SHOOTERS YOU’RE LIKELY TO SEE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT, NUMBERS 6-10
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Hey, it’s us again. You may remember us from such blogs as last week’s blog. As the NCAA tournament grows ever closer, and Gus Johnson gets his vocal cord shiatsu more regularly, we’re still thinking about who will be the best shooters in the dance. Here’s Nos. 6-10. But backwards, to build suspense.
10. JEFF ELORRIAGA (Boise State, 6-foot-2, Junior)
60-of-137 3-pointers, 44% 3-point FG, 2.9 made 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: Averaging a cool 10 ppg, Jeff is from Portland, so you know he loves Maple Bacon Bars from Voodoo Doughnut. He also played QB in high school, and even though we’ve been writing about him all year over at KF, we have zero idea how to pronounce his name. Elorriaga, not Jeff. Jeff’s easy.
Game of the Year: 10-of-16 from deep for 30 points against Corban University, which is not terribly good at basketball.
NBA Player You Can Compare Him To To Impress Charles Barkley: Um, nobody? They don’t really make shooters like him in the NBA. He’s short, not a PG, not terribly athletic, and has a little set shot that he probably couldn’t get off against Earl Boykins. So, let’s go with Matt Maloney.
Chance You’ll See Him In the NCAA Tournament: 60%. It seemed higher when we started making this list, mainly because Boise whupped Creighton early in the year. They’ve had some hard luck, though, falling twice to Mountain West-leading New Mexico (once in OT), and to Michigan State by just 4. The good news? Their RPI is 44, the same number as that famed Syracuse running back who defined his position: Rob Konrad. Also some Jim Brown dude.
Fun Fact: He has well above-average hair.
9. SCOTT WOOD (NC State, 6-foot-6, Senior)
69-of-158 3-pointers, 44% 3-point FG, 2.8 made 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: One of the most pedigreed shooters in the country. A few years back he set the ACC record for consecutive FT makes with 66, which is almost more than Bob Cousy in Blue Chips, and two weeks ago hit a game-winner to beat Clemson. He’s majoring in Parks Recreation Tourism, which should qualify him to fill in if Entertainment 720 ever releases Detlef Schrempf from his contract.
Game of the Year: He long-ranged it 6-of-11 style in an OT win against Virginia Tech, where students make a lot more model rockets and bridges out of popsicle sticks than at most colleges in Virginia.
NBA Player You Can Compare Him To: Steve Novak, thanks to his crazy-quick release off catch, great follow through, and general affable whiteness.
Chance You’ll See Him In the NCAA Tournament: 90%. It may not be the defacto premier conference anymore, but the ACC’s still a female dog; they’re 8-5 in it, and hell, they beat Duke.
Fun Fact: He shares a name with “The King of the Clean One-Liners,” a Christian comedian who has a 3-minute bit on car names (“So I’m looking at that new Infiniti … that’s how long it takes you to pay it off!”)
8. DOUG MCDERMOTT (Creighton, 6-foot-8, Junior)
57-of-118 3-pointers, 48% 3-point FG, 2.1 made 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: The best overall player on this list so far, by far. He averages 22.5 ppg, he plays for his dad, he’s a POY candidate, and he’s a determined proponent of the T-shirt-under-the-jersey look. He played in high school with former UNC stud Harrison Barnes, and together they won 53 consecutive games and two consecutive Iowa state titles. He’s got way more all-around game than most of these guys, which actually makes his 3-point proficiency all the more impressive.
Game of the Year: 6-for-8 from deep for 30 points against the Akron Zips, whose nickname is a shortened form of “zipper,” and was adopted in 1950 “because of the rising popularity of zippers in use on pants.” No, you did not know that — shut up.
NBA Player You Can Compare Him To: Some dude who played in 1963, before they even knew about the word “dude.” He’s got a throwback Kevin McHale post game with spins and hooks and up-and-unders, combined with as pure a stroke as there is out there from deep.
Chance You’ll See Him In the NCAA Tournament: 80%. Their early win against Wisconsin may make them a lock, especially as the Badgers continue to roll over an unsuspecting Big Ten because they have the best coach in the world and a really swell bunch of guys on that team over there. Yes, I went to Wisconsin. Who told you?
Fun Fact: His hobbies include golf, yoga, FRISBEE golf, and sightseeing. He’s like a new-age 70-year-old.
7. NIK STAUSKAS (Michigan, 6-foot-5, Freshman)
63-of-134 3-pointers, 47% 3-point FG, 2.4 made 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: He’s Canadian! But also Lithuanian, like my favorite 7-foot-12 shooter ever, Arvydas Sabonis, plus some dude named Ramūnas Šiškauskas. And he’s killing it as a freshman at the school most famous for them, averaging 12.2 ppg while threatening 50% from triple all year.
Game of the Year: He hit 5-of-8 long ones against both Central AND Eastern Michigan. You’ve been warned, Northern Michigan, Northwestern Michigan, and Southwestern Michigan. And also Baker College of Flint.
NBA Player You Can Compare Him To: Casey Jacobsen, because he’s tall, has a very solid all-around game in addition to the shooting, and Montrose — the other half of the KF duo — gets his Christmas card, and just wanted me to tell everyone that. He says it’s pretty festive, or whatever.
Chance You’ll See Him In the NCAA Tournament: 100%. The Wolverines have been falling apart like they just saw Jean Grey making out with that loser Cyclops, but there’s no way they’re not in.
Fun Fact: He’s grown eight inches over the last two years. The bastard.
6. TROY DANIELS (VCU, 6-foot-4, Senior)
92-of-228, 40% 3-point FG, 3.5 made 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: After two quiet seasons knowing he was a great shooter, and having people call him a great shooter, but not being a great shooter, he’s finally a great shooter. He’s our single-game three-point king for the year thanks to going 11-of-20 against East Tennessee St (or actually co-king, along with The Best Shooter To Not Make The Tournament, Travis Bader), and went 27-of-49 during a three-game stretch in January. He also freely bombs them from same places frequented by fat unathletic dudes wearing their favorite player’s jersey at the halftime of NBA games. But actually makes them.
Game of the Year: We already told you, 11-for-20 against East Tennessee St. Pay attention! Seriously, though, more than half of them were over 30 feet. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it.
NBA Player You Can Compare Him To: Ray Allen. I said it! He’s kinda like Ray Allen. Nowhere near the all-around player, obviously, but the size and stroke and range are eerily similar. He’s got great elevation, shoots at the apex of his jump, squares up true every time, and holds countless Milwaukee Bucks season and career records. One of those might not be true.
Chance You’ll See Him In the NCAA Tournament: 90%. Maybe 95%. 100% if they beat Butler on March 2. Percents are fun.
Fun Fact: He goes by the nickname Buzz, although his girlfriend is presumably much better looking than Buzz’s from Home Alone.