"We've been making a big emphasis now on recruiting shooters, especially at the 1, 2 and 3 spots," Pitino said. "Every person we're going after now the prerequisite is they have to be able to shoot the ball."
Example 1: Mike Marra, who verbally committed to Louisville Thursday afternoon.
former standout Francisco Garcia.
Marra, a 6-5 shooting guard from Smithfield, R.I., fits the mold Pitino is looking for. Marra, considered one of the elite three-point shooters in the junior class nationally, recently made 10-of-11 three-pointers in a game and has made 55 percent of his three-point attempts since December.
"It really is a big key," Pitino said. "A perfect example of that is 2005 and going to the Final Four. We were limited, banged up and only six and half deep and we go to a Final Four because we shoot it at the 1, 2 and 3, played good defense and passed it well. If you can recruit people that can make it it's a big weapon."
While the Cardinals look like contenders this season, it's because of the outstanding brand of defense they play – not their offensive ability. Louisville ranks fourth nationally in field goal percent defense, but only 11th in scoring offense and eighth in field goal percentage. The Cards also rank 12th in the Big East in free throwing shooting percentage.
"It's pretty much a prerequisite now that you've got to be able to shoot it and take good shots," Pitino said. "Some teams can shoot it but take bad shots and they don't go far."
Next season, the college three-point line will move further back, from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches. Though Pitino doesn't feel that change will have too great an impact on the game, it does appear a wise-move to place more emphasis on recruiting better outside shooters.
"My thinking is if they're going to move it move it back, move it to a legitimate distance," Pitino said. "Where they moved it I don't think there will be any change. Matter of fact, if you look in our gym we put the other line in this year to get our guys used to it now so you don't just abruptly start to take it. We wanted to work on it a good year ahead of time."
Pitino also realizes the obvious benefits of finding power forwards who can step out and make the open three.
"If you can get a four that who can shoot it like Duke it's a tremendous weapon," Pitino said, referencing freshman forward Kyle Singler. "Earl Clark and Tello (Palacios) can shoot it. Earl will be back next year so we'll be OK there. George Goode can shoot the three. We will not have a five (that can shoot it). Samardo and Terrence Jennings don't shoot it from that range."