BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — First year Indiana basketball coach Mike Woodson led his Hoosiers to their first NCAA Tournament since 2016 last season and a 21-14 overall record. It was a drastic improvement from seasons prior, but there’s one huge category Indiana is working on — three-point production.
“That was a big problem last year,” Woodson said at Indiana Basketball Media Day. “I thought we got a lot of good looks…being in the top five in college basketball in terms of open threes that we just didn’t knock down.”
In the 2021-22 campaign, the Hoosiers shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc compared to their opponents’ 33 percent. Then you look a bit deeper and discover the Hoosiers made 206 out of 619 attempted threes compared to their competition’s 265 out of 803 attempts. This put Indiana at No. 11 in three-point production in the Big Ten.
Indiana’s top three-point shooter Parker Stewart, who tallied 53 on the season, transferred back home to UT Martin, which means senior forward Miller Kopp is next in line as far as three-point accuracy. The Northwestern transfer put down 39 threes and is working in the off season on a specialized routine to increase that number.
“I’ve got a great routine that I have down, something that I didn’t necessarily have last year that me and some of the staff, managers, GA’s kind of helped me put together and something that I really feel good about,” Kopp said.
“I’m a routine type of guy, so with that, my shooting routine — that stuff has really helped me come in and know exactly what I’m doing every time I get on the floor. That I think is really going to help me.”
When asked about three-point shooters that need to step up, Woodson threw Kopp’s name out first followed by guard Xavier Johnson, who totaled 36 threes last season, and forward Race Thompson, who made 15.
“Miller has been around a while too, and I’m going to need him to lead and hold guys accountable as well as himself,” Woodson said.
“But I like everything about Miller. I’ve just got to get him making some shots for us.”
Woodson said he thinks the freshmen will be able to knock down more threes and that the shooting will be okay. The team practices them as much as free throws. The problem lies in getting into a game situation and not having the confidence to go for it, a situation Thompson has found himself in over his time at Indiana.
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“Race kind of picked it up from previous years, a guy who really wasn’t allowed to shoot them,” Woodson said. “He made some for us last year.”
Thompson said his teammates tell him he needs to shoot way more threes and that he’s now working on it seven days a week. He added more threes on his end will allow him to play inside and out, stretching the floor.
The Plymouth, Minn. native said his threes get better each year, but the lack of shooting them is a confidence issue. However, he said he’s feeling great about it ahead of the season.
At the bottom of the three-point production list sits the star of the team Trayce Jackson-Davis. Jackson-Davis ranked as the sixth best shooter in the conference averaging 18.3 points per game last season. However, he only attempted one three and missed it.
“He’ll be in a position where he catches it out there and has an opportunity to shoot it,” Woodson said. “If he shoots it, fine.
“You know, everybody looks at this thing where he’s got to be a three-point shooter. I think if he makes a 15 to 17-foot shot, it’s just as effective. That’s kind of how I look at it.”
Woodson said this summer, Jackson-Davis has made plenty of threes in their pickup basketball games proving he can do it. He just needs to carry it over to the real game, he said.
Jackson-Davis agreed. He said his presence was needed inside last season, but now that Logan Duncomb and Malik Reneau are thriving in practice and can help inside, Jackson-Davis has the green light from everyone to hit more from downtown.
“That’s my job, to relax them and get them in that position,” Woodson said.
Eric Moody, ESPNJun 8, 2023, 01:32 PM ETCloseFormer manager at a Fortune 100 financial services company, now living my dream creating fantasy and sports betting
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