It’s been a bumpy ride at Arizona for Gabe York.
Playing time has been hard to come by, and despite stepping into a starter role last season, next year’s roster is once again loaded top to bottom.
With the Wildcats poised to be a deeper team next season, how can York expand his role? Take a look at this breakdown of York’s shooting numbers from his sophomore campaign.
Everybody knows York is a three point shooter. But the representation above underscores the importance of becoming less of a specialist.
Let’s start with York’s absurd shooting inside the arc. Connecting on just 6 of 41 two point jumpers, York’s anemic 14.6% shooting was a head scratcher. Sure, he only attempted 18.6% of his total attempts from this range, but that’s a disturbing rate of conversion.
Some of it was probably the result of the defense forcing him off the three point line, some of it was probably poor shot selection, and some of it was probably plain old bad luck.
But mostly, it’s a confidence issue. York is an excellent shooter, the best on the team. But for one reason or another, he has been pigeonholed into the three point specialist role. And maybe he’s starting to believe it himself.
The answer isn’t to start taking less threes and more midrange shots. Of course, he has to hit a better clip than he did last year, which shouldn’t be hard at all. But the area York really needs to start attacking is the rim.
His athleticism is well documented and someone with that kind of vertical ability should be making better use of it at the rim, where everyone shoots a better percentage. If York can improve his ability to penetrate and successfully get to the rim, he has the physical tools to finish.
That’s a lot easier said than done, as York will need to improve his ball handling and explosiveness while gaining strength to be a real rim threat. But as a junior, with two seasons and plenty of starts under his belt, there’s no reason he can’t improve those things.
One thing that might help is more transition opportunities. Of York’s 19 makes at the rim last season, 16 (84%) of them came in transition. So when he has the space, his athleticism is translating to rim attempts.
But again, much of it is mental. York needs to shift his mentality from three point sniper to opportunistic scorer if he wants to expand his role on the team.