Buddy Boeheim shoots over 500 shots per day. He grew up around the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball program and witnessed guys like Gerry McNamara and Andy Rautins come through the ranks.
He’s had the mentorship of a Hall-of-Fame college basketball coach in his father, Jim Boeheim. He’s had access to the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center and he’s worked out daily with McNamara, the leading 3-point shooter in Syracuse history with 400 makes from beyond the arc.
By the time he reached eighth grade, Buddy was put on the same strength and conditioning program as the Syracuse basketball team. When he was done with a workout or a high-school practice, he would come home and get shots up.
Taking all of that into consideration, it’s of no surprise to anyone in the current Syracuse basketball program that Buddy has become one of the best shooters in all of college basketball as a sophomore. He leads the ACC in 3-point makes with 58 on the season, none more distinct than his 3-point heave at Virginia with the shot-clock winding down. He ranks No. 12 in the country in made 3s, with only one player from a Power Five conference ahead of him (Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith with 60).
Boeheim takes his fair share of shots to be sure, but he’s connecting on 40.3 percent of them from beyond the arc, a great mark for any shooter.
“It’s unfortunate that he’s my son because people will say, ‘He’s playing his son,’” Jim Boeheim said after Syracuse’s win at Virginia. “No, I’m playing the best shooter. He’s the best shooter in the league. He’s one of the best shooters in the country. If we get him shots, he’s going to make shots.”
Buddy has made more 3s than any other player in the ACC. He’s worked diligently on his craft, taking the same amount of shots per day in-season as he does in the off-season. He and the guards work with McNamara an hour before Syracuse practices begin and Boeheim shoots for 30 minutes after practice concludes.
“He’s just always wanted it,” Jim Boeheim told TNIAAM. “He would come home from a strength workout or a high school practice and he would shoot for an hour, hour and a half after that. He’s just always had the desire to be the best player he can be. He’s worked extremely hard. Extremely hard to get here.”
After the end of the 2018-19 season, Buddy wanted to focus on his handle and improve his shooting off the bounce. Over the course of the summer he worked out each morning with McNamara on just that. He gave extra attention to his pull-up off the dribble, getting to his spot and getting his shot off while utilizing only one or two bounces.
In his freshman season, Boeheim took less than 30 percent of his shots inside the arc. He’s increased that percentage slightly in his sophomore campaign and he’s already taken more twos this season than last.
“He’s able to get to the area around the lane and pull up,” Jim Boeheim said. “He’s worked on that this year. I think that’s the biggest thing, his physical strength and his ability to get into the lane and get the pull up off.”
Prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, McNamara likened Buddy’s form to Klay Thompson’s, saying mechanically there is no flaw. McNamara says that Buddy has perfected his form through tireless work. Buddy studies tape on Thompson when time allows. He meticulously notes the way Thompson comes off screens, how he gets his shot of quick while utilizing as few dribbles as possible and how he sets his feet.
“I watch Klay all the time, every day just about. I just watch him play. He’s such a good shooter. He doesn’t need dribbles. It kind of shows that you can be just a shooter and make plays,” Buddy says. “That’s someone I do want to be like eventually and get to that level.”
When Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski took over USA Basketball in 2006, he asked Jim Boeheim to serve as one of his assistants. Krzyzewski and Boeheim would spend over a decade together with USA Basketball, winning two gold medals and one bronze in that span.
That had an incredible set of consequences for a young Buddy Boeheim. He had the opportunity to attend practices over the years and witness basketball played at the highest level from coaches and players alike. It was also his introduction to Thompson.
“He’s been around Klay on numerous occasions when on Olympic teams and World Championship teams,” Jim Boeheim divulged. “Buddy came to the practices. It was a great opportunity for him as a young kid to be able to see guys like Klay, James Harden and Steph Curry and kind of shooters that you’d like to emulate.”
When asked why he tries to mirror Thompson’s form specifically, Buddy suggests that his technique is pure and of course the fact that he got to meet the three-time NBA champion.
“Definitely getting to meet him. Just his form is similar to mine. We both don’t take many dribbles. We both try to use our pump-fake, stuff like that. We have similar games on the offensive end. He’s the best shooter in the world, mechanics wise,” Buddy said.
Taking a deeper look into his shot chart this season, Buddy has a proclivity to shoot from the right wing. He’s taken more than double the amount of 3s from the right wing than the left. He has also not missed a jumper from 15-19 feet from the right side of the floor.
“I think I like the right wing, you know, catch and shoot. I like come off hand-offs, screens, anything like that. One-, two-dribble max. I’m also trying to work on my pull-up,” Buddy expands. “That’s something that, if guys are going to play up on me like that I can go by and try to get the mid-range shot. So just working on my overall game and trying to become more dynamic than just a catch-and-shoot shooter.”
Unsurprisingly, Buddy shoots it best in transition at 43.6 percent when most looks are generated without a nearby defender. But most of his looks have come off of spot ups in catch-and-shoot scenarios, where he connects at a 39.1 percent rate. He’s shooting 38.9 percent on hand-offs, in the 75th percentile of college basketball, which Synergy Sports deems ‘very good.’ Off of screens, he shoots it 35.9 percent, still good.
As mentioned, he’s shooting 40.3 percent overall from 3-point land. He’s become one of the best shooters in all of college basketball and he’s already having one of the best shooting seasons at Syracuse as a sophomore.
With an average of 3.6 made 3s per game and at least 16 games remaining, Buddy is on pace to break the Syracuse single-season record of 3-point makes at 112.