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Boise State’s Nick Duncan is unlike any forward in college basketball

A deeper analysis of Duncan’s rare three-point ability.

NCAA Basketball: Boise State at UNLV Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State senior forward Nick Duncan enjoyed a routine 15-point, 4-of-8 from deep performance in Monday night’s blowout victory over Idaho State. To those who follow the Mountain West, this stat line should come as no surprise - Duncan has appeared in the conference’s top 10 in made and attempted triples in three consecutive seasons - but it is hardly uncommon for viewers to raise an eyebrow when the Aussie uncorks a 25-footer to start a contest.

This is what makes Duncan - a 6-8, 265-pounder who boasts an alarmingly atypical D-1 college basketball frame - so incredibly unique.

As the key cog of the Boise State offense (and primary team leader), Duncan has led the BSU three-point barrage under head coach Leon Rice. Boise State has consistently finished in the top 100 in three-point attempt frequency under the guidance of Rice, who succeeded Greg Graham prior to the 2011 season while the Broncos were still a Western Athletic Conference member.

As the premier coach of Boise State’s 47-year basketball program history, Rice has established an up-tempo offense centered around quick ball movement and perimeter shooting. BSU’s most commonly used lineup last year, according to, featured five players that attempted at least two three-pointers per game. Anthony Drmic, James Webb III, Lonnie Jackson and Nick Duncan combined for a whopping 606 attempts from deep last season, a greater total than 112 D-1 teams.

The following graph compares Boise State’s three-point attempt frequency in comparison to the national average during Rice’s tenure.

Though Boise State’s three-point attempt frequency has ebbed this season, the sole returnee from last year’s perimeter quartet continues to have the green light from downtown.

Gathering data from major conference players this season with a body of 6-8, 240 or larger, I assembled a graph comparing Nick Duncan’s shot selection with other qualified big men.

To no surprise, Nick Duncan is in a league of his own. Only one player in this data set attempted fewer shots at the rim (UCLA’s Thomas Welsh at 14.7%). Duncan also launched three-pointers nearly 30% more often than any other player.

Here is a quick breakdown of Duncan’s shot selection during his time at Boise State, and how it sizes up to players of his stature this year:

Nick Duncan Shot Selection Comparison

Season % At Rim 3PA%
Season % At Rim 3PA%
Duncan '17 15.3 77.6
Duncan '16 22.3 65.8
Duncan '15 10.7 80.2
Duncan '14 15.4 76.9
NCAA Avg '17 56.6 6.6

Whether you love Duncan or can’t stand him, there is no disputing his unorthodox playing style at Boise. Because of the current three-point revolution in college basketball today, we might see more lanky players develop reliable perimeter skills more often. However, Duncan’s ability to move without the ball and find the open spot - given his body type - is something that won’t soon be duplicated.

Never change, Nick.

(Statistics used in this article are courtesy of Sports Reference, KenPom, and Hoop-Math.)