With the return of Ty Outlaw, Virginia Tech poised to again be a premier 3-point offense

A few weeks back, in a post on Nickeil Alexander-Walker, I mentioned that Virginia Tech could assemble one of the best shooting rosters in the nation — if Ty Outlaw was granted a sixth year of eligibility. Fortunately, news arrived on Monday: Outlaw is eligible to play for the Hokies in 2018-19

Ty Outlaw was one of the ACC’s top three-point shooters during his breakout 2016-17 season in Blacksburg. The majority of his possessions that season — 57 percent — come on spot-ups, according to Synergy Sports.

The 6-foot-6 wing was insanely good as a catch-and-shoot artist that season. Outlaw was 52-of-105 (49.5 FG%, 74.3 eFG%) and scored 1.49 points per possession on this type of attempt — good for No. 4 in the nation. His remarkable accuracy from deep is a big reason why the Hokies finished the season 21st in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. (117.3 points per 100 possessions, which dropped to 115.3 per 100 in 2017-18)


An ameba of options

Virginia Tech should also benefit from Outlaw’s added versatility, too. Back in 2016-17, Outlaw played a bunch of minutes as the team’s de facto small-ball power forward. In fact, according to KenPom, Outlaw accounted for 74 percent of VT’s nominal power forward minutes over the final five games.

Justin Bibbs and Chris Clarke had to handle those minutes for undersized Virginia Tech in 2018; with Bibbs gone, Outlaw can help soak up some of those minutes.

The Hokies can trot out of starting five of Justin Robinson, one of the top point guards in America, the underrated Kerry Blackshear and dot the wings with a trio of long-range bombers: Outlaw, Alexander-Walker and Ahmed Hill. Of course, Chris Clarke will also be back, and can sub in at literally all five of those positions.

This type of flexibility should make Buzz Williams awfully happy.


A Run at History?

This is sort of out of left field — however, I think it’s worth keeping an eye on: Could the Hokies, with this collection of three-point chuckers, make a run at ACC history?

Back in 2000-01, Duke basketball — a team ahead of the times — set an ACC record with 407 three-pointers. It won’t be easy to do, obviously. The Hokies from two seasons ago, make 290 triples; that dropped to 282 this season. However, in each of the last two seasons, nearly 40 percent of Tech’s field goal attempts have come from beyond the arc. Back in 2001, 41.8 percent of Duke’s attempts were three-pointers.

That’s not an insignificant margin, and the Blue Devils also played 39 games that season, too. You need game action to approach a counting statistic record such as this.

But in 2018-19, the Hokies have the ability to play lineups the feature five three-point shooters, including Blackshear. Virginia Tech should be the league’s top three-point offense, and who knows, maybe they will take a run at history as well.


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