THE GREATEST SHOOTERS STATE BY STATE
As I travel the country planting the seed of shooting, I often think “Who is the best shooter from this state?”
Recently I had some time to research the best shooters from all 50 States and DC. With the help of my friends: Scott Hamby, Matt Williamson and Herb Welling, we bring you: Shooting Across America-The Greatest Shooters State by State.
Please note that we focused on states that the players attended high school at and not where they were born.
THE LIST STATE BY STATE
ALABAMA: Chuck Person
Runner up: Robert Horry
Very close here but I have to go with the Rifleman. Horry is one of the clutchest shooters of all time but Person attempted more shots each year.
ALASKA: Mario Chalmers
Easy pick. Always remembered for hitting the big shot in NCAA Finals for Kansas. Still shoots well for the Heat.
ARKANSAS: Joe Johnson
Excellent shooter in a state not really known for shooting.
ARIZONA: Mike Bibby
Runner up: Sean Elliott
A close call here between former Wildcats. Give Bibby a slight nod.
CALIFORNIA: Reggie Miller
Runner ups: Steve Kerr, Tracy Murray, Jason Kapono, Kiki Vandewege, Byron Scott
Great contest here but have to go with Miller over Kerr. Ask Spike Lee who was the greatest shooter ever. People forget how great of shooters Tracy Murray, Kapono and Kiki were (all Bruins). Byron was a great shooter for my Lakers as well. Awesome state for shooting.
COLORADO: Chauncey Billups
Runner up: Scott Wedman
Wedman could shoot, but Billups is named MR BIG SHOT. Enough said.
CONTECTICUT: Calvin Murphy
Runner up: Sue Bird
Sue Bird is one of the greatest women shooters in WNBA history. Murphy, however, is probably the best NBA player under six foot in history.
DELWARE: AJ English
Not much to pick from here from USA’s first state. English was a standout at Virgina Union that played five seasons in the NBA.
DC: Kevin Durant
Runner up: Austin Carr
VERY CLOSE! Durant will go down as one of the greatest scorers and shooters of all time. Carr is considered one of the best shooters from the 60’s & 70’s.
FLORIDA: Mitch Richmond
Runner up: Eddie Jones
Richmond was a great shooter that lasted 14 years in the NBA. Eddie Jones was a very good shooter, but not quite in Richmond’s category.
GEORGIA: Dale Ellis
Runner up: Maya Moore
Ellis played 17 years in the NBA and shot 40% from the arc. Dale Ellis was a shooter!
HAWAII: Alika Smith
Smith played four years at University of Hawaii in the 90’s. The Aloha state doesn’t have many options here.
IDAHO: Luke Ridanour
Ridanour could shoot it and has no competition here at all.
IOWA: Kyle Korver
Runner ups: Fred Hoiberg, Doug McDermott
This is very close between Korver and Hoiberg. Korver gets the nudge just because he has had a longer NBA career. Both are excellent shooters. McDermott, a current All-American at Creighton, may be the best shooter in the long run. Check back in five years.
ILLINOIS: TIE Jeff Hornacek & Craig Hodges
Runner ups: Michael Finley, Hersey Hawkins
How can you wrong with Hornacek or Hodges? People forget that Hodges is a 3 time NBA 3-Point Shootout Champion. Hornacek played 14 seasons and is considered a great shooter.
INDIANA: Larry Bird
Runner ups: Steve Alford, Rick Mount
I know there are Mount fans (Purdue) and Alford fans (Indiana) out there. But come on-Indiana IS Larry Bird. The pride of French Lick, Bird is one of the greatest shooters ever. If there was a Mount Rushmore of shooting, Bird would be on it (with Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin and Ray Allen)
KENTUCKY: Alan Houston
Runner up: Rex Chapman
Alan Houston was first and foremost a shooter. Twelve year NBA player who shot 40 from the three and 86% from the charity stripe. Chapman was a very good shooter, but not in Alan Houston’s class.
KANSAS: Steve Henson
Played nine years in the NBA, Henson was a very good shooter who shot 90% from the free throw line while at Kansas State.
