The slam dunk. The 3-point shot. The hard drive to the hole. There are a lot of ways to score a basketball, and we love watching them all.
That makes the best scorers in DII basketball some of the most fun players to watch. But, what exactly defines the best scorers? It's easy to look at the scoring leaders and see who has the most, but scoring takes more than pumping out points every night. A variety of different aspects, like points per game, or field goal percentage, or being an assassin from beyond the arc, can go into what constitutes the 'best scorer'.
Here’s a look at a few scorers who are atop their games in different ways.
Tommy Bolte, Concord
Bolte has led DII basketball in scoring from the Day 1 of the DII basketball season. The junior guard opened up 2017-18 by dropping 40 points on a 17-for-26 performance against Fayettville State. He followed it with a 43-point night against Winston-Salem State.
Not a bad start to the season, huh?
Bolte has since broken the 40-point mark two more times, including a 42-point performance against Shepherd on February 8. He followed that with a 39-point output against defending national runner-up Fairmont State. Bolte is now averaging 29.9 points per game, tops in DII, behind a 49 percent field goal and 39.5 3-point percentage. He recently eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career, which speaks volumes considering he made just 14 starts prior to this season.
Deadly from downtown
Trevon Shaw, Lincoln Memorial
The top scorer for the top team in DII seems like a no-brainer. That's exactly what Shaw is, as he and Emanuel Terry anchor the tough Railsplitters offense.
Whereas Terry beats you in the paint behind a remarkable 72.4 field goal percentage, Shaw has been one of the best from behind the arc. His 110 3-pointers were the most made at any level of play entering this week of play. That's 4.58 per game, tops in DII.
It's not like Shaw just chucks it up either. He's extremely successful, his 49.8 3-point percentage sixth-best in DII. He was at his best in a December 11 performance when he hit 11-for-13 from downtown. Shaw is avergaing 18.3 points per game, and has had season-highs of 36, 35, 35 and 34. With Terry down low and Shaw outside, the Railsplitters are one of the toughest teams to defend in DII.
A can’t miss prospect
Brady Skeens, Washburn
The Ichabods big man has become much more known for his defensive play over the years, taking home the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Defensive Player of the Year award two years running.
But don't think he can't score.
Skeens just picked his second MIAA Player of the Week honors, scoring 19.5 points with 13.0 rebounds and three blocks per game. It isn't how much Skeens scores that's an asset, however, it's the frequency in which he does it.
He doesn’t light up the box score, averaging just 13.8 ppg, but he rarely misses. Skeens is leading DII with a 73.1 field goal percentage. He recently matched a career-high 28 points on 11-for-15 shooting on February 1.
Looking Larry Bird-like
Alex Stein, Southern Indiana
A good free throw shooter from Indiana? Who would have thunk?
Alex Stein is leading the Screaming Eagles in scoring at 18.3 points per game, but that's not why he made the list. He’s also leading the country — all three divisions — in free throw percentage.
Stein is 120-for-125 on the season, an impressive 96 percent that is currently fifth all-time in DII history. With four games left, he can easily move into second, although he won’t catch Northern Kentucky’s Paul Cluxton who went a perfect 94-for-94 in 1997. His best game of the season was 14-for-14 performance on 12/30/17 went he pumped out a season-high 31 points.
The sophomore sensation
Harrison Cleary, Minnesota Crookston
The Golden Eagles are 10-16, and likely not heading to the postseason. That's why Cleary's remarkable season may get overlooked.
Cleary set the Minnesota Crookston single-season school record as a freshman last year and he’s already broken it as a sophomore. He's scoring 24.8 points per game, which is fifth in DII and makes him the top scoring sophomore in the land. But that's not all. Cleary is top ten in DII in 3-point percentage (ninth at 48.7 percent) and free throw percentage (second at 95.5 percent). Basically, there's no where on the floor Cleary can't score from, making him a dangerous offensive asset.
Cleary scored a season-high 46 on 5-for-8 from 3 and 11-for-11 from the charity stripe. He'll continue to stuff the box scores for years to come in Crookston.
Follow the leader
Justin Pitts, Northwest Missouri StateThe defending champion Bearcats are having another fine season, sitting at 21-2 and the No. 6 team in the country. Pitts is a large reason why.
The reigning DII Player of the Year holds numerous Northwest Missouri State scoring and assist records, and more may be coming. Pitts is actually avergaing his lowest point total since his 2015 freshman campaign, but it's still an impressive 19.7 points per game. So why does that earn Pitts a nod as one of DII's best scorers?
Consistency. Pitts has scored 2,363 points in his illustrious career, leaving him tied with Division III's Raheem Anderson across all three levels as the active leader in points. Since the Bearcats look to be heading back to the postseason, he'll have plenty of time to crack the Top 30 scorers in DII history, and if they go far enough, a very good chance to break the Top 20.
Simply put, Pitts has scored a lot of points by not having many weaknesses in his overall game. He's shooting 52.1 percent from the floor, 41.2 percent from 3, and 90.7 percent from the charity stripe. When Pitts wraps up his career, he'll be one of the greatest scorers in the history of the division.