This season, college basketball is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the three-point shot. The three-ball forever changed the game of basketball. It made a place for the Steve Kerrs and Kyle Korvers of the world, who have the ability to get three points for what is seemingly a layup to them. It also changed the game among mid-major teams. Mostly all of the best men in the nation attend big name schools, leaving the mid-majors with little size to scrounge over. With limited power on the block, these squads have no choice but to consistently hoist three-balls to be competitive. Just take a look at VCU, whose torrid shooting pace brought them all the way to the Final Four last season.
Over the years we’ve seen all sorts of different types of players dominate from behind the arc. Take a look at this list of the top shooters of the last 13 years and even the most diehard college basketball fans will struggle to find any familiarity with the names on it. To celebrate the anniversary, we’re giving you our list of the top ten college three-point shooters of the line’s brief 25-year history.
10. John Grotberg
Although he didn’t play Division I, we had to put Grotberg on this list for his overbearing dominance in statistics. In just 96 games, he managed to knock down an obnoxious 526 treys. Yes, your math is correct. That averages out to 5.5 threes per game. That’s enough to shatter J.J Redick‘s all-time mark of 457, but since Grotberg played Division III ball, we were forced to temper his impact on this list. Still, Grotberg and his stroke certainly belong here. He now plays for BBC Kayldall in Luxembourg.
9. Glen Rice
When people hear Glen Rice’s name, the first word they should think of is winner. He is one of only nine players to ever win a high school state championship, NCAA Tournament and NBA Finals title. Rice played his college ball from 1985-89 at the University of Michigan, where he left as the school’s all-time leader in points, thanks in part to his lethal three-ball. Rice entered college with limited range, attempting only 12 treys in his first two seasons. From that point on, he put up 269 attempts, making 132 of them (enough for 49 percent from the field). His draft stock skyrocketed after dropping a record 184 points in the NCAA Tournament, ending his season at 51.6 percent from behind the arc and cementing himself as one of the top three-point shooters.
8. Kyle Korver
Two years ago, Korver set the NBA record for three-point field goal percentage in a season at 53.6%. If you watched any of his college career, you’re hardly surprised. He put Creighton on the map with his lights-out shooting and became the Missouri Valley Conference’s leader in three-point field goals made at 371. In his four years there, the Ashton Kutcher look-alike took 1,184 shots with 819 (70 percent) of those coming from behind the three-point line. He finished his college career shooting 47.2 percent from the field, 45.2 percent from three, and 89.1 percent from the line – a true gauge of how pure of a shooter he really is.
7. Tony Bennett
Every time that Tony Bennett hoisted up a three, it had a 50% chance of going in. He only made 290 treys in his college career, but made the best of them by shooting with an unfathomable proficiency. Bennett sits atop the leader board in three-point percentage at an astounding 49.7 percent – a mark that has stood untouched for the last 19 years. He played at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for four years under his father, Dick Bennett. Currently, Bennett coaches at the University of Virginia. Last year, his team ranked 21st in the nation in three-point percentage at 38.8 percent.
6. Chris Lofton
Some may argue that Chris Lofton wasn’t even the best shooter in Tennessee history, but the numbers suggest otherwise. At 431 makes, Lofton is fourth on the all-time three-pointers list. That’s the most ever in the SEC and 85 better than the school’s beloved Allan Houston. In his four-year career, he averaged 16.6 points per game, including a whopping 3.4 three-point field goals. He is currently playing for the D-League’s Iowa Energy and knocked down 2.8 threes per game this past season.
5. Dennis Scott
Many know Dennis Scott as the key component to spreading the floor for the Shaq and Penny-led Orlando Magic, but before those days, he was one of the most lethal shooters in college basketball history. In three years at Georgia Tech, he rained 351 trey balls. Scott holds the Georgia Tech records for most threes in a game (11), season (137) and career (351). At one point in time, he was considered the ACC’s premier three-point shooter.
4. Curtis Staples
Not to be corny, but Curtis was a “staple” of the maturation of the three-point game in college. He held the record for most three-point field goals in a career for almost nine years, until another fellow Virginian sniper named J.J. Redick (Redick attended Cave Spring HS in Roanoke) came around. Despite only once averaging more than 14 points per game, Staples still managed to knock down 413 treys, an average of 3.3 per game. At Virginia, he currently still holds the records for threes made in a season (130) and a game (nine). Staples now coaches high school basketball in his native Virginia.
3. Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer’s college stats aren’t eye-popping, but if you take a look at where he started compared to where he finished, you’ll see the progression of becoming a great shooter. He made “just” 43 treys in 35 games his freshman year, then followed with 52 his sophomore, 77 his junior, and 124 his senior. It’s not only the amount of makes he had, but also the range he developed. By the climax of his college career, it wasn’t unexpected to see Jimmer pull up from 40 feet out, sometimes making it seem like he should be credited with a four-pointer. Jimmer certainly landed himself in a position to succeed in the pros as he’ll be spacing the floor for Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins when the season gets underway.
2. Stephen Curry
In leading little-known Davidson to the Elite Eight in 2008, Steph Curry forever left his footprint in college basketball. That season, he set the single season record by knocking down 162 three-pointers for an average of 4.5 per game. Over his three-year career, he made 414 treys, enough to be fifth all-time. Had he played out his senior year, there is no doubt he would have ended with more three-pointers than anyone in NCAA history. He ended his career with averages of 25.3 points and four treys on 41.2 percent from behind the line. Curry continues to wreak havoc through his shooting in the NBA. Last season he made two threes per game on 44.2 percent shooting from behind the arc.
1. J.J. Redick
The King of the three-point ball in college, J.J. Redick made himself Public Enemy No. 1 through his unstoppable stroke. Playing against top competition in the ACC, he set the record at 457 made threes. He also holds the record for most threes attempted, which is a testament to the green light Coach K gave him even if he was only given an inch. Redick was also one of the best free throw shooters, finishing his career at 91.2 percent. Since he stayed a full four years and kept up a pace of over three treys per game, it seems unlikely that we’ll see anyone break his records anytime soon. Redick isn’t the phenom in the NBA that he was in college, but still boasts his natural shooting ability with a career three-point percentage just a touch under 40 percent.
Did we miss anyone? Who was the best college shooter you ever saw?
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