Friar Basketball

Jump Shooting and the Jared Bynum Effect

Jared Bynum

Five players in the Big East shot over 50% on open catch and shoot jumpers last season:

  1. Mitchell Ballock, Creighton: 60.9%
  2. Saddiq Bey, Villanova: 53.5%
  3. AJ Reeves, Providence: 52.6%
  4. Markus Howard, Marquette: 51.6%
  5. David Duke, Providence: 50%

In total, 21 players in the league shot over 40% on open catch and shoot opportunities, with noted snipers Myles Powell (40%) and Sean McDermott (41%) just making that list.

Providence’s AJ Reeves and David Duke figure to be two of the more dangerous players to leave open in the Big East next season. Bey is leaving Villanova after his sophomore year and is likely to go in the first half of the first round of the NBA Draft. Howard may have been the best scorer in the country last year — the final season of an outstanding career for the Big East’s all-time leading scorer.

Nearly 20% of Reeves’ shot attempts last season were open catch and shoot opportunities, while Duke took almost 100 more shots than Reeves a season ago — yet fewer of them were open catch and shoot chances. Just over 10% of Duke’s shots from this past season came from these opportunities.

As juniors, both Duke and Reeves can expect to see more of these shots from two reasons. First, shots are there for the taking with the departure of a five man senior class. Luwane Pipkins took 12 more open catch and shoot jumpers than Reeves last year, and 20 more than Duke. Alpha Diallo took more than either one as well, but that may have been a combination of him logging huge minutes and teams not game planning to run Diallo off of the 3-point line (Diallo shot 32.5% on open jumpers).

Secondly, and perhaps more significantly for Providence, is the insertion of Jared Bynum into the lineup.

Bynum sat out last season after a successful freshman campaign at St. Joseph’s in 2018-19. He averaged 11.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.6 rebounds as a freshman, but more impressively he played nearly 37 minutes a game and averaged under two turnovers. His assist to turnover ratio (2.3:1) was the best in the Atlantic-10 two years ago.

The Friars are apparently all in on Bynum, who averaged 17.5 points and six assists as a senior at Georgetown Prep. There is a chance that Ed Cooley could play Duke at point guard next year. At one point last season Cooley compared Duke’s development to that of Kris Dunn, noting that Dunn was not the full time point guard at PC until his third year on campus (in fairness, Dunn missed virtually of his sophomore year to injury and PC had senior Vincent Council leading the offense during Dunn’s rookie year). Duke did handle some point guard duties for Cooley during last summer’s Pan American Games, and it would not be a surprise to see him log 10-15 minutes a game at the 1.

All signs point to Providence leaning heavily on Bynum leaning the offense next year, however. His transition could be smoother than that of Pipkins a year ago, as Bynum has been practicing with the team for over a year, while Pipkins had an injury-plagued offseason (knee and hamstring issues) before the lights turned on. Pipkins was a career gunner at UMass and he carried PC’s offense late last year, but Bynum was brought in to be a more playmaking steady hand.

If that is the case, Reeves and Duke could have more open jumpers ahead of them next year. That would be a very good thing when taking into account their accuracy when left open last season.

The optimism surrounding Bynum is not just limited to Providence circles. CBS Sports listed both Bynum and fellow PC newcomer Noah Horchler as two of the ten most impactful transfers in the country for next season.

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