The 15 Greatest Three-Point Shooters in NCAA Tournament History
The 15 Best Three-Point Shooters in NCAA Tournament History
A three-pointer is worth more than a two-pointer, which by ways of science and math makes the three-point shot pretty important for teams trying to score more points than the other team. For some of the greatest three-point shooters in tournament history, it was math that helped them learn that three was more than two, and if you could shoot the three well, you would score a lot more points. So stay in school kids, because math is important.
Also, if you stay in school, like for four years, you’re more likely to have higher career numbers. Some of these guys on this list were stellar for their whole career, racking up huge numbers in the tournament, but some of these guys had just one amazing tournament from behind the arc.
There were historical individual three-point shots, like Michigan’s Trey Burke’s shot against Kansas last year, Bryce Drew’s game-winner in 1998 to lead Valparaiso over Ole Miss and Kansas’ Mario Chalmers launching his shot over Memphis’ Derrick Rose to send the game to overtime in 2008. Those were some of the best three-point shots in the history of the game, by some of the best clutch scorers, but they were not the best three-point shooters in history.
There were guys like Indiana’s Steve Alford and Notre Dame’s Austin Carr. If they had the three-point line for more of their college careers, they would likely be on this list too.
It should be noted, that in order to be on this list you had to play on a college basketball team that went to the NCAA tournament, and likely played more than one game. That’s just science kids, because you have to have a large sample size for your statistics to be meaningful.
To recap, if you stay in school you learn science and math. Then, you learn that science and math help you become a better scorer. If you shoot more three-pointers, and make them, you score more points. Finally, if you stay in school you play more games and shoot more baskets.
In conclusion, if you stay in school you score more points.
Jason Williams was a great leader for Duke, and sits at No. 5 on the list for most three-pointers in a single tournament. He also holds the record for most three-point attempts in a single tournament. It’s safe to say that J-Will had the green light in 2001.
Among the leaders in all-time three-pointers in the NCAA tournament, Scotty Thurman also helped Arkansas get to back-to-back championship games. In the 1994 championship, he hit a game-clinching three with 53 seconds remaining.
Luther Head and Illinois’ championship run in 2005 put him at sixth on the list for most three-pointers in a single tournament, and third in attempts. Illinois lost to North Carolina in the championship game.
UNLV’s Freddie Banks hit 26 three-pointers in 1987 through five games, putting him at No. 2 on the all-time list for three-pointers made in a single tournament. It helped that he drilled 10 threes in one game against Indiana.
Donald Williams is seventh on the all-time list for most career three-pointers made in the tournament. He won a championship with North Carolina in 1993, while also winning an outstanding player award for the Final Four, largely due to his clutch threes.
While being eighth on the all-time list for career three-pointers, Maryland’s Juan Dixon had a stellar run to the 2002 National Championship, where he won ACC Athlete of the Year, the most outstanding player award for the Final Four, the Senior CLASS Award, the Chip Hilton Award and was a consensus first-team All-American. He was a strong scorer all around, but simply deadly from long range.
Known as one of the best pure shooters in college basketball, he led Kentucky to a national championship in 1996, racked up numerous awards and landed himself at fourth on the all-time career three-point shooter list for the tournament.
Texas’ A.J. Abrams is third on the all-time career three-pointers list for the tournament. He was largely known for his three-point shot, and made it to third on this list through only 12 games in the tournament. In the top eight of all-time three-point shooters in the tournament, A.J. Abrams played in the second fewest games.
Georgia Tech’s Dennis Scott was not only one of the best three-point shooters in college history -- third on the list for most threes in a single tournament -- but he was also one of the best in the NBA. After winning ACC Player of the Year in 1990, Scott took Georgia Tech deep into the tournament with the help of his deadly range.
A player everyone wanted to hate in college, is now becoming a key asset for the contending Los Angeles Clippers, at least wining over this west-coast transplant. For Duke, he is fifth on the all-time list for most careers threes in the tournament, racked up from 2003-06. He won every award possible from 2005-06, and he is second on the all-time list for most total career three-pointers, just toppled from first place by Oakland’s Travis Bader.
Davidson’s Stephen Curry had one of the most impressive tournament runs in 2008, leading his underdog team to the Elite 8 with multiple 30-point games, clutch late-game shots and pure-shooting from beyond the arc. Over the course of four games, he became tied for fourth for the most threes made in a single tournament.
Loyola Marymount’s Jeff Fryer is one of the unique shooters who found himself on the top of the list for most three-pointers in a single tournament, and for his tournament career. The most impressive part is that he did it through only seven games, which is about half as many as the other players on the career list.
Second on the all-time career three-pointers list for the NCAA tournament, Duke’s Bobby Hurley is arguably one of the best college basketball players of all time. He played in 20 tournament games from 1990-93, and made 42 three-pointers. More importantly, Hurley led Duke to back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992.
I swear I’m not being a homer on this pick, because Michigan’s Glen Rice is No. 1 on the list for most three-pointers made in a single tournament. He made 27 threes total on his way to leading Michigan to a national championship in 1989. He had a great NBA career winning a championship in 2000, and, of course, grabbing a three-point shootout championship in 1995.
Lee Humphrey is not only at the top of the list for most career three-pointers in the tournament, he holds the record by five with a total of 47. He’s also tied for fourth for most threes in a single tournament. He was instrumental in leading Florida to back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007. He had the most career threes, and two championships, which makes him a clear No. 1 on this list as far as I’m concerned.