Texas Basketball: 3 slumping UT shooters who must step up

Multiple gifted and effective shooters must rise to the occasion down the stretch for Texas basketball with the postseason just a month away.
Brock Cunningham, Texas basketball
Brock Cunningham, Texas basketball / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3
Brock Cunningham, Texas basketball
Brock Cunningham, Texas basketball / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

Brock Cunningham, F

40.0 FG%, 35.6 3P%, 88.2 FT%

In the previous two seasons, Texas's best/most efficient three-point shooter was senior forward Brock Cunningham. He shot well over 40 percent from beyond the arc on nearly 1.5 attempts per game combined from 2021-2023.

Cunningham completely unlocked a new element of his game with his ability to space the floor for the Longhorns as an ultra-effective catch-and-shoot threat from beyond the arc. He even led the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage in conference play in the prior two seasons combined (north of 42 percent).

It worked so well last season for the Longhorns to have someone like senior guard Marcus Carr or senior shooting guard/wing Sir'Jabari Rice (or even Timmy Allen from inside the arc) initiate the offense. Those seniors were tremendous playmakers and primary initiators of the offense, especially with efficient floor spacers like Cunningham surrounding them to knock down open shots.

But the dynamics of Texas's offensive system have shifted this season. The losses of many key senior playmakers last offseason increased Texas's reliance on senior big man Dylan Disu and Abmas on offense this season.

And while Abmas is a proven and solid primary facilitator and initiator, Disu doesn't have the same vision and passing ability that guys like Rice, Allen, and Carr possessed when the ball was in their hands on offense.

Since Texas has fewer guys who can draw the defense's attention away from Texas's other open shooters, guys like Cunningham aren't getting as many open catch-and-shoot looks from deep this season.

Last season, nearly 85 percent of Cunningham's catch-and-shoot attempts were unguarded (per Synergy). That number of unguarded catch-and-shoot attempts that Cunningham has taken this season has dipped down below 60 percent.

The problem is that even when Cunningham is getting open catch-and-shoot looks from deep, his shooting percentages from on those attempts has dipped significantly year-over-year. Cunningham shot nearly 50 percent on his open catch-and-shoot attempts from three last season. That number is down to just over 36 percent this season.

Whether it's a confidence thing or Cunningham needing to work more to get open off-ball to get more high-percentage looks from deep, he needs to be a more viable and consistent threat with his three-point efficiency down the stretch this season.

Other Texas basketball stories on Hook'em Headlines