As the three-point shot continues to cement itself in the fabric of basketball, its usage grows and grows. The Tar Heels are certainly no strangers to this reality. While Carolina and Roy Williams don’t rely on the three nearly as heavily as other teams, the usage for the Tar Heels has grown by leaps and bounds the last several years. The one exception in recent years (as you’ll see below) is the 2019-20 season.
- 2019-20: 181-595
- 2018-19: 312-862
- 2017-18: 305-849
- 2016-17: 283-798
- 2015-16: 224-685
- 2014-15: 184-514
- 2013-14: 146-434
Year-over-year, Carolina took 267 fewer threes in 2019-20 than they did in 2018-19 and made 131 fewer. Also, the 181 makes in 2019-20 is the fewest they’ve made since connecting on 146 in 2013-14. The 595 attempts are the fewest since taking 514 in 2014-15.
The reason for the drop-off this season is two-fold. First, the NCAA moved back the three-point line in 2019-20, resulting in fewer makes and attempts for teams across the board. Additionally, because the Tar Heels played several fewer games than normal, they had fewer attempts (36 games in 2018-29, 33 in 2019-20).
The Tar Heels have graduated their two most prolific three-point shooters in program history over the course of the past five seasons. Marcus Paige graduated in 2016 as the leading career three-point shooter in Carolina history with 299 (Shammond Williams was the previous leader with 233). Two years later, Joel Berry graduated with the second-most career made threes for a Tar Heel (266). In 2018-19, another Tar Heel shot his way up the record board: Cameron Johnson hit 143 in his year-and-a-half of playing for UNC (18 on the list). Had he not missed 11 games to start his first year in Chapel Hill, he would be even higher on the list.
With all these players moving rapidly up the charts, how did the 2019-20 roster fare in terms of career made threes?
What follows is a chart with the career three-point numbers and ranking on the UNC all-time three-pointer list for each player on the 2019-20 roster after the season:
- Brandon Robinson finishes his career with the 31st most threes in Carolina history and the highest on this year’s roster.
- Cole Anthony made 49 threes in his one season in Chapel Hill, good for 48th all-time. Given his 11 missed games and average of 2.23 made threes per game, Anthony would have made around 73-74 threes this season. Extrapolated over a four-year career, that completely inexact math equates to somewhere from 292-296 threes in his career (putting him right up there in Marcus Paige territory).
- Behind Robinson and Anthony no other Tar Heels has 30 or more career threes. Andrew Platek is the closest at 28. Carolina simply just did not have many reliable shooters in 2019-20.
- Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce both came in as grad transfers with a knack for hitting shots. Both players made just 16 threes in their sole year in Carolina blue.
- Prior to this season, Garrison Brooks had not attempted a three-pointer in college. In 2019-20 he took seven and made two of them.
- In the five games he played, Anthony Harris went 3-for-7 from deep.
- As previously referenced, Platek will be the returning player with the most career made threes (28). Leaky Black is second with 21, and KJ Smith is third with just four.
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