College basketball: Seven strong candidates to join the 50/40/90 Club
Buddy Hield won the Naismith and Wooden awards last season, not to mention a unanimous first-team All-American. The endearing Hield led Oklahoma to 29 victories and the Final Four. College basketball fans embraced the Bahamas native who improved each season in college and became a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.
But in one area, Hield fell just short. The Sooners sensational shooting guard finished four made free throws shy of becoming the eighth Division I college basketball player since 1993-94 to shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent on 3-pointers and 90 percent on free throws while averaging at least 10 points per game.
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JOIN THE TEAM.
Any discussion of this exclusive club must include Utah State guard Jaycee Carroll and his remarkable 2007-08 season. He averaged 22.4 points per game, shooting 53 percent from the field, 50 percent on 3-pointers and 92 percent on free throws. Carroll finished at Utah St. as the career scoring leader and eventually landed in Europe where he’s enjoying a successful stint with Real Madrid.
These seven college basketball players have the skills to join Carroll and the others this season. Just remember, it’s a tough club to crack.
Grayson Allen, Duke — Last season: 47 pct FGs / 44 pct 3PFGs / 84 pct FTs (21.4 ppg)
Allen, a 6-5 junior, is the popular pick as ACC Player of the Year and figures in the mix for national honors. Allen was remarkably efficient in 2015-16 on a team where he and Brandon Ingram were the sole creators on offense. There’s more talent around Allen this season, Jayson Tatum on the wing and Harry Giles down low, which should allow Allen to be a more selective sniper.
Jordan Dartis, Ohio — Last season: 49/48/89 (9.8 ppg)
Dartis started 26 games as a freshman, leading the Mid-American Conference in 3-point shooting (47.9 percent) while helping the Bobcats to 23 victories. The pure shooter finished 11th in the nation in effective field goal percentage (66.2) and fifth in true shooting (69.1). He blistered Buffalo with seven 3-pointers in February and had 14 perfect games at the free throw line.
Joel Berry, North Carolina — Last season: 44/38/87 (12.8 ppg)
After playing only 12 minutes per game as a freshman, Berry became one of the ACC’s best guards last season, outshining backcourt mate Marcus Paige on most nights. He will take another big step forward in 2016-17. Berry had a 123.7 offensive rating last season and should have the ball in his hands 30-35 minutes per game as the Tar Heels look to return to the Final Four.
Joe Rosga, Denver — Last season: 48/39/89 (12.7 ppg)
Another brilliant freshman, the 6-3 guard out of St. Paul, Minn. earned a spot on the Summit League’s All-Newcomer team.
He played 33 minutes per game and led the Pioneers in scoring, creating 3.3 win shares with his contributions on each end of the floor. It’s unwise to foul him. He drilled 47 of 49 free throws in the final 11 games, ranking second in the Summit.
George King, Colorado — Last season: 45/46/75 (13.6 ppg)
It’s been an interesting journey in Boulder for King, a 6-6 junior. He averaged 1.5 points per game in 2013-14 and opted to redshirt the next season and refine his game. A post player in high school, King revamped his arsenal, adding 25 pounds and a deadly jump shot to earn Most Improved Player honors in the Pac-12. He needs significant improvement at the line, however, to earn an invitation to Club 50/40/90/10.
Emmett Naar, Saint Mary’s — Last season: 49 / 42 / 87 (14.1 ppg)
The latest in a long line of Australian snipers to arrive in Moraga, Calif. and start shredding nets, Naar had one foot in the door of the hoops world’s most exclusive shooting club until a late-season slump kicked him out. In the Gaels’ last six games, Naar was 5 of 29 on 3-pointers and 32 of 76 (42 percent) from the floor. He should have ample opportunities to fire away. He set a school record for minutes played (1,301) last season.
Zeek Woodley, Northwestern State — Last season: 53/41/89 (22.2 ppg)
Woodley also had membership on the edge of his fingertips last season before it bounced on the rim twice and rolled away. Woodley, a strong versatile guard for coach Mike McConathy, made 133 free throws (in 150 attempts). He needed to make 135 to hit the 90 percent clip. Still, he’ll fire the Demon's engine again this season. Woodley, one of the nation’s leading returning scorers, is a 58 percent shooter in his career.