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Randy Rutherford on Who the Best Shooter in Oklahoma State History Is

What damage could Rutherford do on the modern game?



STILLWATER — Before I could even form the full question, Randy Rutherford was ready to play some Sutton-era man-to-man defense.

“Randy, there are discussions on who the best 3-point shooter in …”

“No doubt, it’s me,” Rutherford said before Saturday’s game.

After Bryant Reeves agreed and Chianti Roberts said there was no question, Rutherford continued.

“I’ll put it this way, I did it in three years,” Rutherford said. “It took them four years.”

After mentioning names such as Keiton Page, Phil Forte and Thomas Dziagwa, Roberts went in on why his former teammate was different than the program’s other shooting greats.

“They all shoot really great,” Roberts said. “They shoot really great, but Randy’s a great shooter. There’s a difference.

“This guy did it in more big games, more pressure moments, in clutch times against clutch players. You look at the Big Eight when we played, there was a legit NBA player on every single team, even the teams that weren’t good. Baylor, they had Brian Skinner. Nebraska, they were actually pretty good, Eric Piatkowski, (Erick) Strickland — bona fide NBA players. Kansas, three or four of them at all times. He’s doing it against that competition. It’s not even close. It’s not even close.”

Earlier in the interview session Roberts and Reeves spoke on how much the modern NBA would love a guy like Rutherford.

“The game has evolved in such a way that there is now way a guy like Randy Rutherford wouldn’t be drafted super high,” Roberts said. “The game I always think about is that KU game where this guy knocked down 11 3s, set the record for an opponent to come into Allen Field House. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

“Trae Young, is a great example, right? He shoots it from way deep. This guy (Rutherford) was doing it when nobody was doing it. He was shooting it from the Cowboy when people weren’t doing that, when that was considered a ‘what in the world are you doing’ shot. He was knocking it down like it was easy.”

So, let’s hash this out. Was Rutherford the greatest Cowboy shooter? In alphabetical order, here is the list we compiled of the greatest shooters in OSU history.

JamesOn Curry
Thomas Dziagwa
Phil Forte
Obi Muonelo
Keiton Page
Randy Rutherford
Brooks Thompson

It’s a solid list of guys from all different eras. Honorable mentions to Adrian Peterson, James Anderson, Jeffrey Carroll, John Lucas, Joe Adkins (please read), Sean Sutton and Glendon Alexander, but that first group of seven is who we’ll look at.

Here are some numbers. It’s important to note that these OSU exclusive numbers, so Thompson’s two years at Texas A&M aren’t included, just the 3s he made in orange and black. Dziagwa’s career also isn’t finished so he could still do some climbing.

Career makes

Phil Forte – 329
Keiton Page – 299
Randy Rutherford – 279
Obi Muonelo – 245
Thomas Dziagwa – 233
JamesOn Curry – 197
Brooks Thompson – 170

Career percentage

Brooks Thompson – 43.1
Randy Rutherford – 41.8
Thomas Dziagwa – 40.9
JamesOn Curry – 39.8
Phil Forte – 39.5
Obi Muonelo – 38.6
Keiton Page – 36.8

Now, wouldn’t it be easy if it was just that simple. As Rutherford mentioned, he did his damage in three seasons. Forte, for instance, hit 3s in five seasons. So let’s get a little more analytical with these next set of stats

Career makes per game

Randy Rutherford – 2.82
Brooks Thompson – 2.70
Phil Forte – 2.44
Keiton Page – 2.23
Obi Muonelo – 2.08
Thomas Dziagwa – 1.97
JamesOn Curry – 1.95

Most makes in best season

Randy Rutherford – 146 (1994-95)
Brooks Thompson – 110 (1993-94)
Thomas Dziagwa – 105 (2018-19)
Keiton Page – 103 (2011-12)
Phil Forte – 100 (2013-14)
Obi Muonelo – 88 (2008-09)
JamesOn Curry – 88 (2006-07)

One thing that could skew all of these numbers is the 3-point line itself. Here is the evolution of the arc in college basketball:

1987-2009 – 19 feet, 9 inches
2009-2019 – 20 feet, 9 inches
2019-Present – 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches

All of these guys could hit from the current line, but any time Forte’s or Dziagwa’s toes were on the line in their eras it would’ve counted for 3 before 2009. And, though they could shoot from deeper, Rutherford and Thompson didn’t have to take all of their attempts from 2 feet behind the line.

But overall, Rutherford’s confidence in being the program’s best shooter has some solid footing. He is third in the program’s history in career 3-point makes, despite playing 36 fewer games than Forte and 35 fewer games than Page.

Rutherford ranks second in program history in 3-point percentage (with at least 150 made) behind Thompson, but Rutherford shot 274 more 3s than Thompson while at OSU.

Going into this, I thought there would be a few more gray areas, but it’s fairly clean-cut: Randy Rutherford is the best shooter in program history. The only knock you could give him is that the line was closer when he was in school, but I’m not sure that argument can make up for the rout that the rest of the stats put forward.

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