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Joe Boozell | | August 23, 2018

College basketball: 7 of the best shooters in the country

Marquette's Markus Howard talks with Andy Katz

As the long ball becomes more and more prevalent in the college game, it's key to load up on as many 3-point snipers as possible.

Here are seven of the best shooters in the country.

G Kyle Guy, Virginia

Guy’s 3-point percentage dipped from 49.5 as a freshman to 39.2 as a sophomore, but he’s still one of the most feared shooters in the country.

He’s a throwback, lethal coming off Virginia’s vintage curl screens. Guy scampers from sideline to sideline, just searching for a crack. When he catches with an inch of space, he has a quick enough release to fire. Guy’s stroke is one of the smoothest and most compact in the game.

3-point percentage is the most telling metric when evaluating shooters, but it’s not all that matters. Volume and degree of difficulty are also imperative; Guy takes and makes plenty of difficult shots. He launched 6.2 3s per game last season and created a ton of space for a Virginia offense otherwise lacking it.

He was more of a low-usage standstill shooter as a freshman, which is part of the reason his percentage dropped as a sophomore. Guy won’t make half his 3s as a junior. But if he can hover around 45 percent, the Cavaliers’ offense will improve.

F Sam Hauser, Marquette

Hauser is more of a spot-up guy, but the volume and efficiency are there. He hit 48.7 percent of his 3s on 5.6 attempts per game last year and was pretty much automatic when left open.

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Marquette's offense was elite when Hauser was on the floor. The Golden Eagles scored 130.4 points per 100 possessions with him in the game, giving him the 11th highest individual offensive rating in the nation. Hauser's offensive rating was higher than teammates Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey, and spoiler alert: it wasn't close.

Of course, Hauser played most of his minutes with Howard and Rowsey, but it shows how much gravity he brings. The downside: he doesn't create his own shot and is reliant on guards to kick out to him. In other words, his life is easier than most of the players on this list.

But Hauser is still an incredible shooter. Watch out for him as a junior.

G Carsen Edwards, Purdue

 Edwards is the opposite of Hauser. He creates almost all of his own 3s. The pull-up 3 is the most important shot to have in today’s game, and boy, does Edwards have it.

Edwards shot 40.6 percent from 3 last season, which is great, but undersells just how lethal of a shooter he is. Purdue mostly had two methods of creating offense last year: dumping the ball to Isaac Haas, or giving the ball to Edwards and letting him do stuff.

Edwards averaged 18.5 points and launched 6.5 3s per game. Expect both of those numbers to rise as a junior, perhaps drastically given everything Purdue lost. He could sniff 25 points per game if Matt Painter really lets him run wild.

F Mike Daum, South Dakota St.

There’s something to be said for consistency. A few notes on Daum.

-He’s played three years at South Dakota State.
-All three years, he’s shot at least 41 percent from 3.
-He shot 44.6 percent from 3 as a freshman, but only took 65 long balls total.
-As a junior, he made 42.5 percent. But he took 226 of them and averaged 23.9 points per game.

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Daum is proof that you can improve immensely as a shooter in a relatively short time period. He was accurate as a freshman, but the confidence in his range wasn’t there, so he mostly settled for mid-range jumpers. His 3-point percentage was high, but he mainly only jacked wide-open looks.

That has… changed. The Jackrabbits are creative in springing Daum free these days, setting him flare screens, pindowns, etc. He’s perhaps the most dangerous pick-and-pop player in America; using Daum as a screener leverages his shooting ability and is an impossible action to defend.

He’s the most proven shooter on this list. He’ll be even deadlier as a senior.

G Corey Davis Jr., Houston

Rob Gray is gone, but Houston has someone to fill his shoes. Davis made 42.9 percent of his 3s on 6.9 attempts per game in his first season as a Cougar; he was the perfect second option next to Gray.

His playmaking chops will be tested this season, and he may not get as clean of looks as he did playing next to Gray. But Davis has already shown he can hit off-balance triples. He’s the rare player who can scurry around screens and hit shots on the move, while also having the ability to launch 3s as a screen-roll ball-handler.

Davis’ shot is legit, as his is overall scoring package. But the jury is out on his playmaking. Davis will have the ball in his hands more this year and will have to worry about making his teammates better.

But he’s going to score, and Davis’ outstanding jumper is the best thing he has going for him.

G Cassius Winston, Michigan State

Winston’s shot might not even be the most impressive part of his game, but you can’t ignore the numbers. The Michigan State point guard made 49.7 of his triples as a sophomore on 4.3 attempts per game.

The volume is the lowest on this list, but it’s still enough of a sample size to consider Winston a remarkable shooter. He also made 90 percent of his free throws and was generally dangerous from every inch on the court.

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Winston was a reluctant shooter when he got to Michigan State, only attempting two 3s per game as a freshman. And given the star power the Spartans had last season, Winston’s primary role was to be a distributor. He excelled there, averaging 6.9 assists per game.

But with Jaren Jackson and Miles Bridges gone, Michigan State will need him to score more. That means shooting more. If Winston can up his volume and keep the clip around 45 percent, he could become a star in his own right.

G Markus Howard, Marquette

Howard came crashing back to Earth after shooting 55 percent from 3 as a freshman… all the way down to 40.4 percent. On 8.4 attempts per game. Still pretty great!

His degree of difficulty was absurdly high last season. Howard averaged 20.4 points and had the greenest of green lights. He has every shot in his bag; stepback 3s, pull-up 3s, spot-up 3s. You name it, Howard can hit it.

The biggest negative in Howard’s game is a lack of athleticism, which can make it hard to separate from high-level defenders. While that hurts him has a player, it illustrates how great of a sniper he is. Howard is still able to maintain his efficiency despite often struggling to create space form the defense. He makes a bunch of contested shots.

Look for him to go off as a junior.

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