There are few roles more important to a college basketball team than the sharpshooter. J.J. Redick, Steph Curry, Kyle Korver. All made a name for themselves — in college and in the NBA — with what they could do beyond the arc.
But who is the best 3-point shooter in college basketball this century?
Before we get to that, let’s focus on the last qualifier in that question. This century. The approach to the 3-point shot in college basketball has changed drastically over history. Just take a look at this skyrocketing chart:
And that’s just since the 2000-01 season, which goes to show you how hard it is to compare sharpshooters from different eras.
Were we compiling this list on the top 3-point shooters of all time, Tony Bennett’s name would definitely be in the conversation. At Green Bay, Bennett — now Virginia’s head coach — shot a ridiculous 49.7 percent from the 3-point line, but he attempted only 548 3-pointers in his career, making 290. Redick took 1,126 3-pointers in his tenure.
Along with the year they played, we had two criteria for any player to be considered:
- Must rank in the Top 250 of both 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage.
- Must have a minimum of 200 made 3-pointers.
That gave us 77 candidates.
Once we had our final list, we ranked them using the same 3-point index we used to rank teams, comparing each player’s performance in made shots and percentage to the full range of performances in both categories among the list. Here's that equation:
Obviously this hurts players who left early for the NBA. Steph Curry ranks No. 15 on our list despite playing only three seasons. If he had played a fourth while keeping up his career average of made 3-pointers, he would have finished with 552, which would be the most-ever by a whopping 48. Still, he would finish as the No. 2 player on our list.
Of the 77 (including fictional four-year Curry) none ranked higher than Utah State’s Jaycee Carroll.
Carroll “only” finished with 369 career 3-pointers (ranking 29th all-time), but he did so while shooting an absurd .465 from beyond the arc. Only one other player in history has hit 350 3-pointers while shooting better than 45 percent:
That’d be Steve Novak, who finished second in our ranking. Along with Dwyane Wade, Novak was part of the 2003 Marquette team that made an impressive run to the school’s most recent Final Four. Novak — a freshman — averaged just 6.7 points that year, but improved every season until he was putting up 17.5 as a senior, 66.9 percent of those coming from beyond the arc.
In third place was Kyle Korver, who helped Creighton earn four of five straight NCAA tournament appearances — the longest stretch for the Blue Jays in program history. In his final three seasons at Creighton, Korver led the team in points per game, and even led in rebounds for his junior and senior years.
Of the 77 players on this list, three are still currently playing. Just one of those is ranked in the Top 10 — Wofford’s Fletcher Magee, who is No. 9 in our ranking.
Magee averaged 4.4 made 3-pointers per game last season, for a total of 148 on the year. That ranks No. 5 all time in 3-pointers made in a season. It also brings Magee’s career total up to 351, just 153 off of Travis Bader’s record of 504. Three players have made at least that many in a season. If Magee became the fourth (a highly improbable, but certainly possible feat), he’d hold the all-time record for made 3-pointers in Division I.
|3||Akeem Richmond||155||2013-14||East Carolina|
|4||Freddie Banks||152||1986-87||Nevada-Las Vegas|
|T6||David Holston||147||2008-09||Chicago State|
|9||Randy Rutherford||146||1994-95||Oklahoma State|
Some other notable names on the list:
- While he sits at No. 2 on the all-time made 3-pointers list, Redick’s percentage weighs him down to No. 10 on our ranking. He shot .406 on his career — the 17th-worst percentage on this list. Only one other player shot below 42.2 percent and ranked in the Top 10 — Travis Bader, who holds the record for made 3-pointers.
- Steph Curry at No. 15 is the only player in the Top 30 to only play three seasons.
- At .469 on his career, Stephen Sir holds the record for best 3-point percentage of any player with at least 200 made 3-pointers, but he just didn’t shoot enough. Sir totaled just 689 3-point attempts. If he had the volume of Redick and kept up his percentage (yes, we realize there is virtually no way that could happen, but humor us), he’d have hit 528 3-pointers. Alas.
Here is the full ranking:
|1||Jaycee Carroll||Utah State||369||0.4653|
|4||Stephen Sir||Northern Arizona||323||0.4688|
|14||Jimmy Baron||Rhode Island||361||0.4308|
|18||Brett Blizzard||North Carolina-Wilmington||371||0.4235|
|20||Trent Mackey||North Florida||303||0.4449|
|22||Andrew Goudelock||College of Charleston||396||0.4134|
|23||Jack Leasure||Coastal Carolina||411||0.4073|
|26||Bryn Forbes||Michigan State||324||0.4349|
|27||Pat Carroll||Saint Joseph's||294||0.4448|
|28||Jordan Howard||Central Arkansas||386||0.4133|
|30||Jon Diebler||Ohio State||374||0.4156|
|32||Langston Galloway||Saint Joseph's||343||0.4256|
|37||Terrence Woods||Florida A&M||353||0.4197|
|39||Jack McClinton||Miami (FL)||332||0.4262|
|40||Jeremy Senglin||Weber State||345||0.4192|
|41||Kyle McAlarney||Notre Dame||298||0.4338|
|42||Jared Brownridge||Santa Clara||385||0.4027|
|44||John Reimold||Bowling Green State||297||0.4273|
|46||Donald Sims||Appalachian State||358||0.4054|
|47||Scott Wood||North Carolina State||334||0.4129|
|50||Isaiah Canaan||Murray State||304||0.4193|
|53||Parker Smith||North Florida||361||0.3998|
|55||Chris Hill||Michigan State||306||0.4163|
|56||Ken Tutt||Oral Roberts||319||0.4116|
|57||Josh Carter||Texas A&M||299||0.4182|
|58||Francis Alonso||North Carolina-Greensboro||298||0.418|
|60||Darnell Harris||La Salle||342||0.4024|
|61||Tyler Hall||Montana State||315||0.4096|
|63||Josh Alexander||Stephen F. Austin||311||0.4097|
|64||Colin Falls||Notre Dame||331||0.4007|
|66||Marcus Thornton||William & Mary||325||0.4017|
|68||Johnny Dee||San Diego||333||0.3988|
|73||Nick Barbour||High Point||314||0.4026|
|77||Grant Benzinger||Wright State||291||0.3981|