College basketball’s best 3-point shooters
Terrence Jones and Harrison Barnes often seem impossible to stop. And there are times when it doesn’t appear Tu Holloway or Jordan Taylor will ever miss. Still, at the end of a close game, I can’t think of many players who I’d rather hand the ball to than John Jenkins.
Especially if my team is trailing by three points.
Highlight reels are filled with thunderous slam dunks, no-look passes and blocked shots that fly into the stands. Not nearly enough attention, however, is lavished on the guys who have mastered college basketball’s toughest shot: The 3-pointer.
Heading into the 2011-12 season, no one is as scary from beyond the arc as Jenkins. The 6-foot-4 Vanderbilt junior made 3.1 long balls a game as a sophomore, when he averaged 19.5 points. Jenkins shot a respectable 40.8 percent from 3-point range, which was down a bit from the 48.3 mark he posted his freshman season.
Still, considering the double teams he often faces and the high level of competition in the SEC, Jenkins’ long range success is especially impressive. Here are 11 other players who are regarded as some of the top shooters in the college game.
J’Covan Brown, Texas, junior – Because he was non-starter, Brown didn’t post gaudy statistics in 2010-11, when he shot 38.5 percent from 3-point range. Still, he’s certainly capable of connecting from deep. Just ask Kansas. Brown made 7 of his 14 treys in two games against the Jayhawks.
Scott Christopherson, Iowa State, senior – The underrated Cyclone ranked second in the Big 12 with 2.8 3-pointers per game last season. Christopherson, who began his career at Marquette, shot 44.1 percent from beyond the arc and had seven 3’s against Cal and Iowa.
Seth Curry, Duke, junior – Stephen’s younger brother made 43.5 percent of his 3’s in his first year with the Blue Devils, when he came off the bench. There aren’t many players in the country with as quick of a trigger as Curry, who began his career at Liberty.
Marcus Denmon, Missouri, senior – Denmon helped Missouri get off to a hot start last season by making 22 of his first 39 attempts (56 percent) from beyond the arc. He made 44.8 percent of his 3-point attempts on the season en route to earning second team All-Big 12 honors.
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, senior – Gibbs shot 49 percent (102 of 208) from 3-point range last season, a mark that ranked third in the country. He’s one of the main reasons the Panthers won the outright championship in the nation’s toughest league, the Big East.
Malcolm Grant, Miami, senior – The 6-foot-1 guard, who began his career at Villanova, has made 43.2 percent of his 3-pointers in 98 career games. Last season he made an all-time best 2.6 treys per game. Grant is hoping for big things his senior season, when he’ll be playing for his third head coach.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, sophomore – The 6-foot-5 guard was beginning to resemble his famous father toward the end of last season, when he reached double figures in his final 16 games. Hardaway Jr. had eight games when he made four or more 3s.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette, senior – The Golden Eagles wouldn’t have made the Sweet 16 without Johnson-Odom, who went a combined 7 of 13 in NCAA tournament victories against Xavier and Syracuse. Johnson-Odom shot 47.4 percent from long range in 2009-10 and 36.4 percent last season.
Doron Lamb, Kentucky, sophomore – Lamb flew under the radar a bit in Lexington last season, when he was often overshadowed by Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight. Still, his contributions to the Wildcats’ Final Four squad were immeasurable. He averaged 1.8 3-pionters per game and shot 47.8 percent from long distance. His stats should soar in 2011-12.
Robert Nyakundi, SMU, senior – The 6-foot-8 Nyakundi ranked second in the nation last season (behind Ohio State’s Jon Diebler) with a 3-point field goal percentage of 49.7. He made 97 shots from beyond the arc, many of which came against stiff competition in Conference USA.
Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin, senior – Taylor will likely be a preseason All-American thanks to a junior year in which he averaged 18.1 points while shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point land. Taylor averaged 2.2 treys per contest.
Others to watch: Reggie Bullock, North Carolina; Kyle Kuric, Louisville; Travis Bader, Oakland; Bryson Johnson, Bucknell; Scott Barnforth, Weber State; Gabe Rogers, Northern Arizona; Nemanja Mitrovic, Portland; Keiton Page, Oklahoma State