Syracuse Basketball: How Buddy Boeheim can break G-Mac’s 3-point record

Buddy Boeheim hit 97 threes during his sophomore season. Expect that number to climb and potentially break the all-time Syracuse basketball mark.

Buddy Boeheim has already enthroned himself as one of the top shooters in Syracuse basketball history. With 144 threes through two seasons, he’s already one of the top shooters in the NCAA and has a lot of range.

According to orangehoops.com, the rising junior ranks 17th on the SU all-time list in three-pointers made. If he copies his 97 hits from a year ago, that’ll put him at fifth in Orange history with one season to go. But given where the offense might go this season, and the number of open shots he could get in 2021-22, Boeheim has a chance to break Gerry McNamara’s mark of 400 made threes.

A lot has to happen for Boeheim to hit 401 threes or more. For the mathematicians out there, he’ll need 257 made threes over his final two seasons of eligibility. That would mean an average of around 128 threes per season, which is asking a lot.

McNamara himself never made more than 107 triples in a single-season. According to NCAA.com, McNeese State’s Dru Kuxhausen led the nation with 125 makes from downtown last season. For power conference purposes, Markus Howard connected on 121 trifectas.

For Boeheim, this would mean he would need to have a lot of games where he makes five, six, or even more threes in a game. On the contrary, he also can’t afford to have many games with just one or two makes, or even three for that matter.

The upcoming season will have a big play in it as well. If COVID forces a shortened season by any matter, you can nix any hope of Boeheim breaking McNamara’s record at all, and have him settle for second all-time (Andy Rautins’ 282 is surely in reach).

However, let’s just go ahead and say that there is a full schedule this season, or at least a minimum of 25 games, plus the ACC tournament, and if they earn it, a postseason bid. That should mean somewhere between 28 and 30 games for Syracuse basketball in 2020-21.

If Boeheim could average four made threes a game – he averaged 3.0 last season, that’d mean he’d hit somewhere between 112 and 120 on the season. Let’s just throw a few wrenches in there, and mark that number down to 110, because 4.0 would be an insane statistic.

With Elijah Hughes gone to the NBA, there really is no reason why Boeheim can’t make 110 threes in a season. He made 97 treys last year, and will certainly have even more of a green light this year, as he and Joe Girard III will be counted on as the primary scorers every game.

110 triples would put his career total at 254, which would rank fourth in Orange history behind McNamara, Rautins, and Preston Shumpert. Not bad company at all, especially considering he would still have one year left of college ball.

Here’s where the fun begins.

Prized recruit Dior Johnson has thought about reclassifying to 2021, meaning he would be on the floor with Buddy and Joe. Johnson could probably start right now, but given he’s still just 16 years old, that would also be a ridiculous feat.

Even then, Johnson will certainly take a lot of shots as a freshman, because let’s face it, he’s as talented as they come and deserves to take as many shots as he can get off.

But he’s also a tremendous driver, who has the court vision of an NBA guard and is a willing passer. In an article from SI.com, Oak Hill head coach Steve Smith said of Dior, “With all that being said, he might be at his best in transition. He sees the floor with great vision and can really push the ball up-court with his passing ability.”

Syracuse basketball fanatics can only dream of the amount of steals Johnson could force at the top of the 2-3 zone that leads to Buddy Boeheim threes.

Could it lead to 147 in one season? It’s certainly possible. Buddy Hield did it on the number. Fletcher Magee hit 148 for Wofford in 2017-18 and then 158 the following season. Steph Curry made 162 in 2008 when he was busy putting Davidson on the map.

The mark is out there for Buddy – he’ll just have to get A LOT of shots (probably at least 325 attempts which would be around a 45% connection percentage).

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The count to 401 is officially on. Gerry, we’ll keep you posted too.