Summer Superlatives Best 3pt Shooters
Next up in our Summer Superlatives series is a look at New England’s top three-point shooters during the month of July. Now, three-point shooting may not sound like an under-appreciated part of the game, but the reality is that the true “shooters” are quickly becoming an endangered species.
There simply aren’t many guys who are automatic when left unchecked around the arc, capable of stopping quick in transition, or running their man off screens.
While shooters themselves are becoming harder and harder to find, one of the big reasons is that players aren’t willing to spend the long hours in the gym required to earn that reputation. Another reason is that three-point shooting isn’t quite as glamorous as handling the ball or playing above the rim.
However, the reality is that three-point shooting is often the key to allowing high level playmakers to perform up to their capability. Well spaced shooters stretch opposing defenders out to their max, consequently widening gaps in the defense, allowing playmakers better opportunities to create off the dribble. The playmaker often gets the credit, but it’s the three-point shooters who made it all possible, and so in that way they are under-appreciated.
So who are New England’s best three-point shooters. These guys all looked the part this summer:
Tyler Nelson, BABC – When you are the leading three-point shooter in the Nike EYBL, it is a pretty good indication that you can make shots. Nelson knocked down 52 threes during the EYBL regular season, while shooting just under 47%, which are both staggering numbers given the level of competition as well as the defense’s emphasis on preventing his open looks.
Ben Judson, New England Playaz – One characteristic of good shooters is their ability to “make shots in bunches.” That’s something that Judson did several times for the New England Playaz this spring and summer as the good sized, southpaw swingman had multiple games with 7+ threes, which was enough to announce his arrival as a strong prospect in the 2015 class.
Lee Messier, Middlesex Magic – The best shooters are the ones who are able to make big shots in big moments. There is no bigger time of year for a college basketball prospect than the month of July, and that’s exactly when Messier was at his best. Combine that with his work at Tilton, and he’s proven his marksmanship in big moments and against top competition.
Jalen Terry, Westchester Hawks – So often in the recruiting process, shooters tend to be judged as much by the way their shot looks, as they are how much it goes in. Well you’re not going to find a smoother release than Jalen Terry’s. It’s a pure looking stroke with beautiful arc and backspin, and fortunately, Terry’s jumper is just as accurate as it is pretty.
Jackson Donahue, Rhode Island Hawks – He’s got the DNA of a pure sniper. He shares that short memory and mental edge that all great shooters possess while having a unique ability to make tough shots with his quick release. When it comes to making shots in bunches, there are few better as he’s capable of getting hot at the flick of a switch.
Winston Morgan, Albany City Rocks – The East Catholic (CT) guard ran with the upstate New York EYBL squad during the spring, and delivered an even better summer when it came to connecting from long-range. He’s got the shot-maker’s swagger, is virtually automatic in rhythm, and also has the ability to make some tough ones by squaring his body on his way up into his release.
Tanner Hyland, Maine Athletic Club – His older brother, Keegan Hyland, was one of the best shooters in New England during his playing days, but Tanner has long since been known as not quite the same level shot-maker. That all changed this spring and summer as he began making shots at a high clip, and truly proved himself as a top long-range threat.
Malcolm Brent, Metro Boston – He’s got good size and deep range in the backcourt and those are two factors that helped him land an early July offer from Ole Miss. That type of leap is virtually unprecedented in the world of recruiting, for a rising senior to get his first D1 offer from a high-major program, but it only goes to show the high demand that shooters are in these days.
Connor Brown, Blackstone Valley Chaos – He was absolutely on fire at Live in the A.C., and connected on a similarly high percentage throughout the month. Word out of the BV Chaos camp was that Brown knocked down over 60% of his looks from long-range during the month of July, which would be an absolutely staggering statistic.
Aaron Falzon, Expressions Elite - The premier face-four in New England's 2015 class, Falzon has elevated his status to that of a pure sniper who also has the ability to make tough shots, both from downtown and inside the lane, with a little fade in his release.
Brendan OShea, Lone Wolf – Good shooters have to be constant threats from behind the arc and O’Shea brought that consistency all summer long. It began with a good showing a Hoop Mountain SWI, continued at the Hoop Mountain All-Academic Camp, and remained a big factor for Lone Wolf throughout both the BasketBull Summer Championships and National Invitational.
Tommy Mobley - Lit it up from long-range for the Newton North Tigers all winter before doing the same for the BABC Sophs throughout the spring/summer. Mobley has a pure stroke and no conscience. If you give him space, and he gets it going, he will put a barrage of 3-balls in the book in a hurry.
Matt Cimino, Mass Rivals & Alec Brennan, Expressions Elite – Skilled big men have gone from a rapidly growing trend in college and professional basketball to an increasingly common norm, and these two prospects stand out as the best New England has to offer in the 2014 class. They’ll both be able to pull opposing shot-blockers away from the basket and open up the lane at the next level.