Shot selection has been an issue. Not all of the outside shooting struggles are inexplicable. Some players have consistently taken a number of ill-advised shots, either because of their distance, the context, or the lack of rhythm. Some players do not seem to recognize that given their shooting percentages, they should not be primary shooting options, while others for some reason seem to think they should not be taking their shots. This is not a function of experience, either, as Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key have each been as guilty as Casey Morsell and Kihei Clark of settling for low-percentage long jumpers.
However, what I want to point out today is how some of our best shooters - or who should be our best shooters - are passing up shots that they should be taking. In the following clips, we will see both Kihei Clark and Jay Huff pass up a shot that he should be taking, only to send the ball to a much lower percentage shooter who jacks it up. Huff's 45% three-point shooting last year corroborated his practice and recruiting reputation as being a good outside shooter. Jay is hitting only 32% this year (which is still third on the team), but at a volume such that if just two of the shots that hit the inside of the rim had gone down instead of out, he'd be at 40%. He has taken 28 threes in 20 games, for a per-40 minute rate lower than even his freshman year. Now, teams are not leaving him open like they did last year, but there are still opportunities like this one:
Jay has to shoot that. He caught it in rhythm with plenty of room. At 7-1, he should not be bothered by a late-arriving closeout - even one just a little late. Instead of putting up a great shot like a primary option, he passes off and we end up with a Clark long two that clangs off rim.
And speaking of Clark, though he is currently on a nasty cold streak, he hit 36% last year and at one point this season was at 40%. He has for stretches been the team's best shooter. One of the problems with his current slump is taking some unwise shots, like standstill 25-footers, but another is hesitating before taking the shot. How often do shooters hit when they hesitate before deciding to shoot? He's getting good looks and only taking them after he has thought about it. You cancel the rhythm and end up making it a much tougher shot. But then there are looks like this one:
As with Jay above, Kihei decides not to take what would be a great shot and passes to someone else who ends up missing. Kihei has to recognize that the guy to his right is hitting half the percentage he is. The shot Kihei passed up is precisely the kind of look that could easily get him off the schneid and kick off a hot streak.
In a game that went into overtime, either one of those shots could have made a big difference. If they had hit both? That's six points we could have forced Wake Forest to counter.
Take the shot!