Countdown to tip-off: Can RMU fix their 3-point shooting woes?
Robert Morris basketball opens their season Nov. 11 against Penn. Over the course of the next month, we’ll post about the things we’re looking forward to leading up to the season.
- Will the 3-point woes continue?
You can talk about players leaving. You can talk about a “down” year from Rodney Pryor. You can talk about defensive scheme.
None of these things affected Robert Morris last season like their inability to shoot from three.
The Colonials were one of the worst three-point shooting teams on the planet last season. That is not hyperbole. The team’s 27.6 three point shooting percentage was third-worst in college basketball last season. Only Grambling State (27.4 percent) and Prairie View A&M (27.3 percent) were worse from downtown.
It was truly remarkable to watch, but not in a fun way. Elijah Minnie led the team with a three point percentage of 32.7. Of course, Minnie was kicked off the team (or left, depending on whose story you believe) after 22 games played. After him, freshman Isaiah Still and senior Rodney Pryor tied at 29 percent.
Pryor’s drop was something no one saw coming. As a junior, he shot 42.9 percent. I think a lot of his struggles can be traced back to the talent that wasn’t there last season. Teams didn’t have to worry about Marcquise Reed driving to the bucket or Lucky Jones standing in the corner. Teams could zero in on Pryor. They weren’t going to let him beat them from three. It worked.
Robert Morris is a program that has relied on the three ball. Take a look at the team three-point percentage and how it ranked across the country:
-2015-‘16: 27.4 (349th overall)
-2014-‘15: 37.5 (51st overall)
-2013-‘14: 38.5 (33rd overall)
-2012-‘13: 38.1 (22nd overall)
-2011-‘12: 35.2 (123rd overall)
RMU didn’t always have unstoppable offenses, but last year was the first time they didn’t finish in the top 165 of offensive efficiency. The offense was bad and most of that can be traced back to three point shooting.
What made RMU’s offense unique in the past was everyone was so well-balanced and efficient. Guys like Velton Jones, Lucky Joones, Russell Johnson, Coron Williams and Karvel Anderson could drive past you just as easily as pull up from three. The whole team could slash to the basket or knock down jumpers.
Robert Morris didn’t really have that last year. Even Minnie, who was viewed as a stretch forward, profiled more like a shooting guard. He took nearly the same amount of three’s (110) and two-point field goals (118).
So how does Robert Morris find its three-point mojo again? A lot of that is unknown.
Let’s start with Matty McConnell. McConnell entered his freshman year with a lot of hype and pedigree. He was great defensively but his non-existent three point shooting hindered him offensively. He shot 41-154 (26.6 percent) from three.
If I had to guess, I would say a sho
ulder injury played a large role in his bad shooting. Nonetheless, if he’s going to be a volume three point shooter, he has to be more effective.
Isaiah Still showed some promise back there too. I like his game a lot because he can drive to the basket and play above the rim. That can really keep defenders off balance.
Lorenzen Wright Jr. is an intriguing recruit under RMU control for the next two years. Judging just by box scores, Wright seems like a good three point shooter with good size.
One thing is for certain: If Robert Morris doesn’t improve its three-point shooting, we could be in for another long season.