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An Open Letter To The Marquette Men's Basketball Team

It's time to address something that we all know is an issue.

Jajuan Johnson came to MU with a rep as a shooter, but that didn't pan out during his freshman year.
Jajuan Johnson came to MU with a rep as a shooter, but that didn't pan out during his freshman year.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

To: Juan Anderson, Deonte Burton, Matt Carlino, Sandy Cohen, John Dawson, Luke Fischer, Jajuan Johnson, Todd Mayo, Steve Taylor, Jr., Derrick Wilson, and Duane Wilson

From: Anonymous Eagle on behalf of Marquette fans everywhere

CC: Steve Wojciechowski, Chris Carrawell, Mark Phelps, and Brett Nelson

Hey guys.

Summer school starts today, so I presume most, if not all of you are back on campus to knock out a class or two in the nice summer weather to alleviate some of your class load during the regular school year.  Well, I guess except for Sandy Cohen, who I suppose is still finishing up high school.  Well, that still applies to him when the second session starts in late June.  The upside to summer school is not only a slightly easier educational load while you're competing as a high major Division 1 athlete, but a chance to get a little athletic work in as well.

As you're probably well aware, the NCAA allows any men's basketball player enrolled in summer school to "engage in required weight-training, conditioning and skill-related instruction" for any eight weeks of the summer.  That's eight hours per week, no more than two per day, and no more than two of skill instruction.

We have a simple request: Please use these two hours a week to work on your three point shooting.

That goes for all of you.  Yes, even you, Luke Fischer.

For the last two seasons, Marquette fans have sat through the two worst three point shooting teams in the KenPom era, which, thanks to a handy update by the esteemed Mr. Pomeroy, now dates back to the 2001-02 season.  That goes both in terms of percentages - 29.6% in 2012-13 and 32.1% in 2013-14 - and in terms of national ranking - #323 in '12-'13 and #276 in '13-'14 - so there's no confusing a bad year for MU with a bad year across the country.

What makes those shooting percentages particularly horrible is the application of effective field goal percentage.  When you add in the bonus 50% for making a three point basket, that gives MU an eFG% of 48.1% behind the arc last season.  If you're effectively shooting under 50% behind the arc, you're also effectively wasting possessions when you miss more than two-thirds of the three pointers that you attempt.

It's also really hard to watch, to be honest.  The defense knows that they don't have to take shooters seriously, the home crowd faithful lacks the, well, faith that shots will fall, and it's just not fun.

Luckily, shooting is something you can improve if you work on it.  I'm not a basketball genius or anything, so I'm not going to recommend drills to run or anything like that.  Find something that works for you, even on an individual player level if need be, and use that to improve the long range shooting overall.  I doubt it was on purpose, but Coach Wojo brought in an excellent shooter as an assistant coach.  Your new assistant coach Brett Nelson broke Florida's record for three pointers made and three pointers taken when he played for the Gators, and he still ranks amongst the top 4 in UF history in both categories.  In addition to that, Coach Nelson shot 42.2% behind the arc for his career, which is better than any season by any Marquette player since Darius Johnson-Odom and Maurice Acker both shot better than 47% in 2009-2010, so I'm pretty sure he can teach you guys a thing or two about a thing or two if you lock him into the practice gym at the Al McGuire Center and ask nicely.

To recap: You have lots of time in the summer, you can spend lots of time working on your outside shots, please do that, and please ask Coach Nelson for all the help you can drag out of him.

We're not asking much.  Just a few more made three pointers per game.  It can easily be done.