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Posted at 8:53 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Williams muses about changes wrought by the 3-point shot

By Liz Clarke

Maryland Coach Gary Williams is a pragmatist, above all — intent on playing whatever style of basketball gives his team the best chance of winning. But if he had his druthers, the college game probably wouldn’t have the three-point shot that fans love so much.

Williams shared his view on the topic during a conference call earlier this week, asked by an Associated Press reporter what he recalled about the introduction of the three-point shot, which occurred when he was head coach at Ohio State.

What followed was an interesting explication of how the shot has altered the college game -- not entirely for the good, from Williams’s perspective -- laced with a bit of wistfulness.

As Williams recalled, one of the arguments in favor of it was to extend defenses so the game was less physical under the basket. Nonetheless, he pointed out, the college game is still bruising under the basket.

The three-point shot has also altered the make-up of teams, he argued.

“Every team basically plays three guards now,” Williams said. “A lot of teams are going to almost a fourth guard that’s 6-[feet]-5, 6-6 who can shoot to take advantage of the three-point line.”

And it has put a premium on good standstill shooters, he added, because that’s the shot that’s created when one guard drives to the basket, draws opposing defenses and kicks the ball out to a teammate on the perimeter.

“You’re rewarded for a shot that’s a long-shot, rather than being rewarded for a layup,” Williams added, noting that in most sports the point value doesn’t vary according to the degree of difficulty.

“In baseball, if you hit a home run 300 feet — or it you hit it 400 feet -- you still get one run,” Williams said.

Same for tennis: An ace clocked at 110 mph is worth the same as one struck at 145 mph. And an 80-yard touchdown run is worth no more than a three-yard rumble into the end zone.

“It had been experimented with a couple of times,” Williams recalled of the advent of the three-point shot. “I didn’t particularly like it because it had significantly changed the game. Back then, in the late ‘80s, college basketball was a great game then. I didn’t think it needed a 3-point shot to change the game.”

Nonetheless, he conceded that because it’s so popular, it’s here to stay and smart coaches must take advantage of it, at least to the extent their players’ abilities allow.

Maryland (11-6, 1-2) has struggled with three-point shooting this season. They’re hitting just 32.6 percent from beyond the arc (72 of 221), which ranks 234th nationally. Senior swingman Cliff Tucker, with 23, leads the way.

By Liz Clarke  | January 19, 2011; 8:53 AM ET
Categories:  Gary Williams, Men's basketball  | Tags:  3-point shot, Cliff Tucker, Gary Williams, Maryland basketball  
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Next: Malcolm Delaney on Maryland: 'They might have the worst fans ever.'

Comments

So we are talking about (crying over) spilt milk. It's interesting to hear GW lament the emergence of the 3 pt. shot, especially in the context that this team shoots it so poorly. How about a follow-up question or two, like: 1) Why don't we have effective 3 pt. shooters? and 2) What are you going to do about it? Are we waiting till next year? Does that mean we have to count on a freshman next year to shoot the 3? The phrase that there is a "premium" on good standtill shooters" is really interesting. Guess that means that everyone wants a couple and recruiting them is difficult. Get cracking!

Posted by: petecard | January 19, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Teams like Duke get the perfect 3-point shooters, while the other schools struggle to find guys like that. The 3-point line was intended as an equalizer, but it has not worked out that way. Some of the 3-point shots are almost like layups for the best shooters. One solution would be to move the college 3-point line to the NBA line.

Maybe we will all feel different when Nick Faust gets here next season.

Posted by: EdDC | January 19, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

gary williams has NEVER utilized the 3-pt shot properly. NEVER

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Pete,

Last year, with our senior guards, we led the ACC in 3-pt shooting percentage. It goes in cycles. This year our 3-point shooting stinks, as well as our guard play (and leadership), in general.

