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The Chase for 180: Tale of two games for Stanford’s Anthony Brown

Jan 15, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

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Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

When looking at the improvements made by Stanford redshirt junior guard Anthony Brown, it’s best to compare this season’s numbers to the ones he produced as a sophomore in 2011-12. Brown played just five games last season due to a hip injury, leaving the Cardinal without a key option in their attack. As a sophomore Brown, who was a Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection in 2011, averaged 8.7 points per game while shooting 39.6% from the field and 35.0% from beyond the arc.

According to hoop-math.com Brown attempted just 17.2% of his shots at the rim, making 56.5% of those attempts. And one of the big reasons why his overall field goal percentage (51.9%) has improved are the increased number of opportunities he’s found in that area of the floor. Through 15 games nearly 35% of Brown’s field goal attempts have come at the rim, and he’s converted 61.7% of those shots. Brown’s percentage at the rim may also provide a clue as to why his two performances in Oregon last week were so drastically different.

Against then-No. 17 Oregon on Sunday afternoon Brown was outstanding, shooting 10-for-12 from the field and scoring a game-high 24 points to go along with six rebounds. Four of Brown’s 12 field goal attempts could be classified as layups and he made all four to go along with hitting six of his eight jumpers (1-for-2 3PT). That wasn’t the case in Stanford’s 81-72 loss at Oregon State on Thursday night, as Brown shot 1-for-10 from the field and scored just seven points.

Brown shot 0-for-7 from two, with three of the misses being layups. On some nights things just don’t click, and missed opportunities at the rim can certainly add up when that’s the case. Was that game an anomaly for Brown? It likely was, because the junior’s shot lower than 40% from the field in just five of Stanford’s 15 games to date. If Brown can continue to get to the basket and, just as importantly, continue to convert those opportunities other parts of the floor should open up for him.

While scoring options such as Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell receive the majority of the attention and rightfully so, Brown’s return (especially with the loss of Andy Brown to another knee injury) was an important development for a Stanford program looking to break through and reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
63.5% FG, 60.0% 3PT, 71.2% FT = 194.7
Shot %: 18.4
eFG %: 71.8
True shooting %: 72.4

2) Jason Calliste (Oregon) 
48.8, 56.1, 88.8 = 193.7
Shot %: 13.9
eFG %: 61.4
True shooting %: 71.5

3) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
48.1, 51.9, 89.8 = 189.8
Shot %: 16.5
eFG %: 67.0
True shooting %: 71.9

4) Matt Kennedy (Charleston Southern) 
48.6, 52.3, 86.8 = 187.7
Shot %: 18.2
eFG %: 59.7
True shooting %: 64.5

5) Anthony Brown (Stanford) 
51.9, 52.9, 81.3 = 186.1
Shot %: 18.9
eFG %: 61.9
True shooting %: 65.3

6) Keawe Enos (Utah Valley) 
48.8, 50.0, 85.0 = 183.8
Shot %: 15.0
eFG %: 65.5
True shooting %: 67.9

7) Michael Frazier II (Florida)
49.2, 47.3, 86.2 = 182.7
Shot %: 21.5
eFG %: 65.4
True shooting %: 67.8

8) Doug McDermott (Creighton) 
49.5, 43.4, 89.6 = 182.5
Shot %: 37.3
eFG %: 56.8
True shooting %: 62.3

9) Nic Moore (SMU)
50.4, 51.5, 80.0 = 181.9
Shot %: 20.1
eFG %: 63.7
True shooting %: 66.3

10) Jarvis Summers (Ole Miss)
52.4, 51.8, 77.4 = 181.6
Shot %: 26.0
eFG %: 61.1
True shooting %: 65.1

Five Perimeter Marksmen (20 or fewer two-point attempts) 

1) Ethan Wragge (Creighton)
50.0% 3 PT (2-for-6 2PT)

2) Jeff Elorriaga (Boise State) 
50.0% 3PT (5-for-9 2PT)

3) Ben Cherry (Charlotte)
50.0% 3PT (5-for-15 2PT)

4) Brady Heslip (Baylor) 
49.4% 3PT (7-for-20 2PT)

5) Jordan Potts (UNCG) 
47.9% 3PT (9-for-15 2PT)

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8

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