Shot Quality Notes by Coach Steve Smiley

Shot Quality – “The 180 guy, the 150 team, and the need for 4’s & 3’s” – By Coach Steve Smiley

One of the biggest challenges that we all face no matter the level that we coach at, is teaching our players the value of shot selection and sacrificing okay shots for good shots, and then good shots for great shots.

The better shot we get, obviously the better chance we have at scoring and thus, winning (likewise on defense, holding our opponent to low % shots greatly improves our chances to win).

With that in mind, I wanted to talk about a couple of ideas on how to measure a quality shooting player and team, especially if your program doesn’t have the resources available to look at advanced metrics and stats, effective FG%, true FG%, etc. The majority of programs can only work with the basic box score, and this might help you as a coach to determine how your team is doing from a FG% perspective…

“The 180 Guy”
The concept of the 180 guy has been around forever, and it is a lofty goal for all of your players. To determine if your player is a 180, simply add their FG, 3FG, and FT %’s together and see what that # adds up to (post players are difficult to factor into this formula).

If your player shoots 50% from the field, 40% from 3, and 90% from the FT line, that’s a 180 guy. Obviously, those are really high #’s, so it’s difficult to do (Heard a stat recently that there were only 6 guys in NBA history to maintain 180 through the course of a season; right now, Tyler Haws at BYU is above 180). If you “only” shoot 82% from the FT line, now that same player has to shoot in the mid 50s and the mid 40s (from 3) to make up the difference. Again, this is not easy. As a player metric, it’s worth your time as a coach to check the season box score for all of your players (or do it on a game-by-game basis) and see where they stack. If you have the following:


and the guys with the 133 and 118 are taking the most shots, you’re not doing a good job coaching. Your best shooters need to take the most shots!

“The 150 Team”
Until this year, I never really thought of following our team’s overall FG # until I was speaking with a good friend in Paradise. Recently, our Weber State team was in the Virgin Islands at the Paradise Jam  (I know, it’s a rough life!) and I spent a few minutes talking to another Don Meyer guy, Tom Kelsey who is now Director of Operations for the LSU Tigers. We were talking about the idea, and he started doing some research to see where his team stood with teams in the SEC, the Top 10 National Poll, and the Top NBA teams. After he sent me his results, we did some research as well on our team over the past 5 years, our league champs over the past 5 years, and how our current team stood stacked up against the rest of our league, The Big Sky. Feel free to email Coach Kelsey about his results at

We came to the conclusion that a very good college team has an average over 150 (elite = high 150s), and an elite NBA team has an average over 160 (stats are below). Each league in college is different, however, as the Big Sky typically has a higher # than the SEC (probably because the SEC is built upon elite athleticism, whereas the Big Sky is more about skill & shooting ability with less athleticism).

When looking at our stats, it’s obvious that this year’s current team needs to raise our overall FG# to get in line with our teams from the past (which were very successful teams).

“The Need for 4’s & 3’s”
Looking at stats is great, but without a plan to apply it to your team, the practices, the meetings and film reviews, it’s a useless endeavor. With that in mind, one thing you can do to teach your players about shot quality and turn shot selection into a non-negotiable is to create a shot chart. Throughout my entire time with Coach Meyer as a player and as an assistant, and then through my 6 years at Sheridan College, we always used the concept of the following shot chart:

Shot Chart
4’s = Lay-ups
3’s = Wide open shots taken by good shooters
2’s = Contested shots taken by good shooters
1’s = Bad shots (contested, early in shot clock, first side, no rhythm, etc)
0’s = Turnovers (they’re always the worst, because if you can at least get a shot up, you have a chance for the rebound).

We would do competitive games (cutthroat, 3 possessions in a row, etc) with the scoring system based solely on that shot chart, regardless of makes & misses. We’d also do motion restrictions (with a shot clock) where a team was only allowed to take a 4 or 3. Pretty soon, our players were forced to understand what a good and bad shot is, and not surprisingly our FG% would rise.

As a coach, you have to let your players know that shooting the ball is not equal-opportunity. On successful teams, roles are defined and the best shooters need to get the most shots in the best spots to give your team a chance to win.

