Stats don’t lie.
As the nation’s most accurate 3-point shooter, Iowa State’s Tyrus McGee enters Thursday’s 6 p.m. NCAA Tournament Final Four shooting contest at Atlanta with an it’s-his-to-lose mentality.
“Yeah,” McGee, a senior, said in a phone interview this week. “Fast shooting. That’s what I like to do the most, so I won’t have a problem with it at all. I just hope the rims, once I get there, are soft.”
Not that McGee — who scorched the nets at a 46.4 percent pace this season — typically finds much metal.
An ESPN audience will see how he contends with the rack, instead of defenders, while competing alongside seven other college sharpshooters.
HIs rivals: Rodney McGruder (Kansas State); Jordan Hulls (Indiana); Ian Clark (Belmont); Troy Daniels (Virginia Commonwealth); Isaiah Canaan (Murray State); Sherwood Brown (Florida Gulf Coast); and Scott Wood (North Carolina State).
“It’s very cool,” said McGee, who ended up tied for fifth all-time in ISU history in 3-pointers with 146. It’s a good opportunity for me. There’s going to be NBA scouts there and even overseas scouts. This is the first time I’ve ever been invited to a 3-point contest.”
McGee impressed his coach, Fred Hoiberg, with both his accuracy and mettle when launching long jumpers.
Hoiberg competed in the Final Four 3-point contest in 1995.
“Tyrus thinks the next one’s going in regardless,” Hoiberg, one of the NBA’s all-time best long-range shooters, said last month.
For good reason.
McGee said he once made “like, 32” in a row from beyond the arc in a high school shooting session in tiny Stringtown, Okla., where he starred before moving on to Cowley (Kan.) County Community College, then ISU.
“You could miss it in the blink of an eye,” McGee said this winter of his hometown. “Small town; got a rock crusher up there.”
Explosiveness — off his hand and his feet — pushed McGee to major college basketball, and keeps his profile ratcheting upward.
“I’m just going to be myself,” he said of Thursday’s exhibition. “And just shoot it.”
Where it will ultimately lead him as uncertain.
He’s considered a long-shot NBA Draft pick, due primarily to his size — and has said he’s fine with embarking upon his pro career in far-flung lands, if necessary.
“To be honest, I really don’t even think about it,” McGee said. “Just think about performance; just do what I always do.”
CLYBURN AN ALL-STAR: Iowa State senior guard/forward Will Clyburn will play for his coach, Fred Hoiberg, in Friday’s 4 p.m. NABC College All-Star Game at Atlanta.
Clyburn averaged 14.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in his only season as a Cyclone.He’s one of 20 seniors selected for the event.