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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: De’Aaron Fox and the Jumper


If you took a poll of UK fans right now, I tend think that De’Aaron Fox might be the biggest fan favorite on the team.  We’ll see as the season progresses, but I think Fox might be UK’s best point guard under Calipari, even better than Wall or Ulis.  I haven’t seen a college player so easily get to the basket and run the floor in transition better than Fox, and he has a very good assist to turnover ratio.  Let’s not forget that Wall had a big problem with turnovers during his time at Kentucky.  But for some reason, despite his effortless ability to get to the rim and finish, Fox seems to love to take the jump shot……without much success.  I looked at the shot charts from every game this season and charted Fox’s shooting percentage from 10 feet out to the 3-point line and for 3-pointers and the numbers are not pretty:

Mid-range (10 feet to 3-point line)
Stephen F. Austin: 0-1
Canisius: 1-2
Michigan State: 1-4
Duquesne: 2-6
Cleveland State: 2-5
UT-Martin: 1-2
Arizona State: 0-3
UCLA: 2-6
Valpo: 0-4
Hofstra: 1-1
North Carolina: 1-5
Louisville: 1-5
TOTAL: 12-44 (27.3%)

Stephen F. Austin: 0-2
Canisius: 0-3
Michigan State: 0-2
Duquesne: 1-2
Cleveland State: 0-2
UT-Martin: 0-3
Arizona State: 1-1
UCLA: 1-4
Valpo: 0-1
Hofstra: 0-1
North Carolina: 0-2
Louisville: 1-3
TOTAL: 4-26 (15.4%)

A combined 16 of 70 on shots from 10 feet and longer for the season.  That’s just a little bit above 22%.  From inside 10 feet this season, Fox is 52 of 84 for 62%.

Now, the question is whether Fox taking mid-range shots is some part of the gameplan or just his belief in his shot.  Could this be an example of Calipari “preparing a guy for the NBA”.  Whatever the answer is, it’s clear at this point that jump shooting is not Fox’s strength and doesn’t always give UK the best chance to win.  Against the Duquesne’s of the world, it doesn’t really matter.  But against Michigan State, Arizona State, UCLA, North Carolina, and Louisville this season, Fox is just 8 for 35 from outside of 10 feet.

35 shots in 5 games against Power 5 schools, or an average of 7 shots per game outside of 10 feet, while just shooting 22% on those shots.

I am not the coach.  I am not as smart as our coach.  I’m sure there is an explanation on the strategy there.  I would just like to know what it is.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

16 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: De’Aaron Fox and the Jumper

  1. Cat68
    8:16 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

    Excellent analysis BTI! Explains why he is the ‘dribble’ and the ‘drive’ role of our dribble/drive offense. Not that we run much of it; I mean, hell, the dribble/step-back-3 has taken over these days.

  2. unbridled
    8:23 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

    He needs to be limited to shots 8′ and under. I don’t understand why he can’t shoot. His motion looks sound. His release seems to be sufficient. The ball just refuses to go in. How many of his jumpers rim in and out? It’s puzzling, but until the shots start falling…he needs to be limited on attempts. Briscoe also needs to be restricted to lay ups.

  3. meeksfor3
    8:29 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

    Matt says he doesn’t want anyone on this team taking that shot but I feel Monk is pretty good in that range with a pull up or floater. I would love to know his percentages on those shots.

  4. runtsfan
    8:44 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

    Like I said yesterday and got criticized for saying, in my opinion, Cal’s system lets the superstars make the decisions early in their time at UK how best to showcase themselves to the NBA. Most of them come around to the idea that if they show they can play with discipline in Cal’s system, they will get their high lottery selection. Before they come around, those decisions can cost you games and Cal is Ok with it. I don’t think he likes it, but it’s part of the deal. Very high ranking recruits do not get benched for playing poorly.

    • Megan
      11:29 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

      Sounds like you came up with this theory to explain your view that Fox or some other “superstar” should have been benched. But look at what you’re saying: Cal lets superstars (most of his recruits are superstars, no?) have all the power, and it’s the superstars who decide when, if ever, they will play in Cal’s system (whatever that is). And you say Cal doesn’t like it, but he allows it to happen because he made a deal that the 18-year-olds are in control of his program. And he just has to hope they eventually come around. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what you’re saying.

      I’m not surprised people aren’t buying into your theory. The nice thing about science is that when a theory doesn’t hold up, you can always work on another.

      Every year Cal tells us that it takes time to get to know his team, to see what he has, and to figure out how they can play best together (no system). But from Day One it’s been clear that he doesn’t let anybody try things they can’t do. DeMarcus shooting 3s is a good example. He figures this out primarily in practice. Unless you’ve shown what he calls “demonstrated performance,” he won’t allow you to do it. It was only after Willie demonstrated he could make 3s in practice that Coach allowed him to start taking a few in games. If you’ve been paying attention at all these last 7+ years, you know all this. Cal is in control, not the 18-year-olds. That’s one of the reasons they come here: to learn and be held accountable.

      It would be a more productive exercise if you explained the reason you think Fox or some other “superstar” should have been benched. Let’s start there. Because you think missing open shots is the same as playing poorly?

    • unbridled
      1:00 pm December 23, 2016 Permalink

      Megan, you don’t think monk and fox struggled in the UL game?

  5. JC Ice
    8:55 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

    Speaking of shooting, Briscoe has to be an idiot if he thinks he is going to the NBA. The average NBA player could shoot better with their butt cheeks. Can’t shoot, short and stumpy.

  6. kentuckyjoe
    9:48 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

    If that jumper ever starts working he’ll score 50/gm. Everything about his shot looks beautiful until the last moment, when it clangs off of the rim. He’ll get it dialed in. And it would be nice if that happened this year.

    • unbridled
      10:52 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

      Completely agree! When fox finds his shot…this team will make a giant leap.

    • RealCatsFan
      11:12 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

      And when Wenyen or Willis learn to play defense, we will really be good!

  7. theWilkman
    11:14 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

    It’s not Cal preparing him for the NBA because virtually no team features the long 2, precisely because no one hits it with any regularity. You either score at the basket or hit 3s. I just don’t get why he does it. If he insists on shooting a long, low percentage shot, why not take literally one step back and shoot a 3? I hope it drives Cal as insane as it drives me.

  8. The Professor
    11:32 am December 23, 2016 Permalink

    This team is fun to watch but the last few games have brought to light some holes. How far can we go with 2 starting guards that can’t shoot and their top replacement (Hawkins) is only marginally better? Fox does some things really well but his defense has been nearly as bad as his shooting. He is getting beat on a regular basis and we no longer have a menacing presence underneath that can block or intimidate on drives to the basket.

  9. Nutwrap
    1:08 pm December 23, 2016 Permalink

    When the shot clock has one second, I don’t care who has the ball; just shoot it.

  10. GroundControlToNumber9
    8:03 pm December 23, 2016 Permalink

    This is all based on him being fatigued (heavy breathing).

    When he’s rested he can hit the shot… but because Cal has him using his strength of speed as a constant weapon at the point it creates a weakness.

    Pitino use to counter act this by training his players so hard in practice that they can still keep their accuracy when it matters. The only guys this still doesn’t help are the ones who simply don’t have a shot (e.g., Wayne Turner).

    The worst case scenario is if we don’t get this fixed (either by A. Having him not shoot or B. Having him practice even harder & learn to keep his accuracy, C. Playing him less time (instead of 35-38 minutes give him more rests resulting in him play closer to 25-30).

    We can’t sustain a Final Four game where Monk goes cold & Fox & Briscoe settle for outside shots… this is the achilles heel of this team.