Practicing Free Throws

8 01 2009

Buzz Williams, Marquette’s head coach, has stated that he doesn’t make his squad practice free throws.

“Do you practice riding your bike?” Williams asked. “Those kids have grown up playing ball their whole life. You step to the line and you make free throws, and your shot doesn’t change. Just like when you’re riding a bike, it doesn’t change no matter how long it’s been since you rode a bike.

“But your mind needs to be right in order to make free throws … No, we don’t shoot free throws (in practice). Step to the line, shoot to make, be mentally tough enough to make them.”

That seems a little off.  Given that only two of their guys shoot over 80% — Wesley Matthews (82.5%) and Lazar Hayward (80.6%) — you’d think Williams would have them practice their free throws.

9.8 of their 30 free throw attempts per game are thrown up by people that are  shooting lower than 70% from the line.  Those six guys are shooting a combined 50% so if one of them are fouled during crunch time, it’s essentially a coin toss.

Repetition matters.  If I were Williams, I would allocate at least one segment of each practice to shooting free throws.

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