Monday, February 2, 2009

Carolinas' best pure shooters, college version

Where does Davidson's Stephen Curry rank on our list of college basketball in the Carolinas' best pure shooters ever? Hint: It's not first.


Welcome to the O List, a blog of lists from The Observer -- and, we hope, readers -- of just about anything to do with sports in the Carolinas.

Disagree with us? That's part of the point, because the lists are subjective. Have a suggestion for a list? Post it in the comments.

We'll start with our list of the best pure shooters I've ever seen play basketball in the Carolinas. We're limiting this first O-List to colleges and to our area. Remember, this isn't about who is the best athlete; we'll save Michael Jordan and David Thompson for that list. And we're limiting this one to the last 40 years or so because well, I didn't see many guys before that.

-- Stan Olson

5. Charlie Scott, North Carolina, 1966-70: Scott was streaky and had the added pressure of doing his bit to break the ACC's color barrier in a meaningful way. But when he was hot, he could carry a team. Check out the 1969 ACC Tournament championship game, when he rallied the Tar Heels past Duke by making 12 of his 13 second half shots. He scored 28 points in the period, 40 for the game. Of those 13 shots, one was a layup. The others were from behind a three-point line that didn't exist at the time. Eleven of them swished. The other went in and out. If you saw that game, you still remember.

4. Rodney Monroe, N.C. State, 1988-91: He could score on the drive and off the dribble, but his jump shot was a thing of beauty, pure as the driven snow. And it's that smooth and fluid jumper from the perimeter that I remember him for. He is still the leading three-point shooter (.439 percentage) in ACC history. Monroe and Chris Corchiani made up arguably the best backcourt the league ever had (hey, another list).

3. J.J. Redick, Duke, 2003-06: Maybe you hated -- well, intensely disliked -- this guy, and a lot of folks did. But even they admitted that J.J. could flat fill it up. And he always seemed to start filling when the Blue Devils needed him most. Sure, his teammates set a zillion screens for him, but he still had to make all those shots. And you want pure? Redick is the ACC's all-time leader in free throw percentage at .912. Twice, in 2005 and '06, he was the league's Player of the Year.

2. Stephen Curry, Davidson, 2006-present: Do yourself a favor and go see Curry play before he's finished at Davidson. There are subtleties in his game that don't translate as well on TV as they do when you're in the arena. Watching him shoot is a treat in itself; the operation appears effortless. If ever they decide to remake "The Natural" as a basketball movie, Curry is the logical star. Consider that he has won the Southern Conference Player of the Week award six times this season, and 14 in his career. They should put his name on it and retire it. He leads the nation in scoring at 29.5, but I believe he could average 40 if he wanted to; he's also in the top ten nationally in assists.

1. John Gerdy, Davidson, 1975-79: You had to see him to believe him, and not that many people did. Gerdy was pretty much the only weapon on several of the Wildcats' poorer teams, but wound up the leading scorer in school history against defenses geared to stop him. That was without a three-point line, and long-range jumpers were his specialty.

After a sensational performance against South Carolina, Gamecocks coach Frank McGuire said simply that Gerdy was the best shooter he had ever seen. Gerdy almost personally upset then No.4-ranked Wake Forest by himself. The Deacons won on a last second shot, 70-68. Gerdy had 40 of those 68, on 18-of-24 shooting. Deacons coach Carl Tacy said, "We played a box-and-one on Gerdy. We should have played the box on Gerdy and the one on the rest of those guys."

As far as I'm concerned, he was the best there ever was.

Think someone else belongs on the list, or that we've got guys out of order? State your case in the comments section.

38 comments:

Nosnum said...

As a Davidson fan, I was hoping to see an acknowledgement of Gerdy. Surprised to see him #1, but agree that he was an amazing shooter that few ever saw. I once had him as a shooting counselor at DC basketball camp. He lectured while he shot from the perimeter for about 25 minutes. In all that time I think he may have missed twice, out of 200 shots. The point for a 12 year-old boy was clear: If you're ever going to be great, you are gonna need to dedicate yourself to the hardwork that John Gerdy obviously has. Thank Stan (my list, Steph #1, Gerdy #2!)

Anonymous said...

Al Wood of North Carolina had a great shot.....

stanolson said...

