There’s a general adage that goes along with both math and basketball alike. Three is more than two.
It’s simple, almost childish to really think about it, but it’s true. Basketball over the past decade or so has gone from a game centered around banging around the paint and post looks to letting your best perimeter players letting it fly from deep in order to quickly gauge points.
While it might not become the ultimate identity of the 2022-23 Bobcats, their torrent start from deep has spewed optimism to what this team can be in the future.
Through two games, with another one against Detroit Mercy slated for Wednesday night, the Bobcats have shot 50% from beyond the arc as a team in their 1-1 start to the year.
Whether it’s something that Head Coach Jeff Boals expects to continue over the course of the season is unknown. It’s admittedly hard to rely on your team shooting better than 50% from three for an entire season, it just doesn’t happen. He is happy though that his players are finding the right opportunities to launch from deep and are converting them.
“I’d love to do it the rest of the year but I think it’s all the shots you are getting and how the other team is guarding you,” Boals said to the Messenger on Tuesday. “They [Cleveland State] were double-teaming Dwight [Wilson] a lot so we got some open three looks. We’ve got some really good shooters so I want to continue to look to do that.”
Boals pointed out something important though. Much of the reason why the three-point shot is so available is because teams will have to focus on protecting the paint first-and-foremost. Dwight Wilson creates a problem for the other team just by being there.
While he didn’t have the same type of night scoring as he did against Belmont, only putting up four points, he created positive plays in every other aspect of the game. The big man grabbed 14 rebounds while dishing out four assists in the win over Cleveland State.
“I told him after the game that I was really proud of him. He had four points, 14 rebounds and four assists but he probably should’ve had nine assists. We missed some open looks where he made the right read and then he had some hockey assists where his pass led to the pass for the shot so I was proud of him.”
With so much focus going in on protecting the paint, you still need shooters that will make the shots. One of the few who have been hitting at a high clip is Jaylin Hunter, who led the team with 17 points on Saturday. The junior has shot 6-12 from deep to begin the season and has no plans of slowing down, at least he hopes.
“I think it’s just the confidence with the work that we’ve put in. We all like to get shots up, like to be in the gym and I think we just trust our work. Anytime myself or any of my teammates shoot I’m confident that its going in because I see the work that’s being put in.”
The next couple of weeks will be big to see if it was just a lucky start to the year from deep or if it will become a huge benefit for the Bobcats all season.