OXFORD • As a kid growing up in Somerset, New Jersey, the clock belonged to Breein Tyree. Gym time was any time he wanted it.
His dad, Mark Tyree, a prep school phys ed teacher, had the keys.
The gym was always there, but it was conditional. It was work time, not play time.
It was when Mark Tyree put his theories to the test, showing young Breein different aspects of basketball that he thought would strengthen his son’s game.
Specifically the mid-range jumper.
“It was something my dad stressed to me a lot when I was younger, just raising up. It’s something I’ve been working on since I was really young, and it’s helped me since I got to college,” Tyree said.
Indeed it has.
Many consider the mid-range jumper a dying shot as coaches and players often prefer to take a step back behind the 3-point line for the obvious extra reward.
Those preferences may be reevaluated this season as the NCAA 3-point line moves from 20 feet, 9 inches to the international distance of 22 feet, 1¾ inches.
Tyree, a 37.5 percent 3-point shooter last year, may face less disruption because of his ability to create a 12- or 15-foot opportunity off the bounce.
“He’s going to read what you’re doing. He can finish at the rim, but the strength to his game is definitely the mid-range. Breein plays like an NBA player,” teammate Devontae Shuler said.
Well, not exactly.
Finding the sweet spot
Mid-range 2-point shot attempts since 2005 have declined to slightly more than 10 percent, analytics show.
The numbers reflect the preference of coaches and players more than a struggle to hit the shot said Scott Howard, director of player personnel with the Denver Nuggets.
He sees ebb and flow with the 2-point shot.
“What ends up happening is, like everything else, coaches are smart. They know they’ve got to take away the 3, so all of a sudden they start building defenses to do that. What opens next is the mid-range jumper.”
In addition, some players are more comfortable inside the arc, and good coaches will identify that player’s “sweet spot,” Howard said.
For Tyree, the mid-range option is not catch-and-shoot. For that he’ll set up behind the 3-point line. The mid-range option is there when he’s driving hard to the rim and catches opponents off guard with a stop-and-pop.
“I’m able to get to the rim because I’m so quick, just being able to go from full speed to stop on a dime and raise up,” said Tyree, who shot 37.1 percent inside the arc.
The ability to stop, elevate and score helped Tyree earn first-team All-SEC status last year and earn a preseason first-team All-SEC spot last week at SEC media days. That’s also when other players in attendance named him the conference’s most difficult player to guard. The random poll was conducted by The Athletic.
“My dad would just teach me different parts of the game that he saw I could be good at. Now it’s one of the best parts of my game,” Tyree said.
He hopes it’s a part of his game that NBA scouts and executives will value in the 2020 draft.
Tyree’s touch from all over the floor – including his finishing shots at the rim – should have him in position to get a look.
“Nobody’s going to look at any guard who shoots 37 ½ percent from 3 as a bad shooter,” Howard said.