Washington point guard David Crisp has been asked the question more the once: Does the basket look bigger to him right now?
He’ll grin, laugh, offer a quick answer: Definitely, he’ll say. Or, “Like the ocean.” The exchange has become repetitive by now. But with how well Crisp has been shooting, it’s easy to understand the inquiry.
Crisp has shot 46 percent from the field and 54.8 percent from the 3-point line in UW’s last six games. He’s also the Huskies’ co-leading scorer through five conference games, averaging 15.6 points on 57.7 shooting from beyond the arc.
After the Huskies’ game against Colorado — Crisp shot 4-of-7 from beyond the arc in the win — sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell joked that he hadn’t seen Crisp miss in conference play. Crisp’s shot has gotten smoother, more consistent. When the ball leaves his hands, it’s expected to go in.
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But that wasn’t always the case.
Last season, Crisp shot 28.6 percent from the 3-point line, and he could feel that something was off. That sent him to the film room, where he studied tape of himself dating as far back as high school. He quickly noticed the difference.
As he dealt with routine aches and pains last season, he stopped getting the normal lift on his jump shot. The issue continued into this year, and the change in his form was showing in the numbers. During the the first 11 games of the season, Crisp was shooting 38 percent from the field and just 28.3 percent from beyond the arc. But once he understood the problem, the solution was simple.
“Anytime I was in workouts,anytime I was shooting, I was focused on getting a lot of elevation on my shot,” Crisp said.
Crisp said the process started with getting his mechanics just right. That meant shooting the ball over and over again until the right elevation once again became habit. Then, he repeated the same movements at game speed.
After that, he said, it just comes down to confidence. Crisp has only been gaining more as the season’s progressed.
“This is my last go round and I’m going to give it everything I got,” Crisp said. “I’m not worried about what anybody has to say. Not getting too high, not getting too low.”
This isn’t the first time Crisp’s shot has felt this good. What’s changed more than anything else, he said, is his shot selection. Earlier in career, he felt like he often forced shots. Now, he’s more likely to look for his teammates. That’s all part of his progression as a point guard.
“Running point guard, you understand a lot of things,” Crisp said. “Bad shots can be an outlet for the defense. They can come out and get easy shots off of bad shots we take.”
Over the past two years, he’s gained a better understanding of that big picture. Still, if he sees a good shot, he’s going to take it. He laughed then, saying coach Mike Hopkins has threatened to pull him out of the game if he doesn’t.
“It was just a matter of me making sure I was feeling completely good again,” Crisp said of his progress. “Once I started feeling good again, it was easy to go in there and knock down shots.”
After UW’s win over Utah, when Crisp went 5-of-7 from the 3-point line in scoring 17 points, Hopkins described him as the “same old David.” Still, he admitted he was a little disappointed in his early-season shooting percentages because he knew Crisp was a better shooter than the numbers indicated.
Now, Crisp is proving him right.
“He’s running our team,” Hopkins said then. “Now it’s like the balance of running our team and doing that and finding some spots (to shoot). He can do that. That’s a huge advantage.”