Salim or Redick: That is the Question
In his latest column at CBS Sportsline, Gregg Doyel rants about Lute Olson and how Lute should keep his mouth shut instead of consistently making comparisons between J.J. Redick and Salim Stoudamire. It is obvious and very true that many of the media people love Redick for his shooting ability and how he has carried Duke this season. Duke is on TV basically every week, which allows the members of the media as well as college basketball fans to see J.J. Redick at his best. Now I know that Redick is a great shooter. But is Redick the best shooter in the country? And is it bad that Lute Olson continues to stick up for his senior shooting guard Salim Stoudamire? I tend to disagree with the column by Doyel and let me tell you why.
Lute Olson has a right that every human being has, and that is of free speech. He has the right to support Salim Stoudamire and call him the best shooter in the country if he wants too. I do not see why Doyel thinks that is such a bad crime to do such a thing. When Mack Brown spoke out in late November and said that his team deserved a BCS bowl game, some people in the media tended to think that it was wrong of him to do so. I was of this opinion at first too, before I realized that there was nothing wrong with doing that. Brown thought his team deserved a BCS bowl game, so that is what he said. Lute Olson thinks Salim is the best shooter in the country, and that is exactly what he said. What is so wrong with that? Am I missing something here?
When you look at the stats, Salim is the best shooter in the country. From the Sportsline article,
"There's a bit of information (our publicist) shared with me about Redick being the best shooter in the country," Olson began. If he hit 71 consecutive field goals, he'd reach Salim's field goal percentage shooting. If Redick made 53 consecutive 3-pointers, he'd tie Salim for 3-point field-goal percentage. How in the world can somebody continue to go on TV and say Redick is the greatest shooter in the country?"
The one person in particular that Lute is referring to is Dick Vitale. Dickie V is a big fan of Redick and he always raves about Redick. Watch the next Duke game on ESPN that Vitale is announcing and you will recognize this within a few minutes. Some people are of the opinion that Vitale has always been a Duke supporter and that he now has fallen in love with Redick over his 3 years at Duke. I would estimate that Vitale has announced at least 5 of Duke's games this year. I know for a fact that he announced both Maryland games, Wake Forest and North Carolina games. I am sure that he has done other Duke games that I have forgotten, or that I may not have watched. I do not think that Vitale has done any Arizona games so far this year (correct me if I'm wrong). The Pac 10 has a schedule where they play games on Thursdays and Saturdays and most of those games are carried by Fox Sports Net. So, while it is Dickie V's opinion that Redick is the best shooter in the country, I am curious to find out if he right in making that statement.
Both Redick and Salim are great players. Both can shoot the 3 as well as drive to the hoop. But when making a comparison it helps to look at the numbers. And if you trust the numbers they prove that Salim is a better 3-point shooter. Some people might say that Redick gets more attention from opposing teams, but that is definitely not true. Both Redick and Salim lead their teams in scoring, and opposing teams come into games knowing that they have to shut down these players in order to have a chance to win. There are many quotes out there from coaches and announcers who favor one of these players or another. One quote comes from USC interim coach Jim Saia who was mentioned in this article as saying,
"On Thursday night, USC interim coach Jim Saia said Stoudamire might be the best college basketball shooter ever."
At ESPN, they keep track of the top 25 players that lead college basketball in 3-point shooting percentage. Salim is leading college basketball shooting just a little under 55 percent for the season from beyond the arc. Where is J.J. Redick on this list? He is nowhere to be found, because to be in the top 25 in 3-point shooting percentage a player must be shooting .485 from downtown. What is Redick's percentage, you ask? Redick is shooting .417 on 3-point shooting for the year.
All I am trying to point out in this article is that if your going to make a statement, such as the one Dick Vitale has made on many occasions it helps to be able to back it up. Vitale is entitled to have his opinion, and many other people in the media agree with him. There is no question that Redick is an amazing shooter, and that he has range that some of us only wish we had. But is he the best shooter in the country? That is a question that can be debated for hours and hours.
What I recommend for those who might have seen only one of these players shoot, and not the other is this: watch Oregon State at Arizona at 4:30, and then Wake Forest at Duke at 6:30 all on FSN this Sunday. Now I realize that to properly answer the question of who is a better shooter it would be better to watch every single game of both of these players, but in the sake of time this is a good place to start. Also, one of these players could have an off night on Sunday and therefore lead some people to believe that that player is not as good as the other. What I am hoping for is a Duke vs. Arizona game in the tournament. Not only would this be a great game to watch, it would help us settle the debate of who is a better shooter. These players would be going against each other, and would probably be guarding each other every time down court. That would be a dream come true for college basketball fans, as they would see two of the best shooters face off against each other, in a winner goes on, loser goes home type of game. Until that game happens, this subject is open for debate. So as I end this article, I'm curious to as to who you think is the better shooter: Salim or Redick? I look forward to reading your comments on this interesting, and easily debatable subject.