Anon, Wood was a strong contender for this list, as well as a dozen other guys. I remember him dropping 39 on UVA in the NCAAs...

Mike said...

Redick should be number one, this is a list of pure shooters and Redick is far and away the best pure shooter of the bunch. If you wanted best scorers, then your list makes a little more sense. I agree all these players can shoot the lights out though. Redick played against ACC competition and a tough non-conference schedule also, where the Davidson players don't experience that every game (especially Curry). Teams gameplanned around Redick, and it was Coack K's biggest regret in not getting another scorer in recruiting during Redick's years at Duke. I think Curry is a very close second and has the time to pass Redick, but is not the better shooter at this point.

Anonymous said...

Did you even consider Brendan Plavich? He could hit from anywhere on the court. Ask Indiana about him.

Observer Sports said...

Did consider BP. Saw the Syracuse game in which he hit 10 3s. A great case can be made for him, but I couldn't include everybody...

Anonymous said...

Henry Williams should be ahead of Rodney Monroe. Interesting topic. Probably should have done a top 10.

Anonymous said...

I mentioned Gerdy a while back and glad to see him pop up here (granted, Curry going for the record has brought his name back up)...

Others: Wood, Terry Gannon, Johnny Dawkins, Byron Dinkins (used to wear us out at North Meck), and missing a couple of black colllege players, but otherwise a good list...and I never saw Kevin Martin play at Western, but I can imagine his shot was pretty pure back then too...

Wildcat Fan said...

How about Brian Winters and Alex English? Also, Thompson was a pure shooter as well as a great athlete!

Observer Sports said...

Man, I forgot about Terry Gannon, which is interesting since he pops up doing tube commentary from time to time. Henry Williams was another strong contender, and there was a kid way back in the day at Maryland named Brian Magid who could hit from the concession stand but saw limited playing time because he could do little else...
stan

Observer Sports said...

Winters was a great one, saw him a bunch. English was pure inside of 15 feet but didn't really have the distance in college. And Thompson, like Scott, could get on hot streaks...

Anonymous said...

Where's Jobey Thomas? Henry Williams? Brenden Plavich?

Jack said...

What about Brett Blizzard? Those tournament UNCW teams had great shooters and Blizzard was amongst the best in the country.

Anonymous said...

How 'bout "The Alaskan Assassin" (aka Trajon Langdon)? Granted, JJ broke Trajon's record for 3-pointers and shot free throws better. However, leaving Trajon off of the Top 5 is dubious at best.

Oh yeah, and how dare you rate two Davidson guys at the top of the list? Let them play against the guys that Rodney Monroe had to face and I guarantee you that Stephen and John's stats wouldn't look nearly as good...

Observer Sports said...

Uh, as far as their stats not looking nearly as good, both John and Stephen seemed (seem) to play better against better competition...
And I saw all the Charlotte 49ers mentioned often, and all three were close. It's pretty much personal preference. Williams, Thomas and BP will all be on somebody's list...

Wildcat Fan said...

Curry and Gerdy face(d) double teams almost every game. I don't recall Rodney Monroe doing that often. The Monroe who belongs on the list is Earl Monroe (42 years ago in Carolina) who had the best shooting touch of any player who ever played anwhere... forget range. I'm not sure what range has to do with pure shooting anyways.

nosnum said...

Brendan Plavich? That's hilarious. We have a kid on our cul-de-sac who's pretty good too. Brendan Plavich, give me a break !!!!!

Journalist student said...

To think JJ shouldn't be No. 1 on this list is insane. When people think of pure shooters, they think JJ, Kyle Korver, Dell Curry; considering this is limited to NC Colleges/Universities, no question JJ should be No. 1. All the guys on the list are great, but this is another example of UNC bias media in the carolinas. I thought professional journalism was to be as unbias as possible, maybe i was mistaken...

Anonymous said...

Earl Monroe, of Winston-Salem state shoulb be on this list.

Anonymous said...

Hawkeye Whitney of NCSU also had a great shot with no 3 point line....

Anonymous said...

Congrats on Mentioning Brian Magid of Maryland. But from the Carolinas, an equally amazing shooter with little other talents was Brian Winters' teammate Ed Peterson at South Carolina.

