It’s an accomplishment to shoot 40 percent from 3-point range. Some of the best shooters and guards in the NBA don’t end up shooting 40 percent from downtown- people like Lebron James, Tyreke Evans and James Harden aren’t even at .400 for the season. So how is it that ACU ended up with a shooter that is averaging a .409 three-point percentage?
Josie Larson, freshman guard from San Antonio, has emerged as one of ACU’s premier shooters from the outside. At 5’9, she spaces the floor very well for other teammates but originally, she wasn’t even on ACU’s radar.
“We actually originally went to her high school to scout her teammate, Alyssa Adams,” Head Coach Julie Goodenough said, “and just in the process of following Alyssa we met Josie.”
Josie started playing basketball at the age of 6, but didn’t start playing competitively until 6th grade.
“That’s when I started playing club basketball for AAU,” Larson said. “But I didn’t get on a really good team that traveled until my junior year, where we went to more expose events where coaches would actually watch us.”
It was there, along with her high school, where Goodenough saw the potential for Josie to become a contributing member for the Wildcats.
“We saw her play, and the summer before her senior year we followed her around as much as we could at AAU tournaments, Goodenough said. “We saw that she could make lay-ups and was really crafty around the basket, which is what we wanted to do, so we signed her, and then she didn’t play her senior year.”
Josie was playing well at her AAU tournaments when she tore her ACL. Josie said he is healed physically but is afraid to admit whether the way she’s played has been changed due to the injury. She said that she needs to work on driving to the lane, but may have some mental effects.
“I like to think that it’s not [the case] but psychologically it, you know, kind of scares me a little bit,” she said.
One thing that is clear is Josie’s strength: shooting the outside ball. Josie wasn’t the only one to make that clear.
“I’ve got to give Josie a lot of credit. She shoots the ball very well because she is in the gym all the time,” Coach Goodenough said. “On average, Josie is making somewhere in the ballpark of 800 to 1,000 threes a week. She puts in a lot of time, and that’s why she’s such a good three-point shooter.”
Josie’s teammates also notice the effort that she puts in, and know that it not only makes her better but increases the talent level of the entire team.
“It’s really great having someone like Josie to coming into the game, but she’s doing more than that,” sophomore starting guard Breanna Wright said. “A lot of us girls try and go in as pairs and shoot together, and we can always know that Josie’s going to ask us to shoot, or we can ask her to shoot. She loves being in the gym and loves getting everyone else in the gym, and it’s really great having that extra motivation to pick us up if we’re not feeling it that day. She’s always there.”
Josie said she’s been instilled with a work ethic since she started playing, put in place by the belief that she can always get better.
“I’ve always tried to be the best that I can be, and the best way to get a good three-point percentage is to just shoot the heck out of the ball in practice, and practice as much as you can. I wanted to better my three so I just started working on it, and that’s what I got better at. When I tore my ACL, I couldn’t do much but shoot, so I would just form shoot. That turned into shooting further out and eventually working on threes so I just continued to practice that and I got pretty good about it.”
Only time can tell where Josie will end up while at ACU. It’s clear though, that with a strong work ethic and a killer shot from downtown, the pool is always open for her to make a splash.