Doubting Thomas? No way

UW doesn’t want him to stop shooting

An undersized overachiever for as long as he’s been playing basketball, University of Washington super-sophomore Isaiah Thomas sets his expectations higher than most.

Except when it comes to shooting percentage.

The 5-foot-9 guard with the fearless style doesn’t set out to hit 50 percent of his shots, like most scorers do, and he acknowledges that even his target of 45 percent is somewhat unrealistic.

And yet even the hard-charging Thomas has been off target as of late.

In UW’s last four games, Thomas has hit just 31.5 percent of his shots, going 17 of 54 from the field. His season percentage has dipped to 42 percent, the second lowest among the Huskies’ starting five. While his 3-point shooting has improved (from 29.1 percent last season to 39.5), Thomas has been less proficient inside that line (from 47.5 percent to 43.4).

When 17th-ranked UW (6-1) begins its toughest three-game stretch of the non-conference season with today’s game against No. 15 Georgetown, one of the Huskies’ priorities is to get Thomas back on track.

“Me being a scorer, and me being the player I am, I don’t get any panic,” Thomas said of his shooting percentage in recent games. “You’ve just got to stay confident, no matter what happens throughout the game. If you miss shots or make them, you’ve got to be confident.”

Thomas has had a knack for hitting shots at the right time this season, and he’s the Huskies’ second-leading scorer at 20.3 points per game. He’s also been a better outside shooter than he was last season. So nobody seems to be panicking about his missed shots.

“Isaiah’s one you just, whether he’s 5 for 16 or whatever it is, you just kind of let him play,” coach Lorenzo Romar said.

“Isaiah’s got a lot of pride. Isaiah understands basketball.”

Thomas, who shot 41.8 percent from the field last season, has already noticed this season that teams are defending him differently than in the past.

“I feel the (scouting report) on me is they tell their bigs not to jump,” Thomas said, referring to the big men on opposing teams. “That’s what I see this year, them standing with their hands straight up. I’ve got to make adjustments.”

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