KUsports.com will be your online host for Friday’s “Shooting for the Stars” KU basketball 3-point contest
The Journal-World is excited to announce that KUsports.com will be bringing you an exclusive, commercial-free, online broadcast of Friday’s “Shooting for the Stars” 3-point contest put on by the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic.
Beginning at 7 p.m. on cable networks across Kansas, our website will be the only place you can watch the shootout online.
And, in order to pair up well with the TV broadcast, we’re even going to bring you 15 minutes of pregame interviews with event organizer Brian Hanni and three of this year’s competitors — Billy Thomas, Terry Brown and Tyrel Reed.
In case you don’t know by now, the event, which will take the place of this year’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic charity basketball game, will feature 10 of the top 12 3-point shooters in Kansas basketball history.
Since Hanni and crew had to travel all over the country to make this happen, the event was pre-recorded and produced by Midco Sports Network. But none of the competitors know the outcome — other than their own scores — and they’ll be learning their fate along with the rest of us as the event plays out from 7-8 p.m. Friday.
Each competitor will get 25 shots from five spots behind the 3-point line and the five players with the highest scores after Round 1 will advance to the finals, where they’ll get 10 more shots from their self-chosen “money spot.”
The Jayhawk with the highest total after those two rounds will be crowned KU’s 3-point king, at least temporarily.
I caught up with KU coach Bill Self earlier this week to find out his pick in the contest.
And both Benton Smith and I — and maybe a few others — will be sharing our picks on social media in the days and hours leading up to Friday’s main event.
I had the opportunity to cover all but two of these 10 players during their KU careers and can recall plenty of memorable 3-pointers from each of them.
For now, here’s a quick look at the shooters who will be gunning for the title on Friday night, right here on KUsports.com.
• Jeff Boschee (1999-2002)
1st on KU’s career list with 338 3-point makes
As a bald-headed, fearless freshman, Boschee often was the Kansas offense, running the point and gunning from long distance night in and night out. As his career went on, and he linked up with All-Americans Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich, Boschee helped lead KU to the 2002 Final Four and became an even deadlier 3-point specialist with all of those other weapons around him.
• Devonte’ Graham (2015-2018)
2nd on KU’s career list with 296 3-point makes
A key part of some great Kansas teams from the minute he stepped on campus, Graham’s development as a 3-point shooter increased each year — and is still rising today in the NBA — as he knocked in 75 triples as a sophomore, 94 as a junior and 110 during his senior season which ended at the 2018 Final Four. Graham led the Jayhawks in 3-point makes in 2016 and 2017 and teamed with best friend Svi Mykhailiuk to top the 100-make mark in 2018, something just three other Jayhawks have ever accomplished. All five of them are in Friday’s contest.
• Billy Thomas (1995-98)
3rd on KU’s career list with 269 3-point makes
Like Graham and Boschee, Thomas was on some terrifically talented Kansas teams and used that to his advantage, spotting up wherever he wanted and raining 3s on helpless opponents. Thomas’ length and high release were nearly impossible to defend and his unflappable demeanor made him the perfect player to have launching 3-pointers from the outside. Make or miss leading up to his next shot, Thomas’ teammates knew he was never going to hesitate to shoot the next one.
• Svi Mykhailiuk (2015-18)
4th on KU’s career list with 237 3-point makes
KU’s single-season 3-point king, the sharpshooter from Ukraine knocked in 115 triples during his senior season, surpassing Terry Brown’s record of 111 in 1991 that stood for 27 years. One of the best pure shooters to ever come through KU, Mykhailiuk hit dozens of clutch 3-pointers during his four-year Kansas career, none bigger than the ice-water-in-his-veins 3-pointer from the wing that tied the Elite Eight game with Duke and helped propel KU to the 2018 Final Four. The cold glare that Mykhailiuk flashed after draining the game’s biggest shot was legendary. Other than that, it was mostly smiles from this young and talented European star who became a fan favorite.
• Kirk Hinrich (2000-03)
5th on KU’s all-time list with 236 3-point makes
Known for his blazing speed with the ball in his hands, Hinrich dropped in his fair share of 3-pointers during his KU career, some of them from way downtown. After leaving KU in third place on the Jayhawks’ all-time 3-point list, Hinrich went on to enjoy a 13-year NBA career, during which he became the Chicago Bulls’ all-time 3-point leader with 1,049 triples in the Windy City. He might not always be the first name you think of when you think of KU’s all-time great 3-point gunners, but he was always ready to take the big shot if his team needed it. And he often hit it.
