Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Men's College Basketball [Print without images]

Monday, December 3, 2012
Updated: December 14, 11:23 AM ET
Five on three

By Anna Katherine Clemmons
ESPN The Magazine

Isaiah Canaan
Canaan hopes his 21.4 ppg this season will shoot his name up NBA draft boards.

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Dec. 24 Hall of Fame Issue. Subscribe today!

MURRAY STATE SENIOR GUARD Isaiah Canaan averaged 21.4 ppg and 41.4 percent from downtown in his first seven games this season, numbers he hopes will lead his team to the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years -- and shoot his name up NBA draft boards. Here, the reigning OVC Player of the Year shares five revelations that helped him perfect his three-ball.

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
"My three-point shooting blew up when I got to college. I thought I had good vision, but once I got to Murray State and took an eye test, I learned my distance eyesight was a little blurry. When I got contacts, I couldn't believe how much clearer everything was. It was just so much easier for me to focus on the goal, and the rim seemed bigger. It was like a new world for me."

I KNOW THE DRILL
"In high school, I didn't shoot that many threes; I would just get to the goal. I can still do that, but now that I shoot threes so well, they are like layups for me. I have a routine: I have to make 100 threes before and 100 threes after practice every day. If I miss a day, I try to shoot 200 the next time. I usually make 100 out of 150 shots or so."

STOP ME EARLY OR PAY ALL NIGHT
"Last year when we played Austin Peay, I had seven threes, all before halftime, and I finished with 35 points. That game it felt like I was never gonna miss. After I saw the first couple go in, my confidence level went up, so I stayed at it. I tried another, made that, tried another, made that; they just kept falling. The defense wasn't really trying to adjust until the second half, and by that time it was too late."

I CAN WIN OVER ANY CROWD
"Austin Peay was an away game, and it started sounding like the fans were applauding me -- probably thinking, Shoot, he's made so many, he makes another one, we gotta clap. You could hear that pause in the crowd as they started to be amazed. Afterward, I don't think the other coach wanted to say anything to me; the players just said, 'Good game.'"

I FEED OFF DOUBT
"Everyone is out to prove they can stop me, but we still make threes regardless of how the other teams defend. Any team that plays a zone or hasn't double-teamed me, I'm going to take advantage and put up the three. I try to keep putting doubt into the defenders' minds that regardless of what you do, you still can't stop me."

Follow The Mag on Twitter (@ESPNmag) and like us on Facebook.