Through four games this season, the Florida men’s basketball team has displayed consistency in at least one aspect — poor 3-point shooting.
After another dismal performance from the 3-point line in UF’s 62-59 loss at UConn — the Gators hit just 5 of 20 attempts from behind the arc — sophomore point guard Andrew Nembhard confirmed what the public has seen in the early stretch: Florida is struggling to buy a basket from downtown.
“I think we’re just in a slump right now,” Nembhard said. “I think we’ve all shot our worst kind of game so far. So, I think you can only go up from there."
Florida ranks No. 331 in NCAA Division I basketball in 3-point field-goal percentage heading into this week’s Charleston Classic, and it’s been the team’s top outside shooters — sophomore Noah Locke and freshman Tre Mann — leading the way when it comes to inefficiency.
Locke is just 5-for-22 from 3 to begin the season — a noticeable dip in production for the Baltimore native who last season broke UF’s freshman record for made 3-pointers.
Mann — who suffered a concussion late in Florida’s loss to the Huskies — hasn’t fared much better as he’s connected on just two of his 12 attempts this season.
“I think it’s a little bit overthinking,” Nembhard speculated, “a little bit of us just worrying about other things, instead of just kind of being confident, knocking down shots.”
With nine new faces in the fold for Florida, a program-wide transition was always possible if not an expectation; while often an indictment of a team’s long-term potential, early bumps in the road also serve as a gauge for a team’s progress from start to finish.
High expectations aside, UF is no different. Meaning the message is still one of patience.
“I don’t think it’s too hard to overcome for us, I think shooting will come,” Nembhard said. “Offense, I think you’ll see some more with more time to kind of gel with each other."
Regardless, the early-season shooting woes have still come as a bit of a shock to the system, especially to those who bear witness to Florida’s preparation.
Considering the team continues to shoot the 3 at a high clip in practice, coach Mike White said the message remains the same: keep shooting until they fall.
“We’ve shot it really well in practice, and I continue to hope and pray that they’ll go. I’ve got confidence in our ability to shoot it. It’ll carry over to games,” White said firmly. “I think sometimes we shoot it a little too tired. And shot selection is another factor. I think we’ve taken some bad ones as well. So, we have a few factors we’re dealing with.”
Who: Florida (2-2) vs. Saint Joseph’s (2-2)
When: 2 p.m.
What: Charleston Classic
Where: TD Arena, Charleston, S.C.
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850