LOUISIANA: Joe Dumars
Runner up: Danny Granger
Dumars, an NBA Hall of Famer, was a terrific shooter and player for Detroit’s “Bad Boys.” Granger, when healthy, is always high on the list for most three pointers attempted per season.
MISSISSIPPI: Isaiah Canaan
Runner up: Monta Ellis
Mississippi is more known for athletes but both Ellis and Canaan can shoot the ball. Monta is considered a top notch scorer and a streaky shooter. Canaan, an NBA rookie with the Rockets, gets the nod because of consistency. At Murray State he shot 41% from the three point line and was considered one of the top shooters in the game.
MONTANA: Wayne Estes
Former great Utah State player who would have played in the NBA. Died after playing his last home game by being electrocuted after stopping to help a stranded motorist.
MASSACHUSETTS: Dana Barros
Runner up: Bill Laimbeer
Disappointed that more shooters don’t come out of the Bay State. Barros shot 41% from the three point line in 15 NBA seasons. Laimbeer is one of the best “bigs” to ever shoot the ball.
MARYLAND: Carmelo Anthony
Runner ups: Reggie Williams, Sam Cassell, Rudy Gay
Known as a great scorer, Carmelo can shoot it. No doubt! Williams, Cassell and Gay are quality shooters but don’t compare to Melo.
MINNESOTA: Tyrus Jones
Minnesota is not known for shooters or guards, but instead big guys. Believe it or not we are going here with a current high school player. Jones is the #3 ranked high school player in the country and a very good shooter.
MICHIGAN: Glen Rice
Runner ups: Dan Majerle, Steve Smith
Rice is one of the greatest shooters ever. Played 14 seasons in the NBA and shot 40% from the 3 point line. Marjerle and Smith are great shooters, but they can’t compare to Rice.
MISSOURI: Bill Bradley
The Senator was a shooter. A Basketball Hall of Famer that played his entire NBA career for the Knicks. “The Show Me State” produced one of the greatest shooters ever.
MAINE: Ralph Mims
Not much to pick from in the Pine Tree State. Mims was a quality shooter that played at Florida State and broke the Seminole’s record for most consecutive free throws (31).
NEBRASKA: Ron Boone
A state known for corn and football just doesn’t produce great shooters. Boone is an easy selection. Played 14 seasons in the ABA and NBA and shot 84% from the line and 46% from the field.
NEVADA: Freddie Banks
Sharpshooter that played for UNLV in the late 80’s. Made 10 three pointers in NCAA Final four Game vs Indiana. Banks could shoot it!
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Matt Bonner
A very easy selection. The “Red Rocket” is one of the best percentage long range shooters in the NBA.
NEW MEXICO: Matt Othick
Quality shooter that played for University of Arizona in the 80’s. Land of Enchantment isn’t so enchanting when it comes to shooters. .
NEW YORK: Chris Mullin
Runner ups: Kenny Smith, Jimmer Fredette
Great matchup from the Empire State. Mullin is in the Hall of Fame simply because he was such a dominant shooter. Smith and Fredette are both premiere shooters, but can’t beat the pasty white kid from Brooklyn.
NEW JERSEY: Rick Barry
Runner ups: Kelly Tripuca, JR Smith
Rick Barry is the most underrated player in basketball history. He is the only player to lead college basketball, the NBA and ABA in scoring and he could shoot it too. Tripuca and Smith are both excellent shooters, but this is an easy state to call.
NORTH CAROLINA: Stephen Curry
Runner ups: Michael Jordan, Bob McAdoo
Remember I said best shooter and not player. Curry just broke the all-time record for three pointers in a NBA season. He has a chance to be the greatest shooter ever. Jordan is Jordan, but Curry squeaks by in shooting. McAdoo gets the bronze here, but was an outstanding shooter and scorer that is in the Hall of Fame.
NORTH DAKOTA: Phil Jackson
Couldn’t find a great shooter from the Peace Garden State. Went with the Zen Master, a 12 year NBA vet who shot 45% from the field.
OHIO: Michael Redd
Runner ups: John Havlicek, John Diebler
Old-time Celtic fans will scoff at picking Redd over Havlicek. Redd, when healthy, was one of the best shooters in the NBA. He played on the 2008 Olympic Team simply because he could shoot it. Havlicek was a better player, Redd is a better shooter. Diebler, a former Ohio State standout, can shoot it as well.
OKLAHOMA: Mark Price
Runner up: John Starks, Brent Price
Mark Price could shoot it. Played 12 NBA seasons and shot 90% from the line and 40% from the three. Brother Brent was a quality shooter as well. Starks was definitely a great marksman for the Knicks.
OREGON: Danny Ainge
Runner up: Kevin Love
The Beaver State is all about Danny Ainge. Love is a quality shooter (he won an NBA 3 Point Shootout), but Ainge was a great shooter.
PENNSYLVANIA: Kobe Bryant
Runner up: Jameer Nelson
The Black Mamba is simply the best shooter to come out of the Keystone State. Disappointed that when doing research, I discovered there were not better shooters in Pennsylvania. Nelson is a good shooter but not close to Kobe.
RHODE ISLAND: Ernie DiGregrorio
If you are a basketball junkie from the 70’s you remember this pint-size point guard from Providence. He could handle the ball, but was a very good shooter as well.
SOUTH CAROLINA: TIE: Pete Maravich & Ray Allen
The best competition of all 50 states!!! How can you really choose? You simply can’t. Allen is the all-time leader in NBA 3 pointers made in a career and Pete Maravich is the all-time college scorer. WOW!!!
SOUTH DAKOTA: Mike Miller
Runner up: Jon Sunvold, Eric Piatkowski
Three quality shooters to choose from the Mount Rushmore State. Miller gets a slight nod over Sunvold and Piatkowski. Three quality shooters from a smaller state in overall population.
TENNESSEE: John Jenkins
Runner up: Bingo Smith, Lee Humphrey
Not big time name players, but these guys can shoot it. Jenkins plays for the Atlanta Hawks and is the greatest shooter to come out of Vanderbilt. Bingo Smith played many years for the Cavaliers and Humphrey was the sharp shooter that helped Florida win two national titles.
TEXAS: Rashard Lewis
Runner up: Mookie Blaylock, Craig Ehlo, Deron Williams
Very tough call. Deron Williams will probably win this in the future. Blaylock and Ehlo were both great longtime shooters in the NBA as well. Lewis made 100 three pointers for 9 seasons and made 200 threes in back to back seasons. His longevity gets the nod over Williams.
UTAH: Dranny Vranes
A seven year NBA player and standout at University of Utah, Vranes was a good NBA role player with a good shot. Surprised that Utah doesn’t produce better shooters.
VERMONT: Keith Cieplicki
Played at William and Mary and was the last cut of the Los Angeles Lakers.
VIRGINIA: TIE Dennis Scott & Del Curry
Runner up: JJ Redick, Tim Legler
Virginia and California may produce the best shooters. Le’ts face it-THESE GUYS ROCK! Scott and Curry’s numbers are too close to call. Both are exceptional and deadly shooters.
WASHINGTON: John Stockton
Runner up: Jason Terry
Closer than you would think. Stockton is a great shooter, but Terry (one of the smallest shooting guards in modern basketball) can fill up the nets as well. Good competition in this state.
WEST VIRGINIA: Jerry West
Runner Up: OJ Mayo, Jason Williams
How can you not choose “The Logo?” Zeke from Cabin Creek could shoot it!!! OJ Mayo and Williams are both good shooters but this is an easy one.
WISCONSIN: “Downtown” Freddy Brown
Runner Up: Steve Novak, Terry Porter, Tony Bennett
Let’s face it–if your nickname is Downtown because your range is that far away, you win the award. Surprisingly good shooters have come from Cheeseland. Novak, Porter and Bennett can definitely twinkle the twines.
WYOMING: Kenny Sailors
Sailors is the originator of the one handed jump shot and for his efforts we give him the nod in Wyoming. He guided Wyoming to the 1943 NCAA title and would play five seasons professionally after that.
If you come across a name I have left off the list, please let me know. Assembling the greatest shooters state by state is a large task and I guarantee I forgot a player here and there.