Connecticut Huskies Off To A Perfect Start Due To Lights-Out Perimeter Shooting

By Daniel Karpuc
Shabazz Napier
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Connecticut Huskies are shooting 46.5 percent from three-point range this season as a team. You might want to read that first sentence again, for it is an incredible number. In fact, it ranks third in the nation behind Colgate’s 51 percent and Gonzaga’s 48.1 percent. They lead the American Athletic Conference by a long shot with SMU coming in second at 41.3 percent followed by Rutgers at 37.3 percent.

Five Huskies are shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc, led by senior Niels Giffey (66.7 percent), followed by redshirt senior Lasan Kromah (58.3 percent), senior Shabazz Napier (57.1 percent), junior Ryan Boatright (45.5 percent), and junior DeAndre Daniels (41.4 percent). All of these surgical shooters have made at least 10 three-pointers this season, with the exception of Kromah who has swished seven.

Giffey leads the nation in three-point shooting percentage and has gone a baffling 18-of-27 from behind the arc this season. Oddly enough, the German-born forward has gone only 10-of-16 from the free throw line. Maybe he should just stick to camping out behind the three point line.

Their success from the outside comes as a bit of a surprise, but it was also a point of emphasis on the offseason coming off of a year when the Huskies shot 34 percent from three, going 191-of-561 on the year. In 2011-12 they shot just 33.2 percent, coming off of a 32.9 percent showing in 2010-11’s NCAA Championship season. As you can see, three-point shooting hasn’t been a strength of this team in recent memory.

Defense and protecting the rim seemed to be Jim Calhoun’s strategy, which worked out great and resulted in bringing three National Championships to Connecticut. However, current head coach Kevin Ollie has taken that same philosophy and expanded it to include working the ball around the perimeter and taking good shots on offense. It is this emphasis and ability to convince his players to work as one unit that will lead Ollie to become an excellent coach at Connecticut and perhaps allow him to equal or trump the National Championship titles of his legendary predecessor when it is all said and done.

Dan Karpuc is the Connecticut Huskies beat writer for Follow him on Twitter @dan_karpuc, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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