ATHENS — The 3-point line is moving back in college basketball this season, and Georgia coach Tom Crean is doing backflips.
“Anything that creates space on the court and speed on the court, I’m all for it,” Crean said. “I love anything that makes the game faster.”
The Bulldogs will have a new-look this season with nine new players on the team. Top-ranked freshman Anthony “Antman” Edwards highlights a Top 10 signing class.
Crean coaches defense and rebounding as much as the next guy. But the second-year Bulldogs’ coach is most revered for the results he has produced on the offensive end.
At Indiana, a traditional power Crean essentially rebuilt from scratch between 2008-17, the Hoosiers became the most successful 3-point shooting team in the nation.
Indiana’s 38.2-percent accuracy beyond the arc was better than any other team in the nation over that nine-year stretch.
During Crean’s final six years with the Hoosiers, Indiana was the Big Ten’s highest scoring team (77.8 points per game). Crean’s Hoosiers also led the league in field goal percentage (47.8 percent) and 3-point shooting field goal percentage (40.2).
The results at Georgia last season weren’t as impressive.
Crean inherited a group of seniors that appeared more interested in sharing their philosophy on life after losses than getting extra time in the gym.
The Bulldogs got plenty of open looks running Crean’s sets. But the team made just 32.2 percent of its 3-point shots, 12th of the 14 teams in the SEC.
“We weren’t very successful with it (3-point shot) last year and that was disappointing to me,” Crean said, “because we spent a lot of time shooting the ball and we didn’t get the progress that I was hoping we would make.”
The 3-point line at the college level will be moved back to 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches. It’s the same as the international distance. Previously, the line was at 20 feet, 9 inches.
Georgia, meanwhile, will keep the NBA 3-point line (23 feet, 9 inches) down on its practice floor.
“We have the NBA line down permanently in our practice gym, so we’re really working on range a lot,” Crean said. “I’m happy that the line is moved back.I think it plays to the spacing of the game.
“All you have to do is look at the NBA draft to see how important it is to the future for basketball.”