College Hoops

Three Point Threat?: Armando Bacot Expanding his Game for Upcoming Season

The age of the traditional center position within the NBA is gone, due to the evolution of perimeter-oriented offenses. In addition, European basketball and the overall skillset of a “Natural 5” in the NBA rarely allows big men to cluster the paint area like the late 90’s and early 2000’s (Shaq, David Robinson, Sabonis, Vlade Divac). For post players, having a midrange game is mandatory to prevent one from sitting the pine as a one-dimensional front-court player.

This week, new UNC head coach Hubert Davis spoke on the upcoming season, his expectations and areas of growth for one individual specifically – Armando Bacot – who returned for his junior year in hopes of bringing National Championship to Chapel Hill.

It’s no secret the NCAA allows players to test the waters by entering their name into the NBA draft – allowing them to receive valuable feedback from scouts, general managers and coaches at the highest level. This feedback gives players, such as Bacot, the opportunity to return to school and elevate their game.

During his sophomore campaign Bacot averaged 12.3 points and 7 rebounds, while shooting a career high 63 percent from the field. He attempted just one 3 point field goal all season. That’s something Hubert Davis wants Bacot to do more of this season – expand his game by attempting more 3-point shots.

“Has to be able to shoot the ball from the outside. This summer he has worked so hard on his outside shot, even all the way out to the three-point range. That’s something we are going to encourage. We want his ability to be able to space the floor.”

Don’t look at this as him taking away from his inside game, but more turning it up a notch by expanding his horizons and being more versatile.

Hubert was known as a 3-point specialist during his playing days – giving defenses fits with his ability to consistently knock down the outside shot.

This can go several ways. UNC runs more of an uptempo offense (with the exception of last year). Carolina is also known for its primary and secondary break – getting the ball in transition, feeding the interior and kicking it outside to shooters if the lane is clogged. Bacot has been effective at cleaning the boards and producing second-chance point opportunities. Teams last season focused on playing a packed-line defense – forcing the Heels to shoot. It worked because post players were reluctant to shoot, leading to very little midrange production. There’s a lot of talent on the wing and at the guard position with this incoming class. The Heels could play some high-low ball action, or force Bacot into the pick and roll – inevitably giving him opportunities to fade to the outside for 3 point shooting.

For much of last season Carolina was top 5 in the country in second chance points. Will this change have an effect on second chance scoring, if Bacot isn’t in the interior for extended possessions? If struggles ensue early will Hubert’s tone change for the betterment of the team? One would have to assume so. Of course, he emphasized wanting Bacot to expand his game, which doesn’t necessarily mean just jacking up 3’s in the Heels system, but getting ready for the next level.

Copyright 2019 Fuel Themes. All RIGHTS RESERVED.