Slick3 wants us to jack a bunch of 3s. I think that style works for mid-majors because you can beat anyone on a night that you are hot. However, jacking a bunch of 3s does not translate into a long NCAA tourney run. Usually, in the second game, the shooter's legs get tired in the 2nd half and the shots don't fall.

Gary is clumsily stating that the beauty of offensive basketball is team passing and execution that results in breaking down the opposing team's defense with the result being a layup or dunk.

Conversely, there are limited variations of the drive and kick-out to set up a 3-point shot. While the shot is spectacular, getting there is somewhat boring and it makes the game one-dimensional.

I suspect that Morgan Wooten would have and Dean Smith would agree with GW's perspective.

Posted by: larry31 | January 19, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Coach Williams is correct. The 3 point basket has hurt the game. In today's game it is actually easier to get an open three point basket than it is to get an open 2 point basket. Not sure I see any fairness in that.

Posted by: PacoInAjijic | January 19, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Coach Williams is correct. The 3 point basket has hurt the game. In today's game it is actually easier to get an open three point basket than it is to get an open 2 point basket. Not sure I see any fairness in that.

Posted by: PacoInAjijic | January 19, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

MD will not be relevant again until williams is gone

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Paco - It's easier to get an open 3 because it's harder to defend the deeper shots. For defenses, there is also less incentive to defend the 3 because that driving guard that is about to kick the ball out to the perimeter has a much better chance of scoring than that dude out on the wing (in most cases - Duke of course excluded).

Larry - Our guard play doesn't stink. They're playing the best defense (particularly against the 3) they've played in years. Yes, their shots aren't falling as often as we're used to, but I don't think it's due to lack of passion.

Posted by: NaptownTerrapin | January 19, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the 3-point shot has hurt the game, especially when they moved the line back last year. Gary's offense does not utilize the 3-point shot as much as some others, but I would not want to trade the flex for anything else. His offense adjusts well to the talent on the floor, and right now the Terps are an interior-oriented team.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 19, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

hey russ. how is that interior play going to look next year when jwill bolts for the nba?

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Naptown,

Good point. while their half-court offense leaves a lot to be desired, the team, as a whole is playing excellent defense.

Slick3,

Your point of view is annoying becasue you assume there is a "next Coach K" pining to coach at MD.

Consider the conditions:
Dr. Yow was an egomaniacal micro manager.
Until last year, GW had the lowest payroll for assistant coaches in the ACC (public Universities, privates don't disclose this info).
MD insists on supporting 27 sports like they are Oprah-rich and are pretending to be Stanford-East.

There are other places that offer better conditions to succeed at basketball. GW has had amazing success given the limitations associated with coaching at MD.

And:
How did it work out when:
NC St fired Sendek
Indiana fired Mike Smith
Kentucky fired Tubby Smith
WF fired Dino Gaudio

Even UNC struggled after Bill Guthrie retired (Remember Matt Daugherty?)

Posted by: larry31 | January 19, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

After watching 90% of all UMD games since 2001 here is the drill.. we need to recruit a few great 3 point shooters and although UMD is playing with some passion now they need to come out on fire and play for the full 40 mins..anyone who watched that Villanova game on Saturday knows it was winnable,,, you have to keep doing what got you that 12 point lead feed the post and Jordan Williams will convert ... also Gary needs to teach them how to play with the lead......and finish Lastly,
i would have all the players shoot 100 foul shots at EVERY practice until they can make them in their sleep..... foul shots can be the deciding factor in close games....I am a huge UMD fan and hope they show what they can really do

Posted by: whatbull | January 19, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Whatbull,

Let correct your first suggestion,

"we need to recruit a few great 3 point shooters" who can play defense. Otherwise, they will never play.

Posted by: larry31 | January 19, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

i would have all the players shoot 100 foul shots at EVERY practice until they can make them in their sleep..... foul shots can be the deciding factor in close games....I am a huge UMD fan and hope they show what they can really do

Posted by: whatbull | January 19, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

You don't think the team already does this. JW shoots over 200 a day right now. Insinuating that this team doesn't understand that FT shooting is a problem, and isn't doing anything about it is ludicrous.

