SHOOTERS YOU’RE LIKELY TO SEE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT, NUMBERS 1-5
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Oh hello, friends. If you’ve been sitting there refreshing this page all week, wondering when we were going to drop the top five best shooters you’re likely to see this March in the NCAA tournament, well that seems a bit overzealous; you should know these things come out on Thursdays. But now it is said Thursday, so all that refreshing has paid off! To wit:
5. MARSHALL HENDERSON, (Ole Miss, 6-foot-2, Junior)
111-of-302 3-pointers, 37% 3pt, 4.0 made 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: Oh, friends — glorious, glorious friends. If you don’t know Marshall Henderson, you are missing out on your chance to see the most entertaining, mercurial, frustrating, incomprehensible player to ever walk around a court talking to himself while throwing ice at his own fans and wrecking locker rooms using fists and chairs and teammates’ hair products. Marshall is the leading scorer in the SEC at 19.7 ppg. He’s inefficient, he takes a ton of shots, and he goes through stretches where it appears he literally has lost his mind and thinks he’s in a one-man, off-Broadway play titled “Who Are YOU Calling Crazy?” But he’s also an electrifying, unconventional scorer — a Jimmer type, with a much uglier shot and vocabulary, a coach’s son who seems self-taught, a gesticulating pantomiming prodigy you can’t not watch. His baggage and past arrests and inability to “let it go” just make it all more exciting and dramatic and terrifying. Watch this man closely. Just not when he’s near an ice machine.
Game of the Year: Feb. 23 vs. Auburn he came off the bench and scored 28 points on 8-of-12 from deep in a game Jay Bilas called “long.” Also, he might have trouble getting into sock hops at Auburn, thanks to this:
NBA Player You Can Compare Him To In Order To Impress Charles Barkley: If you put Metta World Peace’s mind in JJ Redick’s body, then kind of made Redick’s shot look like Joakim Noah’s — but still go in a lot – well, that’s about right.
Chance You’ll See Him In The NCAA Tournament: 90%. Ole Miss is currently 21-7, two back in the SEC with three games to play. Assuming the Rebs win two of those last three (which they should), and do decent in the conference tourney, Marshall will be there tossing ice on everybody in the Dance.
Fun Fact: After an OT win against Georgia a few weeks back, Marshall walked into the media room, turned to the reporters and said, “If it’s all the same, it’s Saturday night. I’m out.” And then went off into the night, presumably to watch A Beautiful Mind while sitting in a tub filled with throwing ice.
4. JORDAN HULLS (Indiana, 6 foot, Senior)
71-of-142 3-pointers, 50% 3pt, 2.5 made 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: First of all, Jordy is a Kingsbury Factor favorite, and has been consistently in our top 20 for several years. He was the only bright spot on a terrible Indiana team three years ago, and continues to be a steady, frustratingly unselfish player as he finishes out his career on a championship-caliber one. He’s also one of the best pure shooters in the game, and is fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage at 50%, while making and taking more than anyone else in this top 10. He also used to have a bowl cut, and often gets tweeted about by girls who wait on him in fast-casual restaurants.
Game of the Year: Of course, he was 6-of-9 from deep vs. Jacksonville, but a better example of the typical Jordy performance would be his 3-of-4 from triple game vs. No. 1 (at the time) Michigan when the Hoosiers took down the Wolverines.
NBA Player You Can Compare Him To: Damon Bailey. It has to be Damon Bailey. There are no other choices. … Damon Bailey played in the NBA, right?
Chance You’ll See Him In The NCAA Tournament: 100%. Indiana has been in the top five all year, and though the Hoosiers just lost to Minnesota, somehow, they still will be either a 1 or 2 seed.
Fun Fact: We call him the “Ghost of Still Alive Damon Bailey” because A) references to A Christmas Carol are classy, B) both he and Bailey won Mr. Basketball in Indiana, and C) they’re both short white dudes who look like they should be extras in the Kevin Bacon version of Footloose.
3. ROTNEI CLARKE (Butler, 6 foot, Senior)
91-of-210 3-pointers, 43% 3pt, 3.6 made 3-pointers per game.
