Kentucky Basketball: Ranking the Wildcats 13 Best Outside Shooters Ever

Dan Bodner@KYHoopsBuzzCorrespondent IJune 20, 2011

Kentucky Basketball: Ranking the Wildcats 13 Best Outside Shooters Ever

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    ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 12:  Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the semifinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome on March 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Kentucky fans witnessed some of the best perimeter shooting in school history last season, as it propelled the team all the way to the Final Four.

    The team's most impressive outside shooter was easily freshman Doron Lamb, as he flirted with an average of almost 50 percent from beyond the arc all season long.

    Lamb is only the latest in the line of great perimeter shooters in Kentucky's long and storied history.

    Today we set out to rank Doron Lamb among the best outside shooters in Wildcat history, concentrating specifically on those players who played after the three-point line was introduced to college basketball on a full-time basis in 1986.

13. Walter McCarty

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    3 Dec 1994:  Forward Walter McCarty of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during a game against the UCLA Bruins.  UCLA won the game, 82-81. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Walter McCarty made his mark at Kentucky for not only being one of its best outside shooters, but doing so while measuring in at 6'10", 245 lbs.

    McCarty played three years at Kentucky and helped lead the team to a national championship in 1996.

    Although his biggest three-point shot was likely the one that capped Kentucky's 31-point comeback over LSU, the largest second-half rally in NCAA history, McCarty enjoyed plenty of other highlights from beyond the arc during his career at Kentucky.

    He took only 187 three-pointers during his three-year career, but he converted 40.11 percent of them, which lands him fourth on Kentucky's all-time list for three-point percentage. 

12. Patrick Sparks

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    LEXINGTON, KY - MARCH 05: Patrick Sparks #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats makes a jump shot against the Florida Gators on March 5, 2005 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. The Gators won 79-64 .  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Some players' careers are defined by individual moments. In the case of Patrick Sparks, his career was defined by two—both of them the result of three-point attempts.

    The first was the foul he drew from beyond the arc with 0.6 seconds remaining in regulation to sink the Louisville Cardinals in Freedom Hall.

    The second was the miraculous three-point attempt against Michigan State in the Elite Eight that danced around the rim before falling in and sending the game into overtime.

    Yet, these moments were not flukes or aberrations. In his two-year career at Kentucky, Sparks quickly became the go-to-guy when the team needed a three-point bucket.

    In just 69 games, he hit a total of 151 three-pointers, good for No. 14 on Kentucky's all-time list.

11. Jeff Sheppard

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    28 Mar 1998:  Jeff Sheppard #15 of the Kentucky Wildcats moves the ball down the court during an NCAA Final Four semi final game against the Stanford Cardinals at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Kentucky defeated  Stanford 86-85.  Mandatory Credit: T
    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    Jeff Sheppard left Kentucky with the rare distinction of having played on not one, but two national championship teams—one with Rick Pitino in 1996 and one with Tubby Smith in 1998.

    The 6'4" guard from Georgia did not log a ton of minutes until his senior season, but he always managed to prove himself as a consistent outside shooter.

    When all was said and done, Sheppard hit a total of 128 three-pointers in his four-year playing career, including countless big shots during the course of the 1998 championship season. He now stands as No. 10 on Kentucky's career three-point percentage list at 38.79 percent.

10. Jodie Meeks

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    LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 21:  Jodie Meeks #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball during the SEC game against the Auburn Tigers at Rupp Arena on January 21, 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Jodie Meeks will go down as one of the most prolific scorers in Kentucky history. In fact, only Dan Issel can claim a better single-season scoring performance than Meeks' final year at Kentucky.

    In 2008, he had the second-highest scoring season in Kentucky history, while hitting a single-season record 117 three-point field goals.

    Forced to play on several underachieving teams, Meeks took a lot of three-pointers—and made a lot. He hit 177 threes in just 81 games, good for No. 8 on Kentucky's career list. And despite the added defensive attention he received, he still shot 38.79 percent from beyond the arc.

9. Anthony Epps

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    29 Mar 1997:  Guard Anthony Epps of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball during an NCAA Final Four game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kentucky won the game 78 - 69. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr  /Allsport
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Anthony Epps made his name as a sharp-shooting cog on Kentucky's 1996 national championship team.

    The 6'2" guard from Marion County was a Kentucky fan-favorite, and made his mark with an especially huge three against Syracuse in the national championship.

    Epps finished his four-year career at Kentucky with a total of 155 three-point field goals and a 39.64 three-point percentage, ranking him No. 9 among Kentucky's career leaders.

8. Gerald Fitch

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    ATLANTA - MARCH 14:  Gerald Fitch #4 of the University of Kentucky Wildcats shoots a free throw against the University of Florida Gators during the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship game at the Georgia Dome on March 14, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Gerald Fitch was able to crack Kentucky's starting lineup in just his freshman year and quickly became one of the most consistent shooters in team history.