More importantly, Gerdy and Curry deserve to be ranked #1 and #2.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the davidson guys are being doubled teamed, but that just means there is another crappy defender on them from a crappy SoCon team. Its like hookin up with 2 fat girls at the same time, nothing to brag about.

I've only been watching CBB since about 1990, so i'd have to go with JJ.

Anonymous said...

I saw Brian Magid play against UVA and Duke in the 80's, and have never seen anyone so willing to shoot from absolutely anywhere, and to make long distance shots. I saw him make 3 25-30 footers inside of 5 minutes against UVA one year. However, he had to shoot from beyond the 3 point line, because he was too slow to get a shot off from inside the line.

Observer Sports said...

Loved the Magid comment. And for the guy yelling "UNC bias," I don't recall either Gerdy or Curry playing for the Tar Heels--must have missed it. Also great to see Ed "Zodiac" Peterson's name be brought up. Another guy who could shoot from the next zip code. Keep em coming!

Wildcat Fan said...

For the SoCon critics ... remind me of how those great ACC shooters did in the NCAA tournaments. Any of them average 31.6 ppg in 5 or more contests ... or did they suddenly lose their touch a bit?

CHillyDoggy said...

Hello Donald Williams! Thanks for that 1993 Championship buddy!

Anonymous said...

nosnum, are you an Indiana or Syracuse fan? Plavich is certainly one of the best shooters of all time. I would also add Henry Williams Randolph Childress, Jobey Thomas, Byron Dinkins and Brett Blizzard for consideration.

Anonymous said...

What does being a SoCon critic and ACC shooters have to do with each other?

and

Did Curry's 31.6 ppg in the tourney get him a championship?

Wildcat Fan said...

Curry has the same number of NCAA Championships as John Gerdy, Charlie Scott, Rodney Monroe, and JJ Redick combined among the Top 5 on the "O List". How do they compare in NCAA Tourney scoring was the question.

All "O List" shooters were ACC or SoCon players thus the reference to SoCon critics and ACC shooters.

What does Magid have to do with Carolinas shooters BTW?

Anonymous said...

Charlie Davis-Wake Forest
Hubert Davis-UNC
Bob Verga-Duke

meckdeck said...

Guys, Phil Ford shot over 50% for his career, as did Jeff Mullins. Gotta be on the list somewhere.

JAT

nosnum said...

Plavich again?! His career average was 10.3 points per game. Curry and Gerdy would have that by the 2nd Media timeout. He was a very good, streaky shooter who had almost zero impact on the overall history of college basketball. Good lord, would you guys stop!

Fritz Smith said...

Earl Monroe (WSSU), Charlie Davis (WF), Brian Magid (Md), Henry Logan (WCU), George Leahman (Campbell)...out of all of these Leahman may have been the best.

Anonymous said...

All of the guys mentioned could shoot, heck they were or are all great shooters.....but I have to go with Earl "The Pearl" Monroe as the best. In 1965 or '66 I saw him score 68 points against Akron University at the old Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem. He missed 2 shots from the field, (all in the 3 point range), but back then only counted 2 points, and he was perfect from the free throw line. If I remeber correctly, he was 24 of 26 from the field, and and 20 of 20 from the line. That man was incredible.

Anonymous said...

#1 David Thompson NCSU the greatest college player to ever take the court 1973 & 74 NCAA player of the year. No question.

Anonymous said...

I like all this back and forth. Truthfully, there are a lot of players who were great, but not all were pure shooters. I remember a kid from N. Surry HS who played for Duke in the 80's an excellent pure shooter, forgot his full name though Kevin ???. But there are lesser known schools who had great shooters like World B. Free! Remember Guilford's Lloyd Free. Any way have fun with this.

Anonymous said...

this list is a joke. where is plavich, jobey thomas, or henry williams?

and curry was outplayed by goldwire last year.

Anonymous said...

Don't know how many posting comments ever saw John Gerdy play, but the variable everyone seems content to overlook is that Gerdy was literally the only player on those Davidson squads '75-'79 able to compete at that high level. Each opposing team's game plan was designed to do one thing, stop Gerdy. And no team could. For four years. That fact and his numbers prove he deserves to be #1 on the list. Frank McGuire was right to call Gerdy the best shooter he had ever seen, college or pro.