As far as JW making the jump, I'm worried that he might go too, but there are a lot of factors that need to be considered, including a full-year lockout that's almost certain in the NBA next season.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 19, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"Maryland (11-6, 1-2) has struggled with three-point shooting this season. They’re hitting just 32.6 percent from beyond the arc"

Liz, 32.6% is not considered "struggling" for a team. I'm surprised that ranks in the lower third nationally because that is actually pretty average.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 19, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

larry31. just because those schools screwed up the hire doesnt mean md will. i hope ka does the exact same thing with gary he did with friedgen (we can only dream)

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

This is early for Gary to start his annual EXCUSE trail for why the team is under-achieveing once again, and him trying to point it to something other than the fact that he cannot recruit top talent from the richest talent pool in the country, DC Area. I am sure people will keep buying his bs and we fans will keep hoping that a miracle will happen again where the Seniors stay, we land a genetic rebounding/d freak i.e. Wilcox and we win any championship some day again. And we will all overlook that we should have won 2, if the coach knew how to stop other teams from coming back from huge deficits...but yeah Gary is wonderful,,,please retire Gary!

Posted by: cm88 | January 19, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

JW isn't ready for the NBA - unless he wants to be yet another undersized center who was great in college but gets about 10 minutes per game as a pro - and he probably knows it. He'll be back next year.

Posted by: MBP1 | January 19, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

This year's Terps are I believe extremely talented. They really outclassed Penn State in Penn State. You can just see them man handling PSU. You can't really say this team is young. they have 3 seniors and a junior in their regular rotation. they have a Dominant inside man that looks like he is going pro. BUT they cannot seem to win the close games against quality opponents. The frustrating thing is, they were in position to win some of these games but for some reason, they have not taken that next step in winning. They must LEARN how to win. This sort of falls on the coach himself. he needs to really figure out what is gonna put them over that hump. And some of the players, seniors or freshmen WHOEVER needs to STEP UP in crucial MOMENTS and MAKE PLAYS. Make some free throws, and make some shots and just make plays. I think this is as athletic and talented a team as any in recent past. BUT if they don't learn to win and make these crucial plays, I would REALLY hate to waste this season... because i think they are a really good team.

Gary needs to figure out how to win the close ones. and Someone PLEASE step up and make some plays to get the team over the hump...

Posted by: doeshin | January 19, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Gary needs to figure out how to win the close ones. and Someone PLEASE step up and make some plays to get the team over the hump...

Posted by: doeshin | January 19, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

He's pushed just about every button he can on this team. He's called timeouts only to have the team come out and play the same way before he stopped the clock.

He's juggled the lineup. At the ends of games he's tried a multitude of combinations. Against CoC, he finished with Howard and Stoglin in the backcourt, and that ended in a win. He tried the same thing against BC, and they blew it. He's tried going with the hot hand with a certain level of success, but these kids are just not performing when the pressure is at its greatest. If I were Gary, I'd be pulling my hair out trying to figure out what's going wrong with this team.

The obvious answer is the lack of a leader, but what is Gary supposed to do when he tries to allow seniors and a junior to lead, but they whither. He's tried to ask the freshmen to lead, but they're not ready yet. This was supposed to be where Mosely was supposed to excel, but he might as well be coming off the bench the way he's played this year. He does a lot of the little things, but where it matters most (the scoreboard), he's been virtually invisible, especially down the stretch.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 19, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

russ. are you really gary's daughter?

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

russ. are you really gary's daughter?

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes. You uncovered me. Now the whole world will know me secret identity, and I can never show my face at Bentley's again.

Slick, are you really a troll that lives under Chapel Field Bridge?

Posted by: Russtinator | January 19, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

please retire Gary!

