Who Can Shoot?

Who Can Shoot?


A year ago Liberty connected on just 5.2 three-pointers per game. That was bad enough to rank 268th in the nation. They connected on just 32.2 percent of their attempts, which ranked 246th in the nation. However, that ranking is a little misleading…and not in a good way. Only 286 of the 336 teams the NCAA recognizes as full members of Division I basketball shot enough three-pointers to qualify for a three-point shooting percentage. What it means is that only a handful of teams shot worse than Liberty from beyond the arc.

The good news is that the Flames were generally smart enough not to even attempt a three-pointer unless they had to, but any way you slice it, this was not a good shooting team. Despite that, the Flames finished solidly in second place in the Big South with a 13-5 conference mark. Yet, that was with Evan Gordon. Gordon was the consistent shooting threat on the team and he accounted for 2.2 of those 5.2 three-pointers made per contest.

Gordon is now gone and this is still a team that is just a shooter away from being really good and competing for a Big South title. The only other player who hit more than one long ball per contest last year was John Caleb Sanders. Sanders also had the best three-point shooting percentage on the team last year with 34.0 percent. That is not a good percent, but it was better than anybody else on Liberty. Sanders is just a junior this year, so he is still getting better, but his game is mostly catch and shoot. He lacks the dynamic scoring ability to be a starter and is thus going to be nothing but a shooter off of the bench unless that changes soon.

The answer may not come from the newcomers either. Tavares Speaks is a small forward who does most of his damage driving to the basket. He is a junior college transfer and the one newcomer with some experience. The best shooter on the roster will likely be newcomer Tomasz Gielo. He will spend most of his time at the four spot due to his 6-8 frame, but he is a good shooter too. Stretching out the defense with a big guy who can shoot is nice and will certainly be welcomed by the Flames, but they need to find a shooting guard who can shoot if they hope to win the conference crown.

Read an in-depth men's basketball preview for this team