Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Best Shooter in ACC History

There's going to be a lot of talk during tonight's game about J.J Redick, and deservedly so. He is now Duke's all time leading scorer, and the NCAA's all time leader in 3 pointers made. He's going to be the ACC's all time leading scorer here very soon. In other words, J.J Redick has been a tremendous college player, and since his best skill by far is his shooting, that has led to a number of people calling him the best shooter in ACC history. Unfortunately, that's not true at all ... and worse, while the game is being played in Atlanta, it will be remarkable if the name of the guy that probably is the best shooter in ACC history is even brought up.

One of the things that makes quantifying great shooters in conference history so hard is the fact that until the introduction of the 3 point line there really is no stat to quantify "shooting" from "getting point blank layups" so a number of guys just don't get the recognition they should, and it's nearly impossible to compare them to current players. That being said, if we only look at players from after the introduction of the 3 point line, there's one who clearly stands out from the rest and that's Dennis Scott. Lets compare Scott's career through his junior season to that of J.J Redick.


Redick was quite an accomplished player right from the moment he stepped on campus, but he wasn't quite in Scott's league. Scott shot a better percentage from both the floor and from 3 and average more points per game, and it immediately becomes apparent that he was a much more well rounded player as well, with a huge lead in rebounding and assists that Redick would never even approach at any point in his career.


3-D actually had a bit of a sophmore slump, but his second season is still better than Redick's in every category. He made more shots and shot a better percentage, rebounded more, distributed better and scored almost 5 points per game more than Redick did. There is no question which player you would rather have had at this point in their careers, or which was one was a better "shooter".


J.J Redick last year was a First Team All-American, and had a tremendous season. Dennis Scott's junior season was simply much better, and that's saying something. Scott hit 137 3's. 137. He was the Sporting New's National Player of the Year and he led GT to the Final Four along with freshman phenom Kenny Anderson as part of "Lethal Weapon 3". Scott was absolutely dominant in 1990, against a very deep and tough ACC that put two teams in the Final Four. Scott again shot more, shot a higher percentage and as he moved to small forward rebounded much more than Redick did as a junior. Redick was a great player as a junior, Scott was one of the best in ACC history.

After his junior season, Dennis Scott was the ACC all-time leader in 3 pointers made with a staggering 351 in only 3 seasons, shot at a ridiculous 42% for his career. He was the #4 overall draft pick in the NBA draft that summer, and did not return to school for his senior season. His ACC record eventually fell to Curtis Staples who played four years at Virginia, and now Scott has moved down to #3 on the list with Redick's acension.

The fact that Scott was good enough to leap to the NBA early shouldn't be held against him in this conversation though, there was not a single same age season where Redick ever made more 3 pointers than Scott did, or shot a higher percentage - and I fail to see why that would have changed if Scott had stayed for the 90-91 season and played alongside Kenny Anderson for a second season. There's a very real chance that if Scott had finished his career at GT, he would have set the NCAA record for made 3's so high that Redick wouldn't even be within 50 by the end of his career.

Scott didn't stop shooting once he made it to the NBA either, as he shot 39.7% from 3 for his career in the NBA, and still holds the NBA record for most 3 point baskets made in one season with 267(!) in the 95-96 season on a ridiculous 42.5% clip. He hit 11 3's in one game against the Hawks that season, a record that would stand for almost 10 years until Kobe Bryant broke it recently. Dennis Scott had one of the purest and most lethal shooting strokes ever, and he never was afraid of showing it off. I have no real ill will against Redick, he's a great player and he's someone I'd love to see in a GT uniform - but he's not better than Dennis Scott, and he's not the greatest shooter in ACC history, no matter what the announcers say tonight. Scott is being slowly relegated to the dustbin of history somehow, but he certainly doesn't deserve to be there. The guy was an awesome, awesome player and one of the very best in ACC history - remember him tonight when Redick is on the court, even if the announcers won't.

(Random sidenote, both Scott and Redick played their high school ball in Virginia. What's in the water there, and can we bottle it?


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