‘We educate our guys a lot on what the right three is’

University of Wyoming Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Linder is a strong proponent of analytics, and that analytical approach plays a large role in what kind of three-point shots he wants his team to take.
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 11:03 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2021 at 11:05 PM CST
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LARAMIE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The hallmark of University of Wyoming Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Linder-led teams has always been the ability to shoot three-pointers and to defend the three-point line. It’s that philosophy that made Coach Linder a household name in the Big Sky Conference when he was the head coach at Northern Colorado.

He’s brought that same mentality to Laramie as the head coach of the Cowboys, and it was on full display in the season opener against Detroit-Mercy. The Pokes were able to limit the Titans to only 47 points and 22% from the three-point line.

The Cowboys also made nine threes of their own.

“We educate our guys a lot on what the right three is,” said Linder during Mountain West Conference Media Days during October. “Some guys will just shoot threes, and I want guys that make threes.”

UW Guard Drake Jeffries, a three-point marksman in his own right, knocked down four triples in the opener, and he said it’s not easy to find those “right threes.”

“If the ball touches the paint, or if it’s a rotation three, so ya know ball works its way around the wing and we get a pretty much uncontested three because they run out of guys,” Jeffries explained during an interview last month. “For us, that’s the right three. Being able to do that it’s hard, it’s challenging to get into the paint and then kick out and get a rotation three or paint touch three.”

Xavier DuSell led the Cowboys in three-point makes last season, and he echoed Jeffries’ assessments of what the “right three” is. He also added that his range is a little different.

“Honestly, any shot when I’m feeling hot is a good shot for me,” said DuSell before the season began. “I’m one of those guys where if I see a couple go through I can shoot it from anywhere, and I think it’s going in. But I gotta make the right shots first in order to build up to that.”

Linder has said that the Cowboys’ defense needs to get better this season, and he emphasized the importance of that end of the floor.

“For us to be a top 100 team, to be a top 50 team in the country at this level, you gotta be able to do it on both ends of the floor, so you better be pretty good offensively, and you better be pretty good defensively if you want a chance.”

The Pokes will have the chance to continue to find the “right threes” on Sunday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in Laramie.

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