College basketball's new all-time 3-point king is a hard-working fifth-year senior who only had one Division I scholarship offer at the end of his senior year of high school.
Travis Bader, a 6-foot-5 guard at Oakland University, broke former Duke star J.J. Redick's career 3-pointers with a shot from the right corner with 6:18 left in the first half of the Golden Grizzlies' 86-64 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon. Bader's six 3-pointers gave him 461 threes in his accomplished career, four more than Redick sank in his four years at Duke.
"It's bittersweet," Bader told reporters after the game. "It's something that's good for Oakland, good for our fans and everything like that, but me being the person I am, I wanted to win the game more than anything."
That Oakland lost to fall to 9-15 this season shouldn't diminish everything Bader has accomplished.
Bader was the Lansing State Journal's player of the year as a senior at Okemos High School, yet he was prepared to try to walk on at Michigan State before Oakland came through with a late scholarship offer. The son of longtime Michigan State director of basketball operations Richard Bader then used hard work to transform himself from overlooked recruit, to key contributor, to mid-major star.
Tales of Bader spending hours shooting in the gym early in the morning or late at night are common on Oakland's campus. The fifth-year senior has told reporters he shoots so much that the skin on his right ring finger often splits and starts to bleed.
A complementary scoring option behind center Keith Benson and standout guard Reggie Hamilton his first two seasons at Oakland, Bader emerged as the team's go-to threat both of the past two seasons. He has shot at least 38.6 percent from 3-point range all four years at Oakland and needed 11 less games to get the record than Redick did.
With Bader averaging more than four threes per game this season and seven games left on Oakland's schedule before the Horizon League tournament, the fifth-year senior has a chance to extend the record quite a ways. He'd have 491 3-pointers entering the Horizon League tournament even if he just stays on his current pace.
Not bad for a kid who couldn't find a Division I coach willing to take a chance on him five years ago.
J.J. Redick?” Bader told reporters. “Just to hear that name be mentioned with mine is a tremendous honor. I’ve followed his career. I just never thought it could happen to me.”