Kentucky wildcats

Kentucky basketball, Mark Pope will put ‘aggressive’ offense on display — and plenty of 3s

LEXINGTON — A team’s style of play is dictated by a variety of factors.

Ability. Accidents. A coaching staff’s way of thinking. and a plethora of additional elements that could change depending on the day, month, or season.

One of the simplest and most sensible ways to predict how a team will perform when it takes the court is to look at its basic values.

Regarding Kentucky basketball, under first-year head coach Mark Pope, a glimpse into his background can reveal his future.

Pope’s team shot 32 3-pointers per game (1,087 in 34 games) in their final season at BYU, ranking second among Division I teams. With an average of 33.2 per expedition, only North Florida was higher. BYU scored their fair share of triples in the the 2023-24 campaign, too: Its 11.1 makes per game ranked third nationally, behind North Florida (12) and Alabama (11.2).

The Cougars also ranked in the top 10 in the country last season in three other offensive categories, including assists per game (18.5; third), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.73; sixth) and bench points per game (33.5; fifth).

Just how heavily did BYU rely on shots beyond the arc?

The Cougars attempted more 3-pointers (1,087) than 2-pointers (1,068) last season.

BYU approached the fence with explosives blazing, but they did so at a (relatively) controlled speed. The Cougars’ adjusted pace, or the number of possessions a team gets every 40 minutes modified according to the opponent, was 69.2, which tied them for 84th place in Division I according to KenPom. To put things in perspective, John Calipari’s last squad in the UK finished 12th in that area with 73.9 possessions per 40 minutes. When it got the ball, BYU didn’t play at breakneck speed either. The Cougars’ average possession time, according to KenPom, was 16.5 seconds, which is more than half of the 30-second shot clock and tied for 56th place nationally.

Frequently, BYU employed a “five-out offense,” where each offensive player starts the game one possession behind the other. the 3-point line. And as much as the Cougars leaned on the 3, another key aspect of the five-out attack is the space it opens in the lane. If a defender committed too much to guarding the perimeter, the player with the ball found a cutting teammate for an easy basket.

This kind of offensive attack is ideal for the first group of Wildcats who will play for Pope in Lexington.

At Dayton, Koby Brea finished the previous season as the most accurate 3-point shooter in Division I, making 49.8% (100 of 201) of his tries.In 2023–24, Ansley Almonor tied the single-season school record at Fairleigh Dickinson with 93 triples. During his collegiate career, big player Andrew Carr has made over 34% of his 3-point tries, first at Delaware and later Wake Forest.Kerr Kriisa made 61 of 144 3-pointers, or 42.4% of his total field goals.

) last season at West Virginia. Otega Oweh shot 37.7% (20 of 53) from distance at Oklahoma in 2023-24. Jaxson Robinson, Pope’s leading scorer at BYU last season at 14.2 points per game, was a steady shooter on 3s, going 81 for 229 (35.4%).

The UK is welcoming two sweet-shooting in-state talents as freshmen.As a senior at Lyon County, Travis Perry, the all-time top scorer in Kentucky high school basketball history, sank 41.7% (184 of 441) of his three-pointers, setting a state record for the most 3-pointers made in a career (712). Additionally, Trent Noah made over 100 3-pointers for Harlan County previous season, going 102 of 237 (43%) for the point.

Pope gave a brief overview of Kentucky’s offense during his inaugural news conference on April 14. While the team’s specifics, such as how quickly it operates, how it breaks down between shots inside and outside the arc, and how many points it averages, won’t be on display until the season begins in November, these details will be revealed then.

“We’re going to be aggressive on offense,” he said.

Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at and follow him on X at @RyanABlack.

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