Meet Oakland's Max Hooper, who only shoots 3s

Oakland senior guard Max Hooper has taken 214 shots this season, and 214 of them have been 3-pointers.

"I believe I'm the best shooter in the country," Hooper said.

That's right, Hooper is the Golden Grizzlies' fourth-leading scorer at 11.1 points per game, but after 28 games, he hasn't attempted a shot inside the arc.

"I'm shocked that I haven't taken a 2, that I haven't stepped on the line or had an open layup, but it's just playing my game," Hooper said. "My job on this team is to take a lot of 3s and make a lot of 3s. I don't want it to be recognized as a novelty act. I want to be recognized because I'm shooting one of the highest percentages in the country."

Hooper makes 45.8 percent of his long balls, the 42nd-best mark among Division I players. His 98 successful 3s rank in the top five.

He hasn't even been fouled on a 2-pointer as his 19 free throws -- 18 of which have gone in -- have all come on 3-point shots or off the ball.

"At this point in the season, teams are playing me extremely, extremely aggressively," he said. "I consider myself to be pretty crafty at drawing a foul when I'm off the ball. And I don't like to use that until we're in the bonus. I try to get my arms tangled up and get two easy points that way."

It helps that Hooper's teammate, Kahlil Felder, can distract defenses as one of the nation's five most prolific scorers.

But Hooper insists the statistical anomaly is unintentional and that, given the right opportunity, a non-3 could come.

"We believe that the fast break is the best time to shoot the ball because the defense is scrambling, but I'm not going to do something crazy," he said. "If I'm alone on a fast break, I'm not going to shoot a 3. I'm going to lay it in or dunk it."

Oakland is chasing Valparaiso in the conference standings, but it's likely that the Horizon League's lone NCAA tournament representative will come via the conference tournament next month in Detroit.

An NCAA bid is the short-term goal for Hooper, but he has pro aspirations. He studies the NBA's best shooters, trying to identify what has allowed them to remain in the league.

He spent the past two summers working out with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Anthony Morrow and picking his brain in the process. Morrow ranks fifth among active NBA players in career 3-point percentage.

"Shooters get labeled a lot, and they're often seen as bad defenders," Hooper said. "I've worked extremely hard to improve my defense. ... But it's about being consistent. If you're shooting better than 40 percent from 3, at any level, you're an elite shooter."

For now, Hooper's going to keep letting it fly from deep. If he pulls it off, he'll become the first player to shoot exclusively 3s in a season (with a minimum of 50 attempts) since Iowa's Devan Bawinkel in 2010.

"I want to give Oakland the best chance to win and go to the NCAA tournament," he said. "If that involves me shooting only 3s, then that's the way it will work out."