Blueprint: Jarell Flora's jump shot

Few things can silence a cranky basketball purist like watching a pure shooter go to work. Jarell Flora is Seattle U's designated sniper, the shooter whose stroke can shut up those who may not appreciate the Redhawks' emphasis on athleticism, isolation and ball screens with this season's roster.

Flora, a 6-3 redshirt junior from Bremerton (Wash.) High School, became a key player in SU's rotation last season when he averaged 5.9 points in nearly 17 minutes per game. He hit 35 percent of his three-pointers and finished second on the team in threes behind senior starter Chad Rasmussen.

The highlight of Flora's sophomore campaign was an 18-point effort against Texas-Arlington on Feb. 16, when "Juice" hit 7-of-9 shots from the field and 3-of-5 beyond the arc. Flora also hit 4-of-8 from long distance against Texas-San Antonio on Jan. 24, and he hit a triple in each of Seattle U's final three games of the season.

"He shoots the lights out," Redhawks coach Cameron Dollar says of Flora. "I'm looking forward to him having a really good year. From a scoring standpoint, a breakout year. He can score in a variety of ways. ... He's worked hard on his shooting to become a deadeye, knockdown shooter."

After using the spring and summer to put some more muscle on his 185-pound frame, improve his ball handling and (of course) fine-tune his shot, Flora will compete for a starting job and could see time at two-guard, small forward and even a little point guard. Here, the versatile Flora talks about his biggest strength on the court:


REDHAWK NATION: What did you work on this offseason?

Jarell Flora: I worked mainly on my guard skills. I did some form shooting to make sure my jumper is still on. I gained a little weight -- about five pounds, maybe. I tried to maintain and keep consistent and get better every day.

Was that a plan you mapped out with the coaches going into the offseason?

When we got done last season, we just went back at it. We went hard every day. We didn't really have to talk about it, we just went out there and performed.

What does your form-shooting workout consist of?

I start right under the basket and just get my form right, get my legs under me. Then I step out a little more, then shoot some free throws. I want to keep my form consistent, so it's all one motion and I'm using my whole body. During the season I'll get more reps up and work on the shooting machine.

What is your in-season shooting regimen?

I try to get at least 500 shots up a day, before practice and after practice. I'll shoot 100 from five spots around the arc, about half mid-range and half threes from each spot.

Has shooting been a natural part of your game since you started playing, or did you turn yourself into a shooter?

I'd say I've always been pretty good at it. My Dad was a shooter, so I learned a lot from him. "Shooters shoot" -- that was his motto. He taught me that you have to keep at it, be consistent and try to get shots up each and every day.

Can you watch and learn from other shooters on the NBA or college level?

I really like watching Ray Allen, his ability to run off screens and not always having to use the ball to get open.

How much have you tinkered with your shooting form over the years?

I think my form just progressed naturally over time. When I was younger it was a little different just because I wasn't as strong. I've changed it a little: making sure to keep my elbow in, my off-hand barely touching the ball, keeping the palm of my hand on the ball. And the follow-through, that's really important.

What's your favorite spot on the floor?

My favorite is probably the left wing.

Can someone become a great shooter without having the perfect form?

I think if you're comfortable with your shot, the possibilities are limitless. You don't have to have a specific form. There are a lot of shooters that have ugly jump shots...

Shawn Marion comes to mind...

Exactly. But if you get enough reps and are confident in your shot, it can work for you.

Point guards talk about knowing where their teammates like to catch the ball and making an effort to place their passes in that spot. How much does the catch impact your shot?

I don't really think it's where you catch it, but whether you're ready to catch it. If you're not ready, you might be off-balance or you might not be set and it's going to throw your timing off. If you're ready to sit down and shoot and you don't have to double-clutch or anything, you can catch it almost anywhere and still get a good shot.

What do you mean by "sit down and shoot"?

That just means having a good posture, knees slightly bent, so you can put your legs into the shot. I always try to have one foot back, to give me a little head start.

People say your legs are just as important as your arms when shooting.

Yeah. I mean, I don't think leg strength is as big of a deal as people think it is to a shooter, but having good posture is important.

What's your shooting regimen on game day?

I start with some layups just to get my legs warm, then take a couple steps out and get some jump shots in. Then free throws. Free throws really help you get your legs under you and get your jump shot going. I take a few threes after that. Mainly I just try to stay warm.

How do you respond if you're in a shooting slump?

It's all about your ability to adjust. Hitting a couple of shots in a row is a big confidence booster, but if you're missing, you have to be able to analyze your shot -- maybe it's going far left, maybe it's going short -- so you can find your consistency.

You can be "the shooter" on this team, but I assume you want to do more than just stand in the corner and wait for a pass. How do you see your role on the team this season?

Being a scorer, whether it's coming off the bench or starting. Playing good defense. I take pride in my one-on-one defense. Also rebounding. I think I've improved on that this year: boxing out better, keeping an eye on the ball and getting position for the angle where it might come off the rim.

The stats show that you improved from your freshman year to your sophomore year. What would you consider an improvement from your sophomore year to your junior year?

My mindset right now is just on winning the WAC championship. I think we have enough potential to win it. Then we can go on to the NCAA tournament.


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