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The 10 best 3-point shooters

1/20/2012

As the college basketball celebrates the 25th anniversary of the 3-point arc, I thought it was appropriate to look at the top 10 perimeter snipers of the season. This is more than just a look at 3-point percentage; this is a list of guys who hit frequently in the clutch and whose form suggests their success can be replicated. Let's start the countdown.

10. Doug McDermott, Creighton: He is shooting 52.2 percent from deep and 61.6 percent overall. Good luck covering him. McDermott has silky-smooth form, doesn't force shots and is willing to take and make big ones.

9. Sean Armand and Kyle Smyth, Iona: We're cheating a bit here by listing two guys, but they're teammates. At 48.1 percent from 3, Armand hits the long ball at a better clip. Smyth, however, plays many more minutes and is expected to do a lot more. He makes 35.7 percent of his 3s but takes more difficult shots and has what might be the quickest release in the college game.

8. Brady Heslip, Baylor: The Canadian national team stalwart is connecting on 47.7 percent of 3-pointers for the Bears and provides great balance for their inside game. Heslip has beautiful arc on his jumper, and although he will take contested 3s, it doesn't affect him as much as others.

7. Marcus Denmon, Missouri: Although Kim English is connecting on 51.1 percent from deep, Denmon is the Tigers' go-to shooter. His strength and balance when shooting transition jumpers are simply remarkable. In fact, no one in college hoops is better at shooting a jumper off a full sprint.

6. Malik Story, Nevada: The Wolf Pack are very quietly the best team in the WAC. Story, the best player in the WAC, is not only an NBA prospect but also a 51-percent 3-point shooter. Story can beat you going one-on-one or off the catch.

5. Ryne Smith, Purdue: Smith (45.3 percent from 3) has the purest release in the Big Ten. If you want to learn proper technique, watch him: He uses his left hand as a guide and snaps his wrist effortlessly upon his release.

4. Isaiah Canaan, Murray State: The Racers have great guards, perhaps none greater than Canaan. He averages 18.6 ppg and shoots 47.1 percent from deep. His legs are always in balance, and he seems to shoot just as well in transition as off a screen.

3. Damian Lillard, Weber State: He's the best player no one has heard of. A scoring point guard who averages 25.1 ppg and 3.7 apg, Lillard is likely a top-20 NBA draft pick. He likes to take 3s (46.8 percent) off ball screens and is adept at reading those screens and attacking, or shooting off the bounce.

2. Matt Roth, Indiana: He is a 3-point specialist in the truest sense. He's attempted 44 shots this season, and 42 are from beyond the arc. Roth was a starter, but now he comes in off the bench. Tom Crean instantly runs plays for his sniper, who has hit a remarkable 59.5 percent from deep. He has a quick release and NBA range.

1. John Jenkins, Vanderbilt: Although Vandy struggled with a tough schedule and without its starting center at the start of the season, Jenkins remains steady from deep (48.2 percent). At 6-foot-4, he has good size for a shooter. He will shoot off the catch, and he also likes to take step-back 3s going left. His balance, size and release are picture-perfect.