Through the ebb and flow of college basketball, from smaller lineups to shorter shot clocks, 3-point shooters remain recruiting jewels proficient producing from the most efficient scoring spot on the court. They confirm their value simply by being in the game. A high percentage marksman creates spacing in halfcourt sets, leading to better scoring opportunities for his teammates. Defenders must find the adept long range shooter in transition, chase him to his favorite spot to deny an open look at the basket. A hot 3-point artist can erase a double-digit deficit in two minutes, ignite a home crowd, silence an enemy’s arena. Coaches never say, ‘hey, I have too many good shooters on this team.’ The average hoops lover relates to the shooter better than he does the acrobatic dunker because even the fan in Row YY has chucked in a 3-pointer at the local gym.
Considering the average college basketball team scores approximately one point per possession, allowing too many three-point possessions is a good way to lose. The Division I average on 3-pointers was 34.3 percent last season, but the shooters on this list aim to make half of their attempts from long range, and on the occasional night are perfect.
So beware, hoops defenders of America: Leave them open at your own risk.
Alex Anderson, Tenn.-Martin, Sr.
In his first season with the Skyhawks, the 5-11 guard finished third in the nation and led the Ohio Valley Conference in 3-point shooting, hitting 48 percent. He made one in every game, and 2.8 on average. Anderson, a former junior college All-American, really heated up late drilling 56.4 percent over the last 16 games. The Memphis native started his career at Jacksonville State.
Watch him shoot: Against Belmont on Jan. 21 on ESPNU. Expect plenty of long range bombs because the Bruins love the long ball as well, led by Craig Bradshaw who shot 42.3 percent from deep last season.
John Simons, Central Michigan, Jr.
The nation’s best shooting forward, the 6-8 junior nailed 45.5 percent of his attempts behind-the-arc last season for the Chippewas, the nation’s third most prolific 3-point squad. A three-year starter, Simons has made 181 3-pointers in his career and was especially hot March 3rd against Toledo, when he made eight from long range and scored a career-high 28 points. He was also fortunate to avoid injury when a basket collapsed over him against Northern Illinois.
Watch him shoot: In the MAC Tournament in March, where the loaded Chippewas will be one of the favorites.
Daniel Dixon, William & Mary, Jr., G, 45.1 percent (73)
In a program built on 3-point shooting prowess, Dixon is the most accurate in school history, sinking 45.1 percent last season and making 98 3-pointers in two seasons. Tribe coach Tony Shaver loves to spread four sharpshooters around the perimeter. Dixon was prepared to catch and fire in the final second of a CAA Tournament semifinal game last season when he took a pass from Marcus Thornton and drilled the shot that gave William & Mary a 92-91 double overtime win over Hofstra (above).
Watch him shoot: Feb. 6 on NBC Sports Network when the Tribe entertains Delaware, another team expected to contend for the Colonial Athletic Association championship.
Micah Mason, Duquesne, Sr., G, 44.7 percent (88)
Second only to former Wisconsin-Green Bay star (and current Virginia coach) Tony Bennett in the NCAA 3-point shooting record book, Mason has overcome a rare heart condition to hit 193 of 492 3-point attempts during his career. After leading the Missouri Valley Conference in 3-point shooting at Drake as a freshman (50.6 percent), Mason transferred home to Western Pa. and promptly led the nation at 56.0 percent. He shot 44.7 percent last season as a junior with the Dukes, showing off a sweet stroke he’s been honing since the fourth grade (above).
Watch him shoot: Dec. 4th on CBS Sports Network against city rival Pittsburgh.
Sterling Gibbs, Connecticut, Graduate Sr., G
Not only a great shooter but one of the best players in the nation, Gibbs made UConn his third school in five years following two seasons at Seton Hall and one at Texas. The 6-1 guard hit 75 3-pointers last season (43.6 percent) and his addition to the roster turned the Huskies into a contender in the American Athletic Conference. Just ask Illinois State. Gibbs hit 7 of 9 from deep and poured in 40 points when the teams met early last season. He also did the above to Creighton.
Watch him shoot: Dec. 8th on ESPN against Maryland, which is projected to be one of the top teams in the nation.
Jared Brownridge, Santa Clara, Jr., G
Santa Clara is best known for producing the recently retired former NBA MVP Steve Nash, however, Brownridge’s shooting ability may help him land on an NBA roster one day. In two seasons with the Broncos he’s swished 188 3-pointers, connecting on 43.3 percent last season. He’s clutch also. Watch him bury the game-winner against Saint Mary’s last season above, lifting Santa Clara to first defeat of its powerful conference rival since 2009.
Watch him shoot: Broncos will have three games on one of the ESPN networks during the Wooden Legacy, Nov. 26-29.
Maodo Lo, Columbia, Sr., G, 43.1 percent (84)
The fastest rising star on Broadway this winter could be Lo, a Berlin native who played for the German National Team over the summer. He drained 84 3-pointers last season, knocking down 43.1 percent of his attempts. He also set an Ivy League record at Princeton, connecting on 11 of 15 3-pointers en route at a 37-point night. Facing elite programs didn’t faze Lo, as he scored 16 points in Rupp Arena against Kentucky and dropped 22 on Connecticut above).
Watch him shoot: Nov. 20 against Northwestern on ESPN3