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It could be bombs away for Jim Hayford and Seattle U next season

History suggests there will be three’s.

NCAA Basketball: Seattle at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last season was an aberration for Jim Hayford.

Not in terms of wins, since Eastern Washington enjoyed its second 20 plus win season in the past three years. And not in terms of star power, since Big Sky Player of the Year Jacob Wiley was (roughly) following in the footsteps of two-time all-conference first teamer Tyler Harvey.

But the way the Eagles got there was different.

Hayford’s six seasons in Cheney were full of three’s. From 2012-2016, 43.2 percent of Eastern Washington’s field goal attempts came from distance. This put the Eagles, on average, as the 25th most three-point dependent team in the country over those five seasons.

Eastern Washington under Jim Hayford

Season 3PA/FGA National Rank Big Sky Rank
Season 3PA/FGA National Rank Big Sky Rank
2011-12 41.20% 25 1
2012-13 42.80% 14 1
2013-14 37.20% 59 3
2014-15 43.20% 18 1
2015-16 46.50% 10 1
2016-17 36.80% 163 10

And it made plenty of sense, as those teams featured dangerous long range shooters. In the beginning it was Collin Chiverton and Cliff Colimon. Then the potency — and ultimately wins — ramp-upped with, among others, Felix Von Hofe, Parker Kelly, Austin McBroom and the cherry on top, Harvey.

In fact, the top-three in career three-point makes in program history all played for Hayford in Von Hofe (262 career 3FG), Harvey (260 career 3FG) and Kelly (210 career 3FG). Harvey especially ran wild in Hayford’s offense, knocking down 42.0 percent of his long range attempts en route to hearing his name called in the 2015 NBA draft.

But the three-point barrage slowed down last season. The Eagles didn’t go entirely trigger shy, but fell to 163rd in the country in three-point reliance. The biggest reason? The team was anchored around Wiley, who scored 20.4 points per game but rarely ventured outside the arc. The athletic big was a force around the rim, and Hayford exploited it.

So the incoming Seattle coach will clearly adapt his style to his personnel. But it could be bombs away for the Redhawks, since the personnel he inherits fit the three-point happy style.

Junior Zach Moore launched the eighth-most three-point attempts in the WAC last season, and hit 42.0 percent of the ones he took in conference play. Freshman of the Year Matej Kavas shot 39.6 percent from deep and has a shot with big-time upside. And Weber State grad transfer Richaud Gittens is a 39.7 percent career three-point shooter, while sophomore guard Morgan Means (36.7 3P%) has potential too.

Even if Aaron Menzies, a giant in terms of both size and potential, stays healthy and becomes an offensive focal point, the Redhawks still will surround him with dangerous shooters. If history means anything, Seattle should be letting it fly in 2017-18.