• Sherron Collins (2007-10)
6th on KU’s all-time list with 232 3-point makes
There was nothing Sherron Collins couldn’t do during his junior and senior seasons, when he led the Jayhawks in 3-point makes both seasons and was equally as dangerous from the outside as he was putting his head down and driving to the rim. But few players looked as ferocious from 3-point range when they got hot like Collins. In addition to visibly being able to see him get into his zone, Collins’ 3-point assaults were made more majestic by his explosive antics after his biggest makes. He had plenty of those in his career, but few were as big as his 3-pointer from the corner after the big steal in the 2008 national championship game against Memphis.
• Brandon Rush (2005-08)
7th on KU’s all-time list with 205 3-point makes
A couple of years ago, in that alumni game between former KU and Missouri greats, I saw Rush put on an absolutely mind-blowing shooting display that reminded me just how good of a shooter he was. With perfect form, great feet and a simple flick of the wrist, Rush was deadly from the outside during his Kansas career. Not only did Rush lead KU in scoring during each of his three seasons in Lawrence — on three ridiculously balanced teams — but he also led the Jayhawks in 3-point shooting in each of those three seasons, draining 50 3s as a freshman, 75 in Year 2 and 80 during his junior season.
• Terry Brown (1990-91)
8th on KU’s all-time list with 200 3-point makes
Two hundred makes in just two seasons? There’s no telling how high his number would be if “Downtown” Terry Brown had been in Lawrence for three or four seasons like so many of these guys. Or how high the total would be if he played in today’s era when 3-point shooting is running rampant and a huge part of the game. Nonetheless, Brown made his mark in his short time with the Jayhawks. With that funky, over-his-head shooting motion that thousands of young KU fans emulated in their driveways and on the playgrounds, Brown led the Jayhawks with 89 3-pointers in 1989-90 and 111 more in 1990-91, when KU reached the Final Four before losing to Duke in the national championship game.
• Mario Chalmers (2005-08)
10th on KU’s all-time list with 180 3-point makes
Although he hit 179 others, and many of them came in clutch fashion, there is no bigger 3-pointer on this list, nor any bigger shot in Kansas basketball history, than the one Chalmers hit in the waning seconds of the 2008 national championship game against Memphis to send the game to overtime. The funny thing about that shot, which came off of KU’s famed “Chop” play, is that earlier in his career, KU ran the same play in a similar situation and Chalmers passed out of it instead of pulling the trigger. KU coach Bill Self told him then that he should never hesitate again. And he never did. Although Rush led the Jayhawks in 3-point makes during their three seasons at Kansas, Chalmers was right there with him all three years, knocking in 48 3-pointers as a freshman, 59 in Year 2 and 73 during KU’s national title season.
• Tyrel Reed (2008-11)
12th on KU’s all-time list with 176 3-point makes
I always thought — and, really, still do — that Reed had the absolute prettiest 3-point shot when he had time to go through his mechanics before launching a deep jumper. Feet set, body squared to the basket, release at the top of his jump and the perfect follow-through. It looked exactly like they teach it, and it looked that way every single time. That discipline and commitment to his craft was a huge part of why Reed is on this list. Always ready and often reliable, the Burlington, Kan., native knew his role and played it perfectly throughout his KU career. He even led KU in 3-pointers during his senior season, with 72 makes.
Here’s a quick look at the complete list of KU’s all-time 3-point shooters from the 2019-20 KU Media Guide
1 – Jeff Boschee, 338
2 – Devonte’ Graham, 296
3 – Billy Thomas, 269
4 – Svi Mykhailiuk, 237
5 – Kirk Hinrich, 236
6 – Sherron Collins, 232
7 – Brandon Rush, 205
8 – Terry Brown, 200
9 – Frank Mason III, 185 *
10 – Mario Chalmers, 180
11 – Adonis Jordan, 179*
12 – Tyrel Reed, 176
13 – Lagerald Vick, 167
14 – Wayne Selden Jr., 162
15 – Jerod Haase, 156
16 – Kevin Pritchard, 154
Mason and Jordan were both invited to participate in this year’s event, but could not make it. Jordan lives in Australia and was unable to arrange travel plans. And Mason has been busy playing in the NBA’s playoff bubble in Orlando with the Milwaukee Bucks.*