Posted by: cm88 | January 19, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Only at MD do the reigning ACC Coaches of the Year have people calling for them to retire. You do realize Gary won a share of the ACC title 9 months ago, along with the National Champ? Just checking.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 19, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Dudes...Gary is not whining about the 3pt shot....READ the beginning of the article...he was on a conf call and was asked his opinion on the shot because he was an active coach before and after the introduction....nothing wrong with offering his opinion....would you rather he lie about it?????

Posted by: TerpfanMA | January 19, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 11:15 AM:
MD will not be relevant again until williams is gone

--------------------------------------------

And slick3 will not be relevant ever.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | January 19, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

"gary williams has NEVER utilized the 3-pt shot properly. NEVER

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 10:22 AM"
-->Eric Hayes was three point champ!

Posted by: break20 | January 20, 2011 1:49 AM | Report abuse

"gary williams has NEVER utilized the 3-pt shot properly. NEVER

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 10:22 AM"
-->Eric Hayes was three point champ!

Posted by: break20 | January 20, 2011 2:01 AM | Report abuse

"MD will not be relevant again until williams is gone

Posted by: slick3 | January 19, 2011 11:15 AM"
-->Really? The ACC COY, tied Duke in the standings last year, doesn't have it anymore?

But with an idiotic AD like KA, you might just get your wish.

Posted by: break20 | January 20, 2011 2:04 AM | Report abuse

"And:
How did it work out when:
NC St fired Sendek
Indiana fired Mike Smith
Kentucky fired Tubby Smith
WF fired Dino Gaudio"
-->A little fact checking here would reveal:Sendek wasn't fired, left for NC State; ditto with Tubby at Minnesota; there was no Mike Smith at Indiana, your thinking of Mike Davis, he was forced out NOT fired. But you do score 25% for correctly stating WF fired Dino Guadio.

Posted by: break20 | January 20, 2011 2:09 AM | Report abuse

A bit like nature, sports evolve as time passes. Either you adapt or you become obselete. Although contary to GW's assertion, I haven't seen a team win a NCAA championship without a strong inside presence. The Terps haven't been a great 3pt shooting team, even with GV and Hayes. And we have in the recent past been consistently out rebounded by Top 30 teams so I don't know what to say to GW. Maybe get out and RECRUIT.

Posted by: Redtopper2 | January 20, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

You guys who think JW will turn pro after this season are premature. Pros. He has great foot work, great hands and improving 12ft jumper. Cons. he's only maybe 6 10" and his lift isn't exceptional. And he is not super fast while quick around the basket. All bets are off after next season. Gosh, the guy is really improving season after season.

Posted by: Redtopper2 | January 20, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I just went to kenpom to look up old 3pt data. MD may be ranked 234th nationally but Liz failed to mention that the gap between MD and the avg team isn't that large. 32.6% for MD vs 34.3% nationally.

Year MD National Avg
2011 32.6 34.3
2010 38.6 34.2
2009 33.3 34.2
2008 33.8 35.1
2007 38.5 34.9
2006 36.8 34.8
2005 33.3 34.6
2004 33.7 34.4
2003 39.5 no data

MD also plays very good 3pt defense. This season we're #1 in overall defense. The problem is we have freshmen point guards...And our most important player is an awful foul shooter. If you factor out JWill we're shooting 69.3%, which is slightly above avg (Padgett is shooting 44.7% and Pe'Shon is at 52.6%).

Our optimal offensive line-up is JWill, Bowie, Weijs/Stoglin, Tucker, Dino. Weijs is an elite shot-blocker and based on his per-posession stats deserves more time.

Posted by: akin365 | January 20, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

akin365, that was my point too. 32.6% isn't really "struggling" for a whole team. It's pretty average.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 20, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Get over it! BTW there is also a 30-second clock. Gary wants the game to go back to when no-talent players, like himself, could play. The game is much better today when you don't have 7 or 8 white guys running around passing the ball four three or four minutes before each shot. Now of days, talent counts... Kinda like what Dook does every year.

Posted by: Phillip258 | January 20, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

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