Relax, Darnell Dodson. Replacing Meeks is ..."/>

Relax, Darnell Dodson. Replacing Meeks is ..."/>

Filling the Void or "Who's gonna shoot the 3's?"


Relax, Darnell Dodson. Replacing Meeks is not up to just you.

Now that Jodie Meeks is gone (and being unfairly demonized by a lot of UK fans), it’s time to take a look at this 2009-2010 roster and decide who is going to feel the void left by Meeks. Granted, Meeks was a great player and his impact on this team was great, but the players that Cal has recruited should have no problem stepping up.

To look at the future, we need to look at the past… or Calipari’s past teams. Last year’s Memphis Tigers hit 222 3 pointer’s (20 more than UK’s 202), and Doneal Mack led the team with 63 3’s, followed by Roburt Sallie’s 55 and Tyreke Evans with 34. In comparison, Meeks accounted for 117 of UK’s 3’s followed by Michael Porter with 32. UK opponents found it too easy to shut down UK by doubling on Meeks, and in effect, shutting down UK’s outside game. With 3 shooters for Memphis, that became a lot harder to do, plus consider the fact that the DDMO created more open shots than UK’s offense last year.

The 2007-2008 Tigers advanced to the Finals and knocked down 302 3’s along the way. Once again, even numbers from Memphis’s shooters: Mack with 66, Willie Kemp with 51, Antonio Anderson had 51, Chris Douglas – Roberts with 45, and Derrick Rose poured in 35.

In 2006-2007, the Tigers put in 278 3’s with Jeremy Hunt pouring in 89. Kemp put in 51 and Mack added 47. As you can see, Calipari has had great success not with one player getting over half the 3 pointers, but 2-4 players averaging about one 3 pointer a game.

If much maligned Michael Porter can add in over one 3 a game on average, surely UK’s much hyped recruiting class can pick up the slack. Let’s look at our current roster and their propensity for shooting the 3.

Darnell Dodson – widely regarded as the heir apparent to Meeks has great size (6’7) and comes to UK with a hefty 95 player rating from ESPN. Dodson was recruited by Calipari at Memphis and brought to UK so obviously Cal trusts him in thinks he can thrive in the DDMO. Let’s pencil him him as UK’s leader for 3 pointers this year with say, 60 … a little less than two a game.

Darius Miller – Miller came on strong late last year and should have a lot more confidence and he has been praised by Cal for “getting” the offense thus far. Miller poured in 18 3’s last year. It’s not inconceivable to see him pouring in 30 this year.

DeAndre Liggins – struggled mightily last season but he is a top 30 talent and you would think he will improve in Calipari’s DDMO. Liggins is decent from outside and with steady playing time, his numbers will improve. Let’s give him modest improvement from 12 last year to 20 3’s this year.

Jon Hood – it’s hard to expect too much from a freshman that may not start, but from what we hear, he has a good 3 point eye. ESPN scouting says he “can really shoot the three”. Let’s pencil him in for 22 3’s this year.

Josh Harrelson – despite all naysayers, he impressed Calipari enough to make the roster and he has shown to have good touch from outside. He had 5 3’s last year and I expect him to get a few looks from there a game. Let’s put him down for a 3 every other game and say he will get 15.

Patrick Patterson, Daniel Orton, Perry Stevenson – Don’t count on this group hitting any from beyond the line this year, although Perry did drain 3 last year. Just for fun, expect these 3 to score 3 3’s TOTAL.

Ramon Harris – playing time will be at a premium, but lets mark him down for 7 in limited time.

DeMarcus Cousins – ESPN says that “he shoots the 3 without hesitation”. Considering that he is playing for a possible NBA audition (although I don’t buy he is a one and doner) and the fact that he is likely starting, let’s say he gets 3 looks a game and makes one of those. The big freshman is good for 30 3’s.

Eric Bledsoe – I don’t expect him to shoot from 3 that much as he seems better creating shots inside and setting up his teammates. Let’s expect a very conservative 10 from him.

John Wall – He has a good outside game, and he is definitely an upgrade from Michael Porter. On that thought, let’s put his in for 35 3’s this year.

So looking at this, we have a team total of 232 3 pointers, a good 30 more than UK managed this year. Keep in mind, I was probably conservative on some player’s impact but you can see that UK will have the talent to fill the void in 3 pointers. Look for a more balanced 3 pointing team, ala Memphis and the fact that the SEC has not seen the DDMO , the total of 232 may be a worse case goal. I think I underestimated some players but I was being conservative.

Keep in mind the general upgrade of talent, and more of Meeks 23 points again will be absorbed by the new players. It’s not unrealistic to expect that John Wall can average 12 points a game when Michael Porter averaged 4.1 points a game. We can also expect Cousins to throw in at least 12 points a game or so, while Perry averaged around 7.8 a game.

In other words, expect a much more complete team with possibly 5 starters averaging in double digits instead of just Meeks and Patterson doing this last year. Just the pure influx of talent will fill the void of missing Meeks.

Relax Wildcat fans. It’s still a good day to be a Wildcat.

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