who's going to replace them, just by default, will be shooting a large percentage of those 3-pointers lost. I think what you have to look at is the difference. How do you make up the difference between 7.5 and 10 a game? And you probably do that by going inside more.”

— Here's a quick look at the percentage of 3-point makes that each of Bill Self's KU teams have had to replace from the season before. —

KU season % of 3-point makes KU had to replace
from previous season
2018-19 94.4
2017-18 37.1
2016-17 46.1
2015-16 16.0
2014-15 58.2
2013-14 76.9
2012-13 50.0
2011-12 70.8
2010-11 57.3
2009-10 0.0
2008-09 77.5
2007-08 1.3
2006-07 31.7
2005-06 79.2
2004-05 2.1
2003-04 55.7


Pius Waldman 4 years, 2 months ago

Watching I think Langford is a very capable trey shooter. Man Self should use every trick in the trade to have him join the team.It appears he has made the decision but is not making it public yet. Teammates have a chance to encourage his signing. Fans need to let him know he should be Jayhawk bound.

Matt Stone 4 years, 2 months ago

KU checks every box on his wish list but one, not as close to home as other 2. Hopefully not a deal breaker. Would be exciting to get him and would think he would make this team a Final 4 team at the very least. Next year is going to be fun to watch. The depth will be incredible. Hope we hand Villanova a blistering loss! RCJH!

Bryce Landon 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm not worried. Someone will fill the void when it comes to three-point shooting. Someone always does.

Craig Carson 4 years, 2 months ago

I personally will be glad to see the 3 pt barrage go long as KU has enough 3 pt shooting to make teams play them honest then thats good enough

Lex Valdez 4 years, 2 months ago

Moore, Dotson, Grimes, Lawson bros, and hopefully Langford will give us plenty of range from beyond the arc next season... RCJH!

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 4 years, 2 months ago

I’d like to see the 3 point line in college finally moved back at least a foot. The 3 point field goal has become too important to the college game.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 4 years, 2 months ago

On a somewhat unrelated topic, I haven't seen Vick listed on any NBA draft board. On the surface, it seems like a mistake to leave early.
Likewise, I can't imagine Dok being drafted either. He's going to be good - even better I should say -, but he has a lot to work on. At this point, his game doesn't seem to translate well to the NBA with more and more big men who can shoot and stretch defenses away from the basket (see Villanova).
I don't know either of their personal situations however and if they do decide to leave I'll wish them nothing but the best of luck.

[''] 4 years, 2 months ago

Vick had to know he wasn't going to the NBA draft. I bet he was told he could get an international contract for a handsome fee and thought maybe he could improve his game enough to get to the NBA down the road. But that rarely happens. He and mom wanted to get paid now. And that's understandable.

Robert Brock 4 years, 2 months ago

I would like to see Coach Self develop a defense that could chase opposing 3-point shooters off the line like Villanova did to KU. That feature produces success also.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 2 months ago

It will be nice to have two bigs again. KU has always out-rebounded opponents and it was tough last year to see us getting clobbered on the boards. The 3 ball kept us alive, but with that substantially gone next year we will need to return to being Chairman of the Boards.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 2 months ago

I would like to see a rule change that de-incentivizes the three-point shot other than just moving back the three point line.

I like the way that the NIT trials rule changes. I would like the NIT to trial this rule change next year, and if it seems to work pretty well then maybe try to implement it in Division 3 after that.

Change the scoring of made baskets. Increase the scoring from 2 point to 3 points for made field goals inside the arc. Increase the scoring from 3 to 4 for made field goals beyond the arc.

For fouls in the act of shooting, forgo the free throws and just award the points. After a set number of team fouls in the period, for fouls not in the act of shooting, award 2 free throw attempts and the ball.

It's a pretty drastic change, but I think that it would reduce the number of three point attempts by reducing the scoring premium awarded for them, improve the pace of play by eliminating free throw trips for fouls in the act of shooting, reduce the amount of fouling because of the increased penalty for fouls in the act of shooting or in the bonus, and de-incentivize the "hack-a-" strategy by giving the ball back to the team that is shooting free throws in the bonus.

