Booker and His Competition

Booker Woodfox has one more chance to shine in a Bluejay uniform Thursday night as he competes in the College 3-point Shootout sponsored by State Farm in the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit.  KETV did a nice piece on Booker preparing for tonight.   We are all quite aware of the Honorable Mention All-American’s numbers, but what about the players he is going up against Thursday night?  Well, here is a breakdown:

  • Jimmy Baron, Rhode IslandMany may remember Baron from Rhode Island’s visit to the Qwest Center last season in the NIT where they held him to 5-15 from the field and he only scored 3 three pointers in that game.  Baron almost singlehandedly led Rhode Island to an upset victory against Duke at Cameron Indoor shooting 8-10 from three but ran out of gas and never really had a game like that the rest of the season. (BTW, Duke’s winning streak a home against non-conference competition is at 67 games)  Baron shot 45% from three this season with 118 of his 200 field goals coming from 3.  A lot of teams keyed on him and really shut him down at times making him a bit inconsistent as a scorer although he did get in double-figures in all but 3 games this season.  Being the shooter that he is, he has also hovered around 90% from the free throw line in his career as well.
  • Matt Lawrence, MissouriLawrence is a replacement for Notre Dame’s Kyle McAlarney who was originally named to the competition.  Lawrence finished 2nd all-time in Missouri history in three pointers made (244).  He did have some key three-pointers in the NCAA Tourney games this season helping get Missouri to the Elite 8, and over the last three seasons has made up the largest percentage of points for Missouri from three point range.  Lawrence will also be part of the Hershey’s All-Star game being played at Ford Field as part of the Final Four festivities this weekend as well.
  • Craig Moore, NorthwesternMoore made 110 three pointers this season and shot 40.6% from three for Northwestern.  110 of his 142 made baskets were three pointers as well and played over 35 minutes a game.  His best night was a 9-13 from 3 performance against Brown early in the season.
  • Erik Kangas, Oakland–Kangas put up 323 three-point attempts for Oakland of the Summit League.  Kangas went through a 3-game stretch in conference play where he was 23-37 from three-point range in wins against IPUPI, IPFW and Western Illinois.  He scored a quarter of all the points Oakland scored this season and the 3rd most 3-pointers made in the nation.
  • Alex Ruoff, West VirginiaRuoff is sort of one of those that is a bit of a surprise being in this contest with a percentage of only 37.3% from three, though he did score over 50% of the teams points from three this season.  He is the West Virginia career three-point record holder breaking Kevin Pittsnogle’s record and Jays fans know who he is.  He had 4 games where he made more than 6 three-pointers, but the rest he either made 4 or less including 19 games where he made 2 or less.  Of course, he would be the one the probably surprises everyone and will win this.
  • Jack McClinton, MiamiMcClinton was sort of Miami’s go to guy for the Hurricanes this season.  He was the team’s leading scorer, minutes played, and basically leading the team in assists.  He was 101-223 from three and had his best shooting day from three (7-12) against North Carolina.  He averaged about 3 to 4 three-point makes per game this season.
  • John Grotberg, GrinnellThe inclusion of the player from Division III Grinnell, a private college in the middle of Iowa, is a bit intriguing.  For those that may not know, Grinnell is a school that likes to full court press all the game, switch out a full rotation of players every few minutes and their goal is to get a shot off within the first 10 seconds of the shot clock to try and outscore their opponents.  That includes taking a lot of threes.  Grotberg was not shy from three as he is the nation’s all-time leader with 526 three-pointers in his career.  That is a lot of makes, but he also put up 1,526 3-pointers over that career as well with a lifetime 34.3% from three.  But with as many as he has shot in his career and the big stage, it will be interesting how he performs.

So good luck to Booker tonight.  It will be on ESPN around 8PM after the NIT championship game.  I can’t remember if they go from 8 to 4 to 2 for the finals or if it is like 8 and then down to 3.  Anyway, I see Booker, Grotsberg and Baron getting to the end.    Then the winner of the competition will take on the Women’s winner later in the night.  Then afterwards is the Slam-Dunk contest.  So an interesting night of basketball if you don’t have anything else to do.

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