    He transformed into a star by his junior year and led the team to records of 32-4 and 27-5 in his junior and senior seasons, respectively.

    Fitch hoisted up a total of 502 three-point shots over the course of his career and connected on 199 of them, placing him fourth on Kentucky's all-time list.

7. Derek Anderson

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    3 Dec 1996:  Guard Derek Anderson of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball during a game of the Great 8 Tournament against the Purdue Boilermakers at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  Kentucky won the game, 101-87. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Despite playing only two years at Kentucky due to a transfer from Ohio State, Derek Anderson quickly became one of the most beloved players in the program's history.

    He helped lead the Wildcats to the 1996 national championship and, despite missing a significant portion of his senior season due to an ACL injury, earned his stripes as one of the team's best shooters in recent history.

    Anderson connected on 61 of his 153 three-point field goals for a career percentage of 39.87, good for No. 6 on Kentucky's all-time list.

6. Doron Lamb

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    LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 28:  Doron Lamb #20 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball during the game against the Coppin State Eagles at Rupp Arena on December 28, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  Kentucky won 91-61.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    In only his first year at Kentucky, Doron Lamb put on one of the best three-point shooting displays in team history, despite being primarily used as a sixth man.

    His 49.69 three-point percentage represents the third-best single-season mark in team history, behind only Cameron Mills and Travis Ford.

    He also currently holds the highest career percentage in team history, but only time will tell if he is able to maintain that pace going into next season.

    If he can continue to display the sweet stroke he showcased in his first season at Kentucky, he could easily rise to the top of the list of Kentucky's best outside shooters.

5. Louie Dampier

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    With 1,575 career points, Louie Dampier is currently No. 12 on Kentucky's all-time scoring list. He would likely be higher, but he had two things working against him. First, he only played three seasons at Kentucky because freshmen were ineligible to play at the time, and second, there was no three-point line at the time he played.

    Despite the non-existence of the three-point shot during his time, Dampier still has to be on this list because of his shooting excellence.

    He managed to stretch defenses with his ability to knock down shots from outside, and still managed to maintain a 50.75 field goal percentage over the course of his career.

    Ask any fan who was fortunate enough to see him play in person, and they will confidently tell you that Dampier would be among Kentucky's three-point leaders if he had been blessed with the opportunity.

4. Tony Delk

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Tony Delk currently stands as one of the greatest scorers in Kentucky history, ranked No. 5 on the career points list.

    Much of his scoring came as a result of his three-point shooting. Delk excelled from beyond the arc and possessed the kind of confidence that resulted in the second-most three-point field goal attempts in team history.

    Fortunately, Delk was able to back up this confidence, sinking 283 of his three-point attempts, which makes him Kentucky's all-time leader in three-point buckets. 

3. Rex Chapman

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    A highly-touted recruit out of Owensboro, Kentucky, Rex Chapman elected to stay in-state and attend the University of Kentucky, where he was named first team All-SEC twice before leaving for the NBA after his sophomore season.

    Chapman hit 134 three-pointers in just 61 games and did so at an impressive rate of 40 percent, which puts him at fifth on Kentucky's all-time list.

    Had he stayed all four years, he likely would have had the first or second-most three-point field goals in Kentucky history.

2. Cameron Mills

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    29 Mar 1997:   Guard Cameron Mills of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball during a NCAA Final Four game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Kentucky won the game 78 - 69. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr  /Allspor
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Cameron Mills represents one of Kentucky's greatest rags-to-riches stories after transforming from a walk-on to a star player in his four years with the team.

    Despite playing only 48 minutes in his first two seasons, Mills became a key piece of a team that made two consecutive national championship games and eventually won it all in 1998.

    He was known primarily as an outside shooter and excelled at his niche, knocking down a key three-pointer whenever it seemed that his team needed it most.

    Mills currently holds Kentucky's second-highest career three-point percentage (47.37), just behind Doron Lamb.

1. Travis Ford

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    12 Feb 1994:  Travis Ford of the Kentucky Wildcats moves the ball during a game against the Syracuse Orangemen.  Syracuse won the game, 93-85. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Travis Ford takes the crown as the best outside shooter in Kentucky history.

    Despite a shortened tenure due to a transfer from Missouri, the Madisonville, Kentucky native became a star All-SEC player in his junior and senior seasons.

    Ford made 190 three-point field goals in just 100 games, placing him at sixth on Kentucky's all-time list.

    Furthermore, his career three-point percentage of 44.5 puts him at third among Kentucky's career leaders and he is the only player with more than 150 attempts who has an average higher than 40 percent.

    No player in Kentucky history was more accurate and prolific from beyond the arc than Ford, and that is why he tops the list of the school's best outside shooters.