I like a lot of things about this potential change... the only thing that I don't like is that it eliminates the opportunity for free throw rebounds... basically any foul not in the act of shooting after a team reaches the bonus is penalized like a technical foul.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 4 years, 2 months ago

Very interesting. I'd heard of some of (but not all) the changes you mention. I too don't like the 50% premium for a three pointer or the "hack-a" strategy at the end of games.
I'm not sure of how likely it is that any of these changes can be implemented as these would be the biggest change to the rules since the 3 pointer, but it sure would be interesting to watch. Thanks for posting.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 2 months ago

yeah, they will never happen. But if I were commissioner of the NBA I'd at least give them a try in summer league, or if I were president of the NCAA I'd give them a shot in some of the lower level post-season invitationals.

Matt Kenton 4 years, 2 months ago

I love intelligent articles like this! I found your stat absolutely amazing that only 3 teams from power 5 conferences finished in the top 15 and all 3 made the Final 4. So the top 3 power 5 teams in total 3 points made, all made the Final 4! Blueprint for success, right?

Problem is, if they made the Final 4, they played more games in which to make threes. Also, potential additional games played in their conference tourneys. You need to look at the end of the regular season, which includes Washington State in the Top 15.

More importantly, Villanova is in the Big East. Not a Power 5. Also in the Big East and up there with the others in made 3 pointers are Creighton and Marquette.

Most interesting is that Dedric Lawson will be a 3 point shooting big man, something we have not really seen under Self, other than last big man down the court popping one from the top of the key every now and then.

Matt Tait 4 years, 2 months ago

Good point about Villanova, Matt. I just tweaked it to say power conference instead of Power 5... Nova has been so damn good of late that it seems like they're in a powerhouse conference when you don't take a second to think about it.

Totally agree about the Dedric thing, though. The idea of him taking as many as Vick shocked me. But if he can shoot it, it will be a weapon that can really give KU an advantage inside and out.

Jason Venable 4 years, 2 months ago

Last big men to shoot 3pt buckets that I recall were the Morris twins. I'd like to see Self begin recruiting those kind of bigs.

Jesse Johnson 4 years, 2 months ago

This was a neat article. Based on the article, I was expecting to see some info on who else Bill Self could potentially recruit if we don't get Romeo to fill some of that 3 pt shooting need. I have no idea on names or anything so would be nice to know what are those other options that he may pursue.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 2 months ago

Good thoughts from everyone. You are right, Bryce. Things always seem to have a way of working themselves out.

Also, I also like Robert's comment about doing a better job of defending the 3 point line. I think that was KU's biggest weakness this year.

Michael Mitchell 4 years, 2 months ago

Ok, problem solved...3 pointers now become 2-1/2 pointers. Your are welcome.

Matt Kenton 4 years, 2 months ago

I was thinking along the same lines. Players are getting so good at shooting 3's. They keep moving the line back, but it doesn't make any difference. To have that shot worth 50% more than others, doesn't make sense anymore.

Running an offense, working to get the ball inside... With every pass, screen, cut, etc, there's a chance of getting the ball stolen, or something going wrong. Why not just jack up 3's.

What if they took away with the 3 point line? Would teams still shoot from long range?

Michael Mitchell 4 years, 2 months ago

Matt, considering the final score of our game against Villanova would have been 86-75.5 or a 10.5 point difference if 3's were counted at 2.5, and considering the fact that a team behind might not panic so much and start firing only threes and considering if the game is closer because of these two projected scenarios then the team playing catch up might not feel as compelled to foul so much to try and get the ball back...I think you would have a much more competitive game considerably less affected by the long shot.

Michael Mitchell 4 years, 2 months ago

You are welcome, not your are welcome. Uhgg.

Stuart Corder 4 years, 2 months ago

Vick should be included with Svi/Graham/Newman. When Vick shot well from behind the arc, we won. When Vick shot poorly, we struggled or lost.

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