College Basketball: 5 Players Who Love to Shoot from Deep

Ethan BackCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2011

College Basketball: 5 Players Who Love to Shoot from Deep

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    The three-pointer was implemented by the NCAA in 1986, and since then, it has played a large role in the sport. Often seen as the great equalizer, the three-point line allows mid-major teams to vie for upsets against bigger and more athletic opponents, and it has added an element of excitement to the game.

    Nowadays, players are shooting three-pointers more than they ever have before. Of the 345 Division I teams, 125 attempt at least 20 three-pointers per game, a number that would be unfathomable about a decade ago.

    The three-pointer is a huge part of a team's strategy, and schools often find sharpshooters to light it up from beyond the arc. These five players love to shoot threes, so don't be surprised if you see them on SportsCenter hitting a game-winner from deep.

Ryne Smith (Purdue)

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    Ryne Smith, a senior at Purdue, is a one-trick pony. This season, he has attempted 85 three-pointers, connecting on 39, compared to only 12 two-pointers. At this pace, he will comfortably shoot more two-pointers this season than he did last season, when he took only 16 two-pointers compared to 127 three-pointers.

    As the numbers demonstrate, Smith loves to shoot the three. Even though opponents know this, he is very difficult to stop, and he only needs a few inches of breathing room to get his shot off.

    Smith has done a nice job thus far in his expanded role for the Boilermakers, and his shooting will undoubtedly play a large role in Purdue's success come March.

Brady Heslip (Baylor)

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    Brady Heslip is a sophomore in his first year with the Baylor Bears, and he has fit in nicely with the very talented roster. He is the team's three-point specialist, and with athletes like Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy, Pierre Jackson and Quincy Miller, his job becomes a lot easier.

    Heslip has attempted 76 three-pointers this season, compared to just 13 shots from inside the arc, and averages 3.1 made three-point field goals per game.

    Given the talent and depth on Baylor's roster, Heslip has a legitimate chance of shooting more than 50 percent from three-point land this season.

Drew Ferry (Cornell)

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    Some players truly live and die by the three, and Drew Ferry is a perfect example. Thus far this season, he has had success, connecting on multiple three-pointers in all 10 of Cornell's contests.

    Ferry, a 6'4" senior, will be able to use his height to his advantage in the Ivy League, shooting over smaller opposing guards. He loves the three-point shot, as made evident by the fact that he has attempted 89 three-pointers and just 19 two-pointers.

    Accuracy hasn't been a problem for Ferry this season, as he is shooting 44.9 percent from beyond the arc, but one must wonder if he can keep shooting at such a high rate given the volume of shots he attempts.

John Jenkins (Vanderbilt)

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    Offensively, John Jenkins very well might be the most NBA-ready player in the NCAA ranks this season. Vanderbilt's star junior is not limited to shooting strictly three-pointers, but it is definitely a large part of his game.

    Jenkins has connected on seven three-pointers on two occasions already this season and averages nearly four made threes per game for the Commodores. He can keep his team in games single-handedly, and he is one of the most feared players in the star-studded SEC.

    While Vanderbilt has failed to reach the lofty preseason expectations given by the media, Jenkins will be able to lead his team to a deep run in March. He and talented teammates Jeffery Taylor, Brad Tinsley and Festus Ezili will help the Commodores make some noise as the season progresses.

Kevin Foster (Santa Clara)

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    If you could find a college basketball player who loves to shoot three-pointers as much as Kevin Foster does, I would be more than shocked. The Santa Clara junior shooting guard attempts 10.2 three-point field goals per game, and he has no conscience whatsoever.

    Foster shoots a modest 35.7 percent from three-point land, but that number is mainly due to the amount of threes he shoots. He has attempted at least six three-pointers in every game this season, and to him, the next one is always going in.

    While Foster misses a lot of three-pointers, he would probably agree with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, who famously said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take" (via goodreads.com).