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May 25, 2007

Players, coaches react to new 3-point line

MORE: It's official: 3-pointer just got harder

Rivals.com tracked down several members of the college basketball community to get their reactions to the 3-point line moving back one foot to 20 feet, 9 inches. Here's what they told us:

Reaction to the new 3-point line
Washington State coach Tony Bennett, No. 6 on Rivals.com's 10 Greatest 3-Point Shooters list: "I don't have a strong reaction in either direction. I think it may make people a little more selective. But it probably won't be much of an adjustment for some guys. There are a lot of players that toe the line quite a bit, but with the range that young men have these days I don't think that 12 inches will make a significant difference."
South Florida coach Stan Heath: "I think it will be healthy for the game. I've always felt the line should be farther back than the high school line and some of the other levels. Pure shooters will get the reward, and marginal shooters will have to find another way."
Former Valparaiso player Bryce Drew, who made the shot listed No. 1 on Rivals.com's 10 Greatest 3-Pointers in NCAA Tournament History: "It's definitely going to have a major impact in the first few years because kids aren't going to be used to it. It's going to be especially tough for the high school kids in the first couple of years. I think you'll see their percentages go way down as freshmen."
Former Georgia Tech star Dennis Scott, No. 3 on Rivals.com's 10 Greatest 3-Point Shooters list: "It makes guys like myself more valuable. I always shot from farther out anyways. Sometimes we'd be watching tape and Coach (Bobby) Cremins would ask why I'm shooting 3 or 4 feet behind the line. I told him I can't explain it. When I'm in rhythm and I catch a pass right on the money I shot it. I remember I'd often shoot a deep 3-pointer and hear Coach Cremins going, 'No, no, no . good shot, Scott.' "
Former Florida guard Lee Humphrey, the all-time leader in 3-pointers made in NCAA Tournament history: "I don't think it will make much of a difference for the better shooters, but maybe for the guys who don't really shoot quite as many 3s. Whenever we played in those preseason tournaments when they put out the international line, the international line isn't that big a difference. The biggest difference is finding the line, but I'm sure people will get used to that."
ESPN analyst and former Duke standout Jay Bilas: "I do think it was too easy of a shot, and coaches had a hard time getting players not to take it. Now there will be a little more risk involved. The elimination of the mid-range game is the most troubling development of the 3-point shot. At 19-9, a 17-18 footer was not worth the risk. You were better off taking the 3."
UNLV coach Lon Kruger: "I think it's fine. I don't know why they didn't go to the international line. That would have made a little more sense from the standpoint of so many lines on the court. I think the guy who shoots it well won't shoot any fewer. The marginal guys may shoot fewer and that will make the game better."
Vanderbilt forward Shan Foster, who's poised to become his schools all-time leader in 3-pointers made: "I think it'll be good, especially since in high school and middle school everybody shoots it from the same distance. This will add a little variety to the college game."
Former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins: "The one real positive thing about the 3-point shot is the comebacks. If you're down a lot of points, you can quickly come back. That's probably the biggest asset of the 3-point shot. The game used to be over in the old days when you went up seven points with four or five minutes to go. It was basically over because everyone went into their stalls, and it was tough to catch people. The biggest asset of the 3-point shot is it keeps people in games. You're not out of the game. The last five minutes of a game, when people are down 10-12 points, that baby's far from over because of the 3-point shot."

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