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The dozens: the 12 best shooters in college basketball

Since the time of the peach basket no skill in college basketball is as worked on or developed as much as the jump shot. Modern day “purists” decry the lack of fundamentals in today’s game, but look at the data. Players can fill it up. And to do that, it takes practice. It takes mechanics. It takes talent.

Here are the 12 best (in no particular order):

Rotnei Clarke, Butler: The transfer from Arkansas has one season left in college basketball. And he’ll be filling Butler’s most glaring hole from last year. Of 345 Division I teams, Butler was 341st in 3-point%. Enter Clarke who made 39%, 43% and 44% in his three seasons with the Razorbacks. Now he’s spent a year in the gym learning Brad Stevens offense, and has been filling it up in the gym at a legend-making rate.

Scott Wood, NC State: There’s a theory that kids who grow up in areas with wide open spaces become better shooters. In New York City it’s tough to find a court where you have the place to yourself, and so development happens in crowds. It happens in games of 21. But in Marion, Indiana? Bombs away. Scott Wood is straight out the movie Hoosiers, only he’s playing in North Carolina. Last year Scott Wood made 66 straight free throws – good for the 4th best streak in D1 history. He also made 41% of his 3s.

Isaiah Canaan, Murray State: The Racers lost two games all season, and Isaiah Canaan is largely responsible for that. Yes, hoops is a team game. But most teams don’t have Isaiah Canaan. Throw out everything else he did and just focus on the shooting. He attempted 215 3s in 33 games, and made 46%. And that 46% wasn’t even his best year. As a freshman he made 48%.

Kris Davis, SIU-Edwardsville: The freshman at SIU-Edwardsville led the nation in 3-point shooting. But that’s not the most interesting part about the stat. Davis, from the free throw line, only made 56.8% of his attempts (46-81), and barely registered on 2s, making just 37%. But it’s impossible to keep him off this list, because he didn’t squeak past the 50% mark, be buried it, making a remarkable 59.8% of his 3s.

Jordan Hulls, Indiana: This could become a movie. The former Mr. Basketball in Indiana joined the Hoosiers at a time of trouble. Tom Crean was in town to right the ship and he turned to the undersized guard, who has now started 77 straight games. Year 1: 4-14 in the Big 10. Year 2: 3-15. Year 3: (hello Cody Zeller) 11-7. Now the Hoosiers might be the preseason No. 1 team in the nation, and Hulls – who has led the team in minutes each of the past two seasons – will be looking to put an exclamation point at the end of his storybook amateur career. A bigger, stronger, Cody Zeller will demand even more attention in the coming season, which should mean more 3s for Hulls (who made 49% against D-1 opponents last year).

Sean Armand, Iona: Remember when a Siena player talked smack about them being the Cadillac of the MAAC? Well, the next game was in Madison Square Garden and Sean Armand made 10 3s. Entering his junior season he’s shooting nearly 45% from beyond the arc for his career. I’m not sure which team is the Cadillac of the MAAC, but if you’re looking for the Cadillac of shooters in the MAAC, look to Mr. Armand.

Michael Snaer, Florida State: Making 40% of your 3s at this level is a serious accomplishment, but is it enough to warrant being on this list? In most cases, no. But Snaer isn’t most cases. Yes, he made over 40% of his 3s, and yes he made 85% from the line. But more importantly it was when he made his shots. Making a game winning three at the buzzer is impressive, and Snaer is on this list because he did just that – twice. And in the game he won at Duke, most people forget that he also made a scrambling, falling down, off-the-glass three at the halftime buzzer to keep FSU within shouting distance. I don’t believe in “clutch”, but screw it, Snaer is clutch.

E.J. Singler, Oregon: Singler led the Pac-10 in free throw shooting as a sophomore. And last year he led a conference called the Pac-12 in the same stat. Oh, and he’s the top returning free throw shooter in the nation. It’s no surprise as Singler has some serious hoops lineage. His brother played at Duke. His mom played at rival Oregon State. One uncle played for Oregon and another played for Texas.

Doug McDermott, Creighton: McDermott may set a lot of records in his career, including “most words written about.” So I’ll keep this brief. McDermott could appear on any number of similar lists, but when it comes to shooting the sophomore made 49% of his 3s when every opposing coaching staff was planning specifically on stopping him.

Shane Gibson, Sacred Heart: It’s hard for Gibson to stand out playing for a below average team in a below average conference. But he was everything to Sacred Heart this season. Many great shooters rely on teammates to get them their shots, but Gibson took 34% of the shots, making 56% of his 2s and 43% of his 3s. He’s not great at getting to the line, but when there makes 86%. The Pioneers will be better next season, so Gibson will have a chance to get his due.

Jordan Dykstra and Chad White, South Dakota State: Wait, the Jackrabbits have someone besides Nate “Naters gonna Nate” Wolters? In fact, they have two big shooters in Dykstra (6-8) and White (6-6). They took 110 and 106 3s respectively, and both made 47%. If you’re picking nits then Dykstra was the better shooter, making 47.3% to White’s 47.2%. This year, it’s on.

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