The three-point shot has been a central fixture of Florida’s offense in the Mike White era and with an athletic roster that should be able to get up and down the floor in record speed I expect a whole lot of threes to rain down in Gainesville (or Rainesville, as the Rowdies have deemed it!) this season. Last year’s roster was solid when it came to shooting the three coming in at 37% as a team, good for 78th in the country. When it comes to reliance on the three they were 98th in terms of percentage of field goal attempts that were three-pointers and the 35.9% of their total points from the long ball put them 75th. With three returning players who shot the three better than 40% and a talented freshmnn with a penchant for the three entering the mix the Gators definitely won’t lack for any rocket launchers no matter what lineup they had on the floor. Who is going to lead the way when it comes to shooting from deep? Let’s take a look at the potential options and you can pick for yourself!
2017-18 3-Point Percentage: .424 (39-92)
Keith Stone led the Gators in 3-point percentage last year and could definitely be considered the favorite entering this season. With one of the smoothest strokes you’ll ever see, Stone has an easily repeatable motion that was incredibly reliable when it came to knocking down open shots as he was 48% when unguarded. He definitely knows what his role is within the offense as he only really shoots off the catch and doesn’t force much off the dribble, which definitely keeps his percentages efficient. Even though he was the highest percentage 3-point shooter on the team last year he was 5th in attempts, and whether or not we see him ramp up his shot totals could really affect his percentage. I expect Stone to have a lot of wide-open looks off dishes from Andrew Nembhard this year and his shooting should be excellent.
2017-18 3-Point Percentage: .404 (78-193)
In addition to tying for second on the team in percentage, Hudson led the Gators in 3-point makes last season as the highest-usage player on team. Taking 28.9% of the team’s shots when he was on the floor he used his shot-creation abilities to shoot a lot off the dribble, difficult attempts that we didn’t see much of from anyone else on this list. Though the degree of difficulty on his shots was much higher than any of his teammates’, his percentages were still great as he was 40.7% on shots off the dribble, one of the best numbers in the country. A stat I pulled up a lot last year was also his ability to hit shots when closely guarded, 45% as opposed to 38% when wide open. Figure that one out. Anyways, he’ll be player with the ball in his hands a lot this season and though his heavy usage likely won’t have him the best percentage shooting 3-point gunner on the team his total makes and the tough shots he’ll hit at the end of shot clocks or late in tight games might make him the people’s choice winner in this category.
2017-18 3-Point Percentage: .404 (19-47)
I just talked a lot about Okauru’s shooting and general offensive game in an Okauru-specific article published this week so if you’re interested in seeing more about him I’d love for you to take a look. Though his 11 minutes per game didn’t allow him to get a lot of threes up last year he was efficient in knocking them down, something that was surprising to a lot of people who watched him in high school as the book on him was that he wasn’t much of a shooter. Freshmen are rarely great shooters and whether he can maintain this efficiency or whether he’ll have a sophomore slump will be interesting to watch. Seeing his stroke I was never entirely sold on him as a shooter but he was confident putting the shot up and the fact that he made them a high rate last year and the fact he had an offseason to keep working means he might be able to keep it up. He was only a 56.7% free throw shooter last year, a number that could potentially be an indicator that his three-point shooting season was an anomaly. Okauru is going to have a bigger role this year and I’m definitely intrigued at how he does shooting the basketball and how a change to playing more point guard will affect his offensive game.
2017-18 3-Point Percentage: .328 (59-180)
Coming second only to Jalen Hudson is 3-point attempts, Allen put a lot of shots up for a player that was well below the national average in percentage. Allen has put up a lot of long balls at in three years at Florida, 553 to be exact, but has only been a decent percentage shooter as a sophomore shooting 37% after shooting 31.5% as a freshman. Though he’s never been a leader on the team when it comes to three-point shooting I know he has a lot of believers and there’s a chance he really breaks out as a senior. 553 is a lot of attempts already in his career and that experience as a shooter could have really helped his preparation as he looks to be a high percentage guy this season. I think shot selection will be big for Allen this year as a lot of tough attempts throughout his career have not helped him see the ball through the hoop. He also has never been a good shooter when closely guarded with only a 28.3% conversion rate. I think Florida’s offense is going to be improved this season from it’s 41st rank nationally last year and I think one of the biggest winners from that could be Allen and if he gets more open shots this year than he has in the past, watch out.
Ordinarily freshmen aren’t great shooter, but Noah Locke isn’t an ordinary shooter. Taking nearly 7 threes per game in his last AAU season he was a scorching 49.5% and ridiculous number should have you excited to see him in the O’Dome pulling up from behind “Noah’s Arc.” Locke is a shooter with the ability to run off screens to catch and shoot or break down a defender before pulling up and his overall offensive skill set could be major for the Gators right away. If ever there was going to be a freshman who could lead the team in three-point shooting, it very well might be Locke.
Who do you think the Gators’ best three-point shooter will be this season? Let me know in the comments or on the Gator Country forums.