Josh Perkins’ shooting is off to a torrential start this season. Through 10 games, the junior point guard for the Gonzaga Bulldogs is averaging a career best 14.4 points, largely because of his three-point production.
This season, Perkins has morphed into the best shooter in the conference, and one of the best long distance shooters in the nation. Only 10 players across the entire country are averaging at least three three-pointers per game and shooting higher than Perkins’ 51.6 percent mark.
He is well on track to double his total three point production from last season, and he might even challenge Dan Dickau’s school record of 117 made threes (the latter point is easier said than done). No player in recent school history (going back to 1992-93) has ever averaged three made three-pointers per game and shot higher than 50 percent. In fact, no Zag has done that while averaging two made three-pointers per game. The next closest player to Perkins’ mark would be Dickau, again, who shot 48 percent from three while averaging 3.0 threes per game in 2000-01.
The question is whether this is all sustainable or not. Perkins is a good outside shooter, but has hovered around the 40 percent mark for much of his life. Right now, whatever is working is working, because Perkins is feeling it, and then some.
The volume of three-point attempts is likely to continue. Each year, Perkins has shot a few more threes, and the big difference this season is his overall shot totals. Last season, Perkins averaged 1.9 two-point attempts and 4.2 three-point attempts. This season, those numbers are boosted to 3.1 and 6.4, respectively. The ratio between two point shots and three point shots are relatively the same. Last season, 68 percent of Josh Perkins’ field goal attempts were from three-point range. This season, that number stands at 67.4 percent.
Theoretically, Perkins will come back down to Earth eventually. If he doesn’t, he will join some rare company in college basketball. Since the 1992-93 season, only five players have averaged three three-pointers per game while shooting over 50 percent, last done by some guy named Jon Diebler from Ohio State in 2010-2011.
Until then, Perkins can continue to fire away. He hasn’t pegged himself as a one-sided threat this season, and he has also proven nearly impossible to stop when given an inch of space. Interestingly enough, Perkins is doing a rather nice job of creating his own three-point shot, which makes him even more dangerous. For example, Cassisus Winston, who leads the nation with a 61 percent mark from three, is assisted on 84 percent of those makes. Justinian Jessup from Boise State, who sits at No. 3, is assisted on 82.1 percent of his threes. Perkins’ mark sits at 66.7 percent.
Chances are, Perkins probably won’t break Dickau’s school record this year. But until he proves otherwise, he is one of the more dangerous three-point shooters in the nation, and is one of the good reasons Gonzaga sits at 8-2 on this young season.