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Sunday, November 13, 2005
Borrowing An Idea
As you might have noticed, Sports Illustrated.com's basketball preview includes a fun profile of certain "prototypes" of college basketball. The series of articles highlight schools that repeatedly produce players with similar characteristics, and who continue to do so today. Articles include The Hated Dukie (Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, J.J. Redick, etc), The Arizona Point Guard (Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby, Gilbert Arenas, Mustafa Shakur, etc) and The Michigan State Athlete (Magic Johnson, Jason Richardson, Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager, etc), among others. Lacking any creativity of my own, I decided to produce my own Iowa-based spin-off. And so I introduce to you.....

The Western Iowa Marksman

Player College Years High School
Fred Hoiberg Iowa State 1991-1995 Ames
Kirk Hinrich Kansas 1999-2003 Sioux City West
Kyle Korver Creighton 1999-2003 Pella
Ben Jacobson Northern Iowa 2002-2006 Sioux City East
Nate Funk Creighton 2002-2006 Sioux City Heelan

As you head west across the state of Iowa, you invariably notice two things: flatter ground and decreasing population density. Perhaps it is this dull, repetitious environment that breeds the day-in and day-out, hard-working mentality requisite of the college basketball sharpshooter, or perhaps it is just random chance, but one thing is certain - some of the Midwest's best shooters of the past 20 years were developed between I-35 and the Missouri River.

This is a brief look at the college and professional accomplishments of some of those great shooters.
eFG% is regular FG% adjusted for three pointers.
TS% is a measure of shooting efficiency from field goals and free throws.
3a/fga measures the percentage of shots which were three pointers.
Stats Primer

Fred Hoiberg - Iowa State, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves

Year MPG Pts/40 eFG% TS% 3pt% FT% 3a/fga
91-92 30.5 15.8 59.6% 63.0% 26.0% 80.6% 17.8
92-93 32.8 14.1 59.7% 64.3% 36.7% 81.6% 26.0
93-94 36.0 22.5 62.4% 67.5% 45.0% 86.4% 39.6
94-95 36.8 21.6 53.2% 59.5% 41.2% 86.1% 45.7

The Mayor was certainly among the best basketball players to pass through Iowa State University. His uber-efficient scoring came closer to the basket early on, as he only made 35 threes his first two seasons. He took (and made) many more threes in his final two seasons, and finished his ISU career with a 40% mark from downtown. Hoiberg was taken in the second round of the 1995 NBA draft by Indiana. He found his niche in Minnesota recently, becoming one of the NBA's best shooters. Hoiberg finished #4 in 3pt% in 2004 and led the league last year, hitting 48%. His NBA career marks include 40% on threes and 85% at the line.

Kirk Hinrich - Kansas, Chicago Bulls

Year MPG Pts/40 eFG% TS% 3pt% FT% 3a/fga
99-00 21.4 10.4 50.6% 53.1% 31.3% 73.5% 49.7
00-01 32.7 14.0 61.9% 66.7% 50.5% 84.3% 47.0
01-02 30.9 19.1 63.1% 65.7% 47.8% 80.8% 37.7
02-03 33.5 20.7 56.7% 58.6% 40.6% 70.4% 44.9

Hinrich posted two outstanding shooting seasons when he still had Drew Gooden and Jeff Boschee on the team, but the numbers came back down to earth his senior season when he had to take a lot more shots. Looking back on it, some of those Kansas squads were loaded. The 2002 team included Gooden, Nick Collison, Hinrich, Boschee, Wayne Simien, Keith Langford, and Aaron Miles. Not a bad seven man rotation.

Hinrich was drafted seventh overall by Chicago in 2003. He made the All-Rookie team, and was the starting point guard last year for the first Bulls team since the Jordan era to make the playoffs.

Kyle Korver - Creighton, Philadelphis 76ers

Year MPG Pts/40 eFG% TS% 3pt% FT% 3a/fga
99-00 18.2 19.4 63.0% 65.5% 43.4% 89.5% 71.1
00-01 29.4 19.9 62.9% 66.0% 45.2% 86.7% 70.2
01-02 31.6 19.1 62.2% 67.2% 42.9% 89.0% 67.2
02-03 31.8 22.3 63.3% 67.4% 48.0% 90.8% 68.8

If you're not too busy, take a minute to let those numbers sink in. Korver's 371 made threes rank 8th in NCAA history. None of the players ahead of him can match his career 45% three point shooting, which ranks 14th. Korver was also historically dependable at the line - his career 89% free throw shooting is 10th all-time. If that weren't enough, over 2/3 of his shots were coming from behind the arc, so his career eFG% and TS% are flat-out stupid.

A 6-7 guy who can stroke the three seems like a reasonably valuable NBA commodity, and Korver was no exception. He was selected late in the second round of the 2003 NBA draft, and is in his third season with Philadelphia. He's made 40% of his NBA threes, and led the league with 226 made last year.

Ben Jacobson - Northern Iowa

Year MPG Pts/40 eFG% TS% 3pt% FT% 3a/fga
02-03 30.9 14.5 48.5% 52.4% 41.8% 74.7% 21.1
03-04 34.0 16.4 49.6% 53.2% 39.2% 76.8% 36.1
04-05 34.1 21.0 57.1% 59.8% 45.2% 80.6% 36.3

Jacobson isn't quite as gung-ho from downtown as some of the other guys in this group, as he gets a higher percentage of his points from two-pointers (51%) than anyone else. Still, his 45% three point shooting helped him elevate his scoring last season, and he looks poised for another big year. He's been picked as Missouri Valley Conference preseason POY, and looks to lead UNI back to the NCAA tournament for the third straight year.

Nate Funk - Creighton

Year MPG Pts/40 eFG% TS% 3pt% FT% 3a/fga
02-03 16.8 11.2 57.1% 57.9% 35.7% 62.5% 44.4
03-04 26.6 16.7 50.4% 53.4% 42.9% 77.4% 41.2
04-05 30.8 23.1 60.0% 63.3% 46.9% 82.5% 35.2

Funk's junior season was similar in many respects to Jacobson's, though the Creighton star's scoring was a bit more efficient. It seems that every publication has Jacobson slotted as MVC MVP, but Funk should make voting difficult by season's end, as his shooting accuracy was almost Korver-good last year. Funk has been to the big tournament two of the last three years, and is in good shape to make another strong run.

Note - Make sure you vote in the poll over in the top right corner of the blog - we're off to a slow start so far (though it never helps to start those on a weekend).
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