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QUESTION OF THE WEEK

NCAA Tournament | Message Board  | Question of the Week

By Shawn Siegel

shawn@collegehoops.net

March 10th, 2006

 

JJ Redick: All-Time Great?

 

In this week's CHN Question of the Week, we asked you where JJ Redick stacks up in the college basketball history books.  Is he an all-time great?  Not even a Duke great? Or somewhere in between?  Mixed amongst the expected I love/hate JJ dribble, there are some insightful and varied responses. 

 

Below you'll find selected responses and my commentary in return.  As of today, JJ is averaging 27.8 ppg, on 48% from the floor and 42% from three.  The ACC's all-time leading scorer is now up 2,638 points.

 

"I think JJ Redick MUST be considered one of the Top 15 NCAA Players All-Time. He is averaging just about 28 ppg, he still gets 3 assists per game, and his defense is severely underrated.  He has averaged about 20 ppg his entire career (19.6). He is definitely one of the greatest shooters of all time and is right up there with Chris Mullin and Steve Alford.  He is leading the NCAA in free throw percentage all-time and I think all of this should culminate to make him at least one of the top 15 players in NCAA history, not just ACC History.  And not only does he rack up impressive statistics, his teams win, which is the most important thing of all.
 

Asem

Cary, TX"

 

I posted Asem's answer first, because I need to discuss this myth that somehow JJ is as great a shooter as Chris Mullin or Steve Alford.  Lets look at JJ's shooting %'s through the years: 41%, 42%, 41% and now 48%.  Let's look at Mullin's: 53%, 58%, 57%, 52%. Alford's: 59%, 54%, 56%, 47% (including a whopping 53% from three his senior season).  What do all these percentages show?  That JJ is NOT nearly as great a shooter as Mullin or Alford.

 

"Redick is a good player. Probably one of the best college players of the last 10 years. But the only reason for that is because now if a player has a great college season, he goes pro. Back in the 70's and 80's there were many players far better than Redick playing in college.

 

Mark Boyle

Toronto, ON"

 

It's hard to argue with Mark on this one.  Its amazing how JJ-lovers forget the reality of the situation that most great basketball talents are long-gone by their senior season.  On the flip-side, its also hard to argue that JJ is one of the best college basketball players of the last 10 years.  Looking at Wooden Award winners in recent years, there are obviously some greats on the list, but  a pure shooting guard hasn't won it since Calbert Cheaney in 1993.  It is interesting, because no one ever talks about Cheaney being an all-time great, but in most respect Cheaney had an equal if not better career than Redick.  Career 19.8 ppg (just about Redick's), but better 56% FG and 44% threes.  Also, it's important to note Redick has played 37 mpg this year and last compared to just 29 and 34 for Cheaney's final two years.  These extra minutes for Redick have to be taken into account as compared to all other shooters in recent memory.


"I think it all depends on what he and Duke do in the tournament. If they don't get to the Final Four, then his place in history may be hurt. However, if Duke is to win the national championship, I say J.J. is one of the top 30 college players of all time.

 

Aaron Mark

Happy, TX"

 

Ultimately, I think Aaron's right, we do need to wait and see.  Until JJ leads a team to at least the national championship game, you can't even realistically note him in the same breadth as even a guy like Christain Laettner.  So far, Duke has been to two Sweet Sixteens and a Final Four in JJ's career which is obviously impressive, but not all-time great impressive.

 

The last year that Duke won the championship was 98-99, which featured both Jason Williams and Shane Battier.  Williams, who played only three seasons, basically did everything Redick did and more.  Williams shot the ball the same as Redick from three, 41%, and of course played the point guard.  The only way one could say Redick is better than Jay Williams is if that person had short-term memory.

 

"JJ Redick is no doubt a good player, but only because of the inherent east coast bias. Last year there was a better shooter in college basketball in almost every aspect (3 point percentage, game winning shots, overall shooting %). It was Salim Stoudamire of the Arizona Wildcats. It is sad that a player gets so much national attention because of the league they play in and the time zone they play in. JJ is a good player and deserves a lot of credit, but  lets be fair wen we judge people as 'all time greats.'

 

Vinod Ramadurai

Burlington, VT"

 

Vinod brings up a great point.  Forget about comparing JJ to Duke's all-time greats and college basketball's all-time greats, is he even the best shooting guard of his time?  Stoudamire is a great subject to examine, because he was probably the most underrated player in the country. No doubt if Salim was on Duke and shot 50% from three and 50% field goals, we would be having this same discussion about him.

 

I do think though that despite the FG%, Redick was better overall than Stoudamire last year.  Redick averaged more rebounds, assists, steals, and was forced to take a heck of a lot more shots than Redick.  No doubt if there was as much constant defensive focus on Salim, and Salim was forced to shoot more often, his percentages would drop back into Redick's range.  With that said though, Redick did play 20% more minutes than Salim accounting for the slightly better rpg, apg, etc.

 

"JJ Redick ranks very highly among the greats of the game. He plays in one of the toughest conferences in the country. He scores against everyone, and is impossible to stop. He is easily one of the best players of the past 10 years, with very few players ahead of him. I think JJ is the best player in Duke history, therefore ranking him among the top ACC players ever. He is definitely not just another good player who stayed in school for four years.
 

Kyle Crawford

Waco, TX"

 

I mention Kyle's answer as an example of how a lot of the more pro-JJ responses went.  A lot those who feel he is an all-time great based it on the fact he is the best or one of the best Duke players ever.  Obviously leading the program and the ACC in points is amazing, but I think its disrespectful to other guys in the program to suddenly assume JJ is better.  The guy Redick passed atop Duke's scoring list, Johnny Dawkins, has to be considered a better all-around player. Along with Coach K, it is Dawkins who basically turned around the program.  All you have to know is that Dawkins led Duke from being an 11-17 program as a freshman to being the 37-3 national runner up as a senior.

 

"As a UNC fan, I even have to admit that Redick must be at least mentioned among the best college players ever. Although I have some doubts about his pro career, it's hard to downplay what he's done at Duke. To be the all-time leading scorer at a place that regularly puts out first round talent is pretty incredible, and he deserves the recognition he's getting. When you consider that every team is constantly focusing on shutting him down, and he still has been able to do what he's done, it hard to argue against the fact that he's a pretty special player. I'm certainly not a Duke or Redick fan, but as a basketball fan, I have to give him a lot of credit. He's taken a lot of criticism for opposing fans, (and count me among those), but at the end of the day he gets his props, even from me.

 

Jason Brubaker

Batavio, OH"

 

In the end, just about everyone has to agree with Jason there.  Love him or hate him, love or hate Duke, you have to respect JJ.  Putting up those numbers on what simply is college basketball's premier program can't be denied as greatness.

 

But greatness is a term which we throw around quite often.  Just looking at the numbers and his team's success, there's really no reason outside of short-term memory to say JJ's any better than Duke stars like Jason Williams, Christian Laettner, and Johnny Dawkins or other stars like Chris Mullin, Steve Alford, Calbert Cheaney.  My take is that he's simply somewhere in the mix, but no better than any of those impressive college greats.

 

Thanks for everyone's responses.  We'll have more Questions of the Week coming up, so keep the responses coming in! 

 

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