By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – In 25 years of covering the Iowa men’s basketball team, I’ve had the privilege of watching some incredible 3-point shooters, including current point guard Jordan Bohannon.
The former Linn-Mar star is well on his way to becoming the most prolific 3-point shooter in the history of the Iowa program despite only being a sophomore.
Bohannon leads Iowa with 69 treys this season and has at least eight more games to add to his total. He has made 158 3-pointers overall as a Hawkeye and is on pace to easily shatter Jeff Horner’s school record of 262 3-pointers
Bohannon has made five or more 3-point baskets in each of Iowa's last five true road games and will have a chance to make it six games in a row on Saturday at Penn State. He is also the sixth player and the only player from a major conference to make five or more triples in five straight road games over the last 20 years.
And he already ranks ninth at Iowa in career 3-pointers despite having only played in 58 games.
But where does Bohannon rank among Iowa’s best 3-shooters dating back to 1992?
I chose that year because the 1992-93 season was my first year on the Iowa beat.
But even narrowing the window to 25 years didn’t make trimming the list to just five easy with so many worthy candidates, including Kent McCausland, Chris Kingsbury, Peter Jok, Matt Gatens, Luke Recker, Justin Johnson, Brody Boyd, Adam Haluska, Val Barnes and of course, Horner.
And how do you fairly evaluate Bohannon, considering he still has more than half of his career left to play? He is on pace to break all of Iowa's 3-point records, but still has to do it.
Bohannon set an Iowa freshman record by making 89 3-point baskets last season. The previous record was 52 by Gatens.
It was so difficult to pick just five that I reached out to former Hawkeye and current Big Ten Network analyst Jess Settles for assistance. Settles has a unique perspective after having played with both Kingsbury and McCausland in college.
Settles said he had to think about it for a while.
I was curious to see how he would react to Bohannon being ranked first on the list because I was leaning that way.
Settles had no issue with putting Bohannon first. He then explained why.
"If you're taking an open three with no hand in your face, to me it's McCausland without a doubt over Bohannon, just wide open, no one out there," said Settles, who played for Iowa from 1993-99 and made 113 3-point baskets himself. "I think Peter Jok wins a game of HORSE, maybe Bohannon and Peter Jok win a game of HORSE. I think if the defense is extended and you're talking four feet behind the line, it's Kingsbury. The range is Kingsbury followed by Bohannon.
"Bohannon is in every single one of them. That's the thing. He's in the game of HORSE. He's in the deep three. He's in the open three, the clutch three."
Hearing Settles describe it that way made me comfortable with putting Bohannon first on the list and slightly ahead of McCausland.
Some of you of might disagree with ranking Bohannon first due to his smaller body of work, but the pace at which he is making 3-point baskets is extraordinary and much faster than anybody else on the list.
My decision came down to who I would pick to shoot an open three with the game on the line, and just like with Settles, it was between Bohannon and McCausland.
Bohannon shoots over 40 percent from 3-point range, but so did McCausland.
Bohannon gets the slight edge because of the pace at which he is draining threes and because of his ability to make clutch threes. It just seems the bigger the moment, the more likely Bohannon is to make a three. He made a three to beat Wisconsin in the closing seconds last season in Madison, Wis.
Kingsbury is third on the list because when hot from 3-point range, there was nobody better. But he also was a streaky shooter who took some questionable shots.
Peter Jok is fourth on the list followed by Gatens. But you could easily switch them around because they’re that close.
Gatens finished his career with 239 3-point baskets, which is second on Iowa's all-time list, while Kingsbury is third with 226 and Jok is fourth with 216. Kingsbury also deserves credit for accumulating his total in just three seasons.
You could flip a coin between Jok and Gatens and not be wrong, but Jok gets the fourth spot due partly to taking 81 fewer 3-point shots than Gatens. I had to come up with something to distinguish between the two of them because they were so close.
Kingsbury is the only player on the list who isn't from Iowa, or who didn't attend high school in Iowa, although, he lived in Des Moines as a kid before moving to Ohio.
Kingsbury stood about 6-foot-5 and used his strength to make shots from spots on the court that few would try. He could shoot from 30 feet without having to change his form.
"Kingsbury is probably the only guy on the list where the opposing crowd would start cheering for him," Settles said. "They wanted to see him pull from the gopher head at the barn in Minnesota."
An explanation for why Horner didn't make the top five seems warranted, considering he has made the most 3-pointers in school history. Horner also attempted 713 treys as a Hawkeye, while no other Iowa player has attempted more than 652 3-point shots.
Horner made 48 more 3-pointers than McCausland, but it also took Horner 241 more shots to do it.
The 6-foot Bohannon is the only point guard on the list. The other four players were mostly shooting guards at Iowa.
"It's subjective, but when you break it down, he's pretty elite from downtown," Settles said of Bohannon.
And to think, Bohannon still has more than two seasons to build on his legacy as a 3-point shooter.
Name, years at Iowa, 3-point goals-attempts, percentage
1. Jordan Bohannon, 2016-present, 158-372, 42.4
2. Kent McCausland, 1996-99, 214-472, 45.3
3. Chris Kingsbury, 1993-96, 226-645, 35.0
4. Peter Jok, 2013-17, 216-571, 37.8
5. Matt Gatens, 2008-12, 239-652, 36.6
Also considered: Jeff Horner, Luke Recker Adam Haluska, Justin Johnson, Val Barnes, Brody Boyd.