Franklin working through woes from three to become key Virginia contributor
The Armaan Franklin we were advertised was a deadeye three-point shooter, 42.4 percent from three last year at Indiana.
We’re 16 games into Virginia’s season: Franklin is 19-of-85 from behind the arc, 22.4 percent.
And yet Franklin is UVA’s second-leading scorer, averaging 12.2 points per game.
The how to that: he’s a pull-up jumper machine (57.1 percent on 56 two-point jumpers this season), and a solid finisher at the rim (64.7 percent).
The trick has been getting him to hoist fewer threes in favor of attacking off the dribble.
“He’s been attacking the elbows, getting to the lane, getting to the basket, made two big free throws. He’s moving hard, and again, you can’t be defined by your shot. He got looks from three, made one, missed a couple. But I like how he’s improving his game, too,” UVA coach Tony Bennett said after his team’s 54-52 win over Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
Franklin had 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting in 31 minutes in the win – breaking it down, he was 3-of-6 on two-point jumpers, 1-of-1 at the rim, and 1-of-4 from three.
“If you say. ‘Well, let’s look at his three-point percentage.’ Forget that! You can’t,” Bennett said. “Just play the next game, take your shots. He’s impacting the game offensively well, and he’s trying his guts out defensively.”
Synergy Sports data rates Franklin as “excellent” on the defensive end, allowing opponents .663 points per possession, limiting them to 30.5 percent shooting, both second among Virginia rotation players.
Reece Beekman, the ACC’s leader in steals, is first in both categories, but not by much – his opponents score .654 points per possession, on 29.7 percent shooting.
To that point: Franklin spent most of the night on the defensive end matched up with Hokies guard Naheim Alleyne, and he held Alleyne to six points on 2-of-5 shooting in 33 minutes.
“I try not to be a one-dimensional type of player. I try to do different things on the court,” Franklin said after the win over Tech. “If the shot is not falling, then it’s just playing defense and getting into your mid-range, getting to the rim, things like that. Just having them not be able to key in on one thing about you is good. I think my mid-range is pretty solid, and being able to get those and get my confidence going for some threes down the line.”
Story by Chris Graham