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The Chase for 180: Joseph Young climbs into Top 10

Feb 26, 2014, 4:05 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 Joseph Young made the decision to transfer from Houston to Oregon during the summer, it was known that the Ducks would be gaining a player more than capable of putting points on the board. As a sophomore Young averaged 18.0 points per game, shooting 45.8% from the field and 42.0% from beyond the arc. Different programs mean getting used to different systems, and for much of the 2013-14 season Young has adjusted well offensively. Young’s raised his field goal percentage up to 48.2%, and one reason for the increase has been the increase in the number of shots he’s attempted at the rim.

According to hoop-math.com just 19.3% of Young’s shot attempts last season were at the rim and nearly 42% of his shots were two-point jumpers. In his first season at Oregon, 36.3% of Young’s shot attempts have come at the rim and 20.9% of his shots have been two-point jumpers. And with that change his offensive rating (131.6), effective field goal (57.2%) and true shooting (63.9%) percentages have all increased while his shot percentage has remained about the same (26.9; 26.6 last season) per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers.

However it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Young (or his teammates, for that matter) this season, as evidenced by a four-game slump he was mired in last month.

Beginning with a loss to Stanford on January 12 and ending with a win at lowly Washington State on January 26, Young shot 11-for-39 (28.2%) from the field and 5-for-20 (25.0%) from beyond the arc. On the season just over 41% of Young’s field goal attempts have been three-pointers. During that four-game stretch the percentage rose to 51.3%. When attacking the opposition Young has proven to be a difficult matchup, something that wasn’t the case during a stretch in which the Ducks went 1-3.

Young got back on the right track, shooting 50% or better from the field in four of the seven games that followed that rough patch. And while the schedule has helped Oregon win three straight games ahead of their trip to Los Angeles this week, the improved offensive production of players such as Young has also been a factor. Can a team that was at one point ranked in the Top 10 fight its way into the NCAA tournament? If Young (Sunday’s 4-for-12 night against Washington State notwithstanding) can continue to perform at the rate he has for much of this season, the Ducks will most likely hear their name called on Selection Sunday.

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) Matt Kennedy (Charleston Southern)
50.7% FG, 51.2% 3PT, 91.0% FT = 192.9
Shot %: 18.8
eFG %: 58.5
True shooting %: 63.1

2) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
60.5, 53.0, 73.6 = 187.1
Shot %: 18.8
eFG %: 68.9
True shooting %: 70.4

3) Jason Calliste (Oregon)
51.5, 48.4, 85.0 = 184.9
Shot %: 17.1
eFG %: 64.6
True shooting %: 70.4

4) Doug McDermott (Creighton)
52.1, 44.3, 88.4 = 184.8
Shot %: 37.6
eFG %: 59.2
True shooting %: 64.3

5) Brett Olson (Denver)
47.5, 43.0, 92.6 = 183.1
Shot %: 22.1
eFG %: 57.5
True shooting %: 63.6

6) Johnny Dee (San Diego)
44.0, 43.8, 93.8 = 181.6
Shot %: 29.9
eFG %: 54.8
True shooting %: 60.6

7) Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State)
45.5, 45.8, 89.5 = 180.8
Shot %: 22.2
eFG %: 63.1
True shooting %: 67.7

8) Trevor Releford (Alabama)
50.8, 40.4, 88.6 = 179.8
Shot %: 27.7
eFG %: 60.5
True shooting %: 65.5

9) Joseph Young (Oregon)
48.2, 42.1, 89.5 = 179.8
Shot %: 26.9
eFG %: 57.2
True shooting %: 63.9

10) Jay Hook (Tulane)
46.7, 49.6, 83.3 = 179.6
Shot %: 22.3
eFG %: 60.0
True shooting %: 65.6

Five Perimeter Marksmen (25 or fewer two-point attempts)

1) Ethan Wragge (Creighton)
50% 3PT; 2-for-6 2PT

2) Anthony Lindauer (High Point)
49.2%; 8-for-25

3) Ben Cherry (Charlotte)
47.7%; 9-for-24

4) Jeff Elorriaga (Boise State)
46.9%; 8-for-17

5) Kikko Haydar (Arkansas)
46.3%; 2-for-10

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29
February 5
February 12
February 19