Arizona putting premium on shooting

Arizona has put a premium on shooting this season. Read on to see how much work has been put in, why the mid-range jump shot may be a lost art, and more.

Although Arizona's identity revolves around defense and rebounding, Arizona head coach Sean Miller makes no secret of the fact that he also stresses shooting.

Recently Aaron Gordon made a comment about how much he and his teammates practice shooting and Miller gave an idea of what that work consists of.

"We have put a premium on shooting before our year begins in the spring," Miller said. "When basketball just ends there is that six to eight week period of time where players are finishing up the second semester and we are headed towards the spring, we shoot three times a week as many as 6 to 700 game shots and that feeds into the summer."

Miller says that practices consistent of a shooting routine that includes free-throws, where Arizona has struggled this season.

"In our practices, there is a part of every day that we shoot," he said. "Same thing with free-throws, we try to shoot 100 as much as we can. During practice we do it in different ways, we do it to try to simulate pressure."

Arizona may be able to execute well, but Miller also insinuates that a lot of what happens on the court has to do with luck or goes beyond simple skill.

"One thing that you sometimes can lose track of in basketball is that it is such a skill sport the play could be great, screen could be terrific, could have a big, strong team, but the ball has to go in," Miller said.

"There's a lot of plays that happen during a game where it has nothing to do with execution, it just has to do with you're dealing with a really skilled player that bails you out."

In this era of basketball, the mid-range jump shot is basically gone. Arizona's head coach feels that it has to do with the basic numbers of the game.

"Part of it is if you just do the math, it is not a good shot many times," Miller said. "An 18-foot two, when you think you have to make one out of two, you back up a foot, you have to make one out of three to get the same value.

"Being cognizant of where the line is makes a lot of sense to take that same shot behind the line. Nick Johnson for example has really improved his middle game, pull-ups, floaters, we worked hard on that, but a three-point shot and an inside shot and a foul shot are the three best."


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