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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Free Throws are Called Free for a Reason

If I was a reporter instead of a idiot blogger, I would ask John Calipari one question: Why do you think your teams never shoot free throws well?  To me, it is such an anomaly for his teams.  You would think that since he took the job at Memphis, at least one team would have lucked into a season of 70% or higher free throw shooting.  The AVERAGE free throw percentage in NCAA basketball in 2008 was 68.9%.  Calipari’s teams have only passed that mark ONCE in the last 10 years.  And that was by 1/10 of a percent.

And what’s worse: Calipari lost a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP almost strictly based on free throws.  You would think that would bring extra motivation for him to work on his team’s free throw percentage.  Instead, this years team is off to a horrendous start from the charity stripe.  Right now, they are neck and neck with that national runner-up team, which is not a compliment. 

2010-11 (Kentucky): 61.5%
2009-10 (Kentucky): 66.9%
2008-09 (Memphis): 69.0%
2007-08 (Memphis): 61.4%
2006-07 (Memphis): 62.1%
2005-06 (Memphis): 68.2%
2004-05 (Memphis): 68.4%
2003-04 (Memphis): 65.7%
2002-03 (Memphis): 65.4%
2001-02 (Memphis): 66.7%

Let’s be honest, last years team largely depended on Wall and Bledsoe to shoot free throws at the end of games.  Otherwise, there may have been a game or two more the Cats would have lost last season. 

The question that I wanted to investigate further was this: Are Cal’s players bad free throw shooters naturally OR does playing for Cal decrease their percentage.  I looked at each of Cal’s professional players and compared their percentage while playing in college with their NBA percentage:

John Wall
College: 75.4%
Pro: 80.8%

Demarcus Cousins
College: 60.4%
Pro: 69.0%

Eric Bledsoe
College: 66.7%
Pro: 82.8%

Tyreke Evans
College: 71.1%
Pro: 74.8%

Derrick Rose
College: 71.2%
Pro: 77.6%

Joey Dorsey
College: 42.0%
Pro: 44.4%

Chris Douglas-Roberts
College: 72.5%
Pro: 82.4%

Rodney Carney
College: 71.8%
Pro: 70.3%

Shawne Williams
College: 78.6%
Pro: 70.1%

Earl Barron
College: 79.6%
Pro: 73.4%

Marcus Camby
College: 66.1%
Pro: 68.0%

Only 3 of Coach Cal’s 11 current NBA players have seen their free throw percentage DECREASE while playing professionally.

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE FREE THROWS, BOTH THIS SEASON AND FOR THE FUTURE?

Article written by Bryan the Intern