What You Need To Know: Another longtime KF favorite son that we definitely didn’t actually birth because we’re not that old or sexy, Rotnei is an Oklahoma high school legend. In fact, he’s actually often called “The Damon Bailey of Oklahoma,” because he scored something like eleventy million points, and he’s short and has a flattop. His first three years were spent at Arkansas, where he was the leading scorer on a crappy team that didn’t even have Scotty Thurman or Pat Bradley. And then the coach left, and so did Rotnei, traveling to mid-major and Clue board game legend Butler.
Game of the Year: Though he was 4-of-14 from deep in an early season game vs. Marquette in Hawaii, he did hit a running one handed miracle shot to win the game. Which you can see right here:
Chance You’ll See Him In the NCAA Tourney: 100%. Butler has wins vs. UNC, Marquette, No. 1 (at the time) Indiana, and Gonzaga — and the Bulldogs are currently ranked 20th in the nation. They’re Dancin’ with somebody.
Fun Fact: When he was in high school, so many people would travel from all over Oklahoma to watch him play for tiny Verdigris High School that state officials actually added the name of his town to a turnpike exit to make the trips easier. Before that, Rotnei used to just stand at the turn off with a homemade sign that said, “Turn here to see me do awesome stuff. And also: support local small businesses”
2. TRAVIS BADER (Oakland, 6-foot-4, Junior)
130-of-326 3-pointers, 40% 3pt, 4.3 3s made 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: Alright, friends, we’ve got to come clean about something. In our original write-up for this top 20, we name-dropped Travis, the NCAA’s leader in made 3-pointers and its fifth-leading scorer, as someone we WOULDN’T write about, because his team didn’t have a shot at making the tourney. And then they proceeded to rattle off nine wins in 11 games, and Oakland is only two back in the Summit while our old No. 2, Sean Armand’s Iona team, has dropped six of seven. Sooo … Bader is in! Just like we predicted, or whatever.
Game of the Year: Against a team made up mostly of abbreviated letters (IUPUI), Travis scored 47 points, the second-most in a single game in college this year, going 11-of-18 from behind the arc. He also is good at trick shots, and not hitting any part of the net, multiple times:
Chance You’ll See Him In The NCAA Tourney: 45%. Despite the crazy run his Oakland squad is on, they’d still have to win their conference tourney to get a bid. It’s just a little more likely now that this could happen.
Fun Fact: Oakland University is not in California. It’s in Michigan, and was donated in 1957 when the widow of the Dodge car family gave away their 1,500-acre estate, thoroughly incensing that butler from Downton Abbey.
1. IAN CLARK (Belmont, 6-foot-3, Senior)
90-of-193 3-pointers, 47% 3pt percentage, 3.2 3-pointers per game
What You Need To Know: Ian can shoot the rock. Dude is one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Player of the Year award, and the first ever from Belmont; he’s also a finalist for the top player from a mid-major conference award. He’s ninth in the nation in 3s made and in the top 25 in percentage (only one person above him has made more 3s), he somehow shoots 64% from two-point range as a guard, and has made more than five 3s in a game seven times this year. He also shoots a set shot that he pulls in front of his face, which would anger Jordy Hulls’ dad.
Game of the Year: Clark went HAM on Northeastern, as the kids on Snapchat say, hitting 9 of 11 from deep.
NBA Player You Can Compare Him To: Both he and Steph Curry shoot a set shot from deep. And both of them can take it to the rack. Plus Steph had 54 points last night (so chances are if we mention him, it’ll increase our SEO. That’s just smart writing there, friends).
Chance You’ll See Him In The NCAA Tourney: 88%. That’s a very specific number, but Belmont is 23-6, and 13-2 in the Ohio Valley, which will make it a No. 1 seed in the conference tourney. Even if Belmont loses, there is a chance it could get an at-large bid, something Louie Anderson wished existed at fraternities when he was in college.
Fun Fact: He’s 6-foot-4, 180lbs, and yet, according to an interview in the Nashville City Paper, “people still call me fat — I eat a lot.” Whoever those people are, they’re jerks, Ian. JERKS!