I hope this gets you thinking about a couple of ideas as you try to get your team as efficient as possible on the offensive end, and as tough as possible on the defensive end, taking away lay-ups and open shots to great shooters!


Past Big Sky Tournament Champs:

2014: Weber State FG: 48% FT: 74% 3FG: 39% = 161

2013:  Montana FG: 47% FT: 77% 3FG:  37%= 161

2012:  Montana FG 46% FT: 72% 3FG: 37%= 155

2011: Northern Colorado …… N/A

2010: Montana …. N/A

Past five years of Weber State past shooting percentages

Current 2014-15 = 151

2013-2014: FG: 48% FT: 74% 3FG: 39%= 161

2012-2013: FG: 50% FT: 72% 3FG: 41%= 163

2011-2012: FG: 46% FT: 81% 3FG: 39%= 166

2010-2011: FG: 45% FT: 76% 3FG: 41% = 162

2009-2010: FG: 45% FT: 73% 3FG: 36%= 154

 Top 10 FG FT 3pt Total
2 Wisconsin 52 68 35 155
3 Arizona 47 71 34 152
4 Duke 51 69 41 161
5 UNC 45 65 26 136
6 Louisville 43 58 24 125
7 Texas 49 74 39 162
8 Virginia 48 71 39 158
9 Wichita State 47 65 28 140
10 Gonzaga 55 70 41 166
SEC Teams 2014-15
Team FG FT 3pt Total
Alabama 45 81 32 158
Arkansas 50 71 49 170
Auburn 40 71 28 139
Florida 43 76 34 153
Georgia 46 68 27 141
Kentucky 48 67 32 147
Mississippi St 47 74 26 147
Mississsipi 41 76 23 140
Missouri 39 66 33 138
South Carolina 42 74 26 142
Tennessee 42 60 33 135
Texas A&M 44 67 31 142
Vanderbilt 49 61 39 149
Top NBA Teams this year
Toronto 45 36 80 161
Washington 46 36 73 155
Memphis 45 36 80 161
Golden State 49 39 77 165
Portland 45 39 79 163
Houston 42 35 69 146
San Antonio 45 34 77 156
Last years finals Teams
San Antonio 50 36 76 162
Miami 48 39 78 165
ELITE NBA = 160+

ELITE College = 150+

Follow Coach Smiley on Twitter!!!

smileyThe 2014-15 season marked the first season for Steve Smiley as an assistant coach at Weber State. He joined the Wildcat program in August 2014.

Smiley came to Weber State after spening the six years as the head coach at Sheridan College, a national junior college powerhouse in Sheridan, Wyo. In the six years with the Generals, Smiley posted a 153-43 (.780) overall record and led Sheridan to four North Sub-Region 9 titles and two runner-up finishes. His teams also advanced to the Region 9 Final Four four times and appeared in two championship games. Smiley was twice named the North Region Coach of the Year.

During his time at Sheridan, Smiley had 21 players sign to play NCAA Division I basketball and a total of 38 players moved on to the four-year level. He coached two players who earned NJCAA All-American honors and nine players who earned All-Region honors. Several players wen on to play professional basketball across the world.

In addition to head coach, Smiley also worked as the Athletics Director at Sheridan.

Prior to his time at Sheridan, Smiley spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., where he worked under the winningest coach in NCAA history, Don Meyer. During his time at NSU, the Wolves posted a 50-12 record. Smiley was also the head assistant coach at Black Hills State University during the 2005-06 season.

A native of Denver, Smiley graduated from Northern State in 2004. He was a three-year starter with the Wolves and led the Northern Sun league in assists for three straight seasons. He ranks second in NSU history in career assists with 537. As a senior he was named the NSIC Defensive Player of the Year and the league tournament MVP. He helped lead the team to a 24-7 record and a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

He played high school basketball at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo, where he was a four-year starter and earned All-State honors twice. He also led the state of Colorado in assists during his junior season.

Smiley and his wife Nikki have two children, Madden and Avery.

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