basketball-men-d1 flag

Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | December 10, 2020

These men's basketball players have become better 3-point shooters since last season

North Carolina, Texas rise in Andy Katz's Power 36 rankings

Last season, the men's basketball 3-point line was extended to 22 feet, 1¾ inches, which made the most valuable shot in the sport a little bit tougher. The national 3-point percentage dropped from 34.4 percent during the 2018-19 season to 33.3 percent last season. Through Dec. 9, it's 33.0 percent for the young 2020-21 season.

But the longer distance hasn't stopped players from adding a more accurate or more frequent 3-point shot to their repertoire. Others have simply adjusted better to the new distance in the second season of the extended 3-point line.

Here are players on potential March Madness contenders whose early returns suggest that they've become better 3-point shooters than years past.

All stats are current through Dec. 9.

Trevor Ruszkowski | USA TODAY Sports Images Baylor's Davion Mitchell.

Adam Flagler, Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell, Baylor

Baylor was ranked No. 2 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll and the Bears have maintained that position thanks to a 4-0 start, which included an impressive 82-69 win over Illinois on a neutral court.

Last season, Baylor was an above-average 3-point shooting team at 35.1 percent, but the Bears weren't full of dead-eye 3-point shooters. While acknowledging that Baylor has only played four games, the team is making 46.4 percent of its shots behind the arc, which ranks fourth nationally.

Jared Butler is 9-for-19 (47.4%) after shooting 35.1 percent and 38.1 percent as a freshman and sophomore, respectively. If the Bears' leading scorer and highest-usage player can also maintain a 3-point percentage that's in the mid-to-high 40s, then good luck beating the Bears.

But it's not just Butler.

Presbyterian transfer Adam Flagler is 12-for-25 this season (48.0%), which is a full 10 percentage points than his freshman season two seasons ago. He made 101 of 264 3-point attempts that season, so he has proven he's capable of being both a high-volume and high-accuracy 3-point shooter, but the early returns suggest he might trade some of his 3-point attempts for an even higher 3-point accuracy while playing for a loaded Bears squad.

Then there's Davion Mitchell, who wasn't much of a 3-point threat at Auburn in 2018 or Baylor last year, when he shot 28.8 percent and 32.4 percent from 3, respectively. He's 8-for-14 (57.1%) this season, as he's averaging two made 3-pointers per game after making just 34 threes in 30 games last season.

Rob Ferguson | USA Today Sports Images Texas's Courtney Ramey.

Courtney Ramey, Texas

Texas' defense is one of the best in the country at limiting opponents' 3-point accuracy and attempts. Opponents are shooting just 22.5 percent from behind the arc against the Longhorns and 3-point attempts only make up 26.5 percent of opponents' total shots.

Offensively, Texas has benefited from Courtney Ramey's improved 3-point shooting as the 6-3 junior is shooting a career-best 41.7 percent, which is roughly 10 percentage points higher than his percentage last season. Ramey  was a 38.6 percent 3-point shooter on 145 attempts as a freshman, so he has proven he can make shots from deep, but he has shown through six games this season that he has not only regained his freshman-year form, but he might also be even better.

Ben Queen | USA Today Sports Images West Virginia's Taz Sherman.

Miles McBride and Taz Sherman, West Virginia

Last season, West Virginia finished with the 11th-most efficient defense and the 67th-most efficient offense, per kenpom.com, but this season, the Mountaineers have found a better balance in the opening weeks of the season, in part because of improved 3-point shooting.

West Virginia is No. 13 offensively and No. 11 defensively, through Wednesday. While the Mountaineers are only shooting 31.9 percent from deep as a team, that's still an improvement from their woeful 28.6-percent 3-point shooting last season.

After making just 24 threes at a 30-percent clip as a freshman, guard Miles McBride has made seven 3-pointers through five games and at a 41.2-percent accuracy. Teammate Taz Sherman has made a team-high nine 3-pointers after making just 28 all of last season. He's shooting 60 percent from deep after making just a third of his treys last season.

Marcus Sasser, Houston

Sasser was a solid 3-point shooter last season when he made 57 3-pointers at a 35.2-percent clip. However, he's been lighting it up from deep during the Cougars' first three games this season. He's 12-for-24 as he is averaging four made 3-pointers per game at a 50-percent rate.

Sasses was 7-for-9 from deep in Houston's season opener against Lamar.

Rocket Watts, Michigan State

Watts has big shoes to fill as he helps replace Cassius Winston, who was a 43-percent 3-point shooter last season, after shooting 39 percent the year before that and 49 percent as a sophomore.

Through five games this season, Watts is making 36.8 percent of his attempts from deep after making just 28.1 percent as a freshman, when he was taking more than four per game, on average.

Tre Mann, Florida

As a freshman, Mann made just 22 3-pointers in 29 games, while making just 27.5 percent of his 80 attempts. Through three games as a sophomore, Mann has made five 3-pointers on just eight attempts, which is an encouraging sign that he could be a low-attempt but high-accuracy 3-point shooter.

Jaime Jaquez, UCLA

As a freshman, Jaquez made just 25 3-pointers in 30 games, while shooting 31.6 percent from deep. Through the Bruins' first five games, he has already made 10 3s while knocking them down at a 47.6-percent clip.

Jaquez is tied for second on the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game. He made three 3-pointers against both San Diego State and San Diego.

College baseball: Baylor blitzes No. 5 Texas Tech 13-3 to win weekend series

Baylor baseball used another dominant performance to take the weekend series against No. 5 Texas Tech after its 13-3 win over Sunday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park in Lubbock, Texas.
READ MORE

Here's where Baylor ranks among the greatest men's basketball national champions ever

Baylor won its first-ever national championship in men's basketball.
READ MORE

Gonzaga comes up short in quest for perfect season, first title

In a title game between the undefeated Zags and two-loss Bears, Baylor was never in trouble. The Bears led for 39:27. The game was tied for 33 seconds.
READ MORE
Presented by
Presented by
Presented by

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners