Best of 2003: The Shooters

RALEIGH, N.C. – Someone recently asked, "Who are the five best shooters in the country?" Well, it's difficult to name just five, it's a quite a big country you know. So, we've named some of the ace marksmen and broken it down not just by shooter, but by clutch performer and best big man shooters as well.

Class of 2003 Perimeter Marksmen (alphabetical order)

Blake Ahearn (Southwest Missouri State): Never tries to do too much. He's a shooter, knows it and is always ready to take – and make – the big shots.

Brandon Bell (undecided): The brother of Charlie Bell plays with confidence and poise and he's already made big shots on the AAU circuit.

Colin Falls (Notre Dame): As if his reputation for being a shooter wasn't good enough, Falls went out and added more dimensions to his game this summer.

Stephen Floyd (UT-Arlington): Kind of an unsung guy, but we are having problems forgetting an early morning shooting exhibition he put on at the Kingwood Classic.

Thomas Gardner (undecided): Everyone raves about his athleticism, but man this guy can stroke. He's gotten on big rolls from deep before.

Marcus Hammond (undecided): Unless our eyes deceived us, few kids had it rolling from downtown the way Hammond did at Nike Camp.

Lee Humphrey (Florida): The guy you absolutely have to guard beyond the arc. Polite young man is a major league sniper.

LeBron James (NBA): He's a much better deep shooter than he is free throw shooter. Hey, just because he missed the summer doesn't mean we forgot about the ability.

Spencer Laurie (undecided): W never quite witnessed the exhibition first hand but apparently every time we weren't in the gym he was punishing guys with his stroke.

Adam Morrison (Gonzaga): Great frame and plays with so much intensity. He's going to be a terrific asset to the Zags and we think he's got a super 3-point package.

Honorable Mention: Blake Adams (TCU), Demetric Bennett (undecided), Dan Fitzgerald (undecided), Gary Forbes (undecided), Grant Gibson (undecided), Andre Ingram (undecided), Dru Joyce (Akron), Richard McBride (Illinois), Safwan Mohammed (undecided), Jason Patterson (undecided), Michael Rose (undecided).

Clutch Deep Shooters

This category is reserved for the guys we trust the most. Maybe they aren't the greatest percentage shooters by comparison, but they are the guys who hoist and hit ‘em down the stretch.

Brandon Bell (undecided): Don't think his deep ball to give the Michigan Mustangs a win in Vegas was the first – or last – game-winner of his career.

Oumar Sylla (Valparaiso): He hit a game-winner in front of us in the high school season and followed it up with more clutch sniping in the summer.

Chris Paul (Wake Forest): This list's "Mr. Nice Guy" gets a little more serious when the stakes are raised and its winning time.

Top Shooting Big Men (listed alphabetically)

Mohammed Abukar (Georgia): He announced his presence this spring but showcasing an accurate perimeter game at the Kingwood Classic.

Brian Butch (undecided): Don't let the size surprise you. Leave him alone on the perimeter and he's on his way to a big day.

Ndudi Ebi (undecided): Limited overall touches in big venues were the only reason more people failed to notice his touch. He's always good for a few made jumpers a game.

Charlie Villanueva (undecided): It's scary when a young man with his size and athleticism sits back and starts picking away at zones.

Brandon Wallace (undecided): Loves to make 3s. Wallace doesn't play like Tayshaun Prince but he sure looks like him when the skinny big man accurately fires away from deep.

Honorable Mention: Justin Benson, Nick Fazekas, Chris Low, Matt Malone, Brent Petway, Sean Phaler.

Mr. Mid-Range

Art Bowers (undecided): The man knows how to work free throw line in and on the baselines. He gets lost and then found but it's too late.

Michael Jones (Maryland): He can make 3s as well but he's really solid off the bounce and heats up quickly.

Most Improved Shooters

Trevor Ariza (undecided): When he made 5 3s in one game at Augusta, we still had questions. Then, he continued the pace in Las Vegas. Credit his hard work for the fantastic improvement.

Dwight Brewington (undecided): Really worked on that part of his game and he was turning heads at the AAU Nationals.

Aaron Brooks (undecided): Big time credit for taking a weak part of his game and turning himself into a legitimate threat from deep.

Ryan Lambert (undecided): Fifth year forward surprised us when he consistently stepped out at the Peach Jam and made shots. Used to be just a rebounding machine; not anymore.

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