Lehigh Mountain Hawks guard McCollum looks off into the stands as his team loses to the Xavier Musketeers during their men's NCAA basketball game in Greensboro

Next year’s group of back court players does not look promising

1 Comment

This week, Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News started the process of breaking down the best players at each position across the country.

He’s only made his way through the two back court positions, but it is already relatively easy to get a feel for the level of talent in college basketball this season.

Tops on the point guard list: Aaron Craft of Ohio State and Peyton Siva of Louisville. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of both these player. Craft’s ability to affect a game defensively is incredible; he’s been the best on-ball defender in the country for two years running and he’s only a rising-junior. Siva showed just how dominant he can be during Louisville’s run to the Big East tournament title and the Final Four. When he’s playing well, he can affect a game on both ends of the floor as much as any point guard in the country.

But neither of these guys project well at the next level.

In fact, as you make your way through DeCourcy’s list, there are precious few players that look they’ll end up being more than good college players. Phil Pressey, Isaiah Canaan, DJ Cooper, Trey Burke, Joe Jackson. Even when you look at some of the players that didn’t make DeCourcy’s list — Ryan Harrow, Myck Kabongo, Deonte Burton, Ray McCallum, Lorenzo Brown — this isn’t exactly a list that will make NBA GM’s in need of a point guard salivate.

And the shooting guard crop isn’t much better.

I love CJ McCollum. I think what he did in leading Lehigh to an upset of No. 2 seed Duke in the opening round of the NCAA tournament was special and memorable and the kind of performance that will not easily be forgotten. He’s the best of a group of very, very talented mid-major guards.

But the best shooting guard in the country?

That’s not a good sign.

Neither is the fact that Michael Dixon is the second best shooting guard in the country. Or that Michael Snaer is the third-best shooting guard in the country. But how do they compare to guys like Ashton Gibbs or John Jenkins or Marcus Denmon or Darius Johnson-Odom?

They don’t.

The good news is that once you start getting into the front court players, things look a little more promising.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Vanderbilt advances; N.C. State tops LSU

Leave a comment


No. 19 Vanderbilt 86, Wake Forest 64: In the first semifinal at the Maui Invitational, the Commodores had an impressive start-to-finish effort in completely outplaying Wake Forest. Damian Jones had 17 points and 10 rebounds while Wade Baldwin IV also added 17. Vanderbilt shot 49 percent from the floor while holding Wake Forest to 32 percent shooting.

N.C. State 83, No. 22 LSU 72, OT: LSU squandered a valuable opportunity for some good non-conference wins by losing again on Tuesday night and going 0-2 at the Barclays Center this week. The Wolfpack used 20 points from junior point guard Cat Barber to guide them to victory.

Ben Simmons had another solid stat-line, but the Tigers still lost. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on this one.

Louisiana Tech 82, Ohio State 74: Ohio State had won 61 consecutive non-conference home games against unranked teams before losing back-to-back games against UT-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs went 10-for-25 from 3-point range and Ohio State turned the ball over 14 times. Alex Hamilton led Louisiana Tech with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Marquette 78, Arizona State 73, OT: The Golden Eagles picked up another huge win on a neutral court as Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer finished with 18 points. Marquette’s defense held Arizona State to 38 percent shooting.


Derrick Jones Jr., UNLV: The high-flying freshman went for 26 points in a win over Chaminade and also threw down some ridiculous dunks.

Javion Ogunyemi, Siena: Scoring a career-high 24 points was strong enough, but Ogunyemi also made the game-winning bucket with 2.2 seconds left to give the Saints an 83-81 overtime win over Bucknell.


  • Maryland once again trailed in the final five minutes but rallied to beat Illinois State. Rasheed Sulaimon led the No. 3 Terps with 18 points.
  • No. 7 Oklahoma rolled past Incarnate Word as Buddy Hield had 22 points.
  • In the consolation bracket at Maui, No. 13 Indiana rebounded with a win over St. John’s as Yogi Ferrell went for 22 points.
  • No. 24 Cincinnati remained unbeaten with a 64-49 win over Southeastern Louisiana as Jacob Evans and Troy Caupain each had 15 points.


  • Duquesne held off Milwaukee in overtime as Derrick Colter had 27 points and Micah Mason had 26 points and nine assists.
  • George Washington rolled past Gardner-Webb as Tyler Cavanaugh had 20 points.
  • UMass Lowell cruised by Wheelhouse College as Dontavius Smith broke a backboard during the game and finished with 14 points.
  • Rhode Island knocked off TCU as Four McGlynn had 18 points.
  • Cameron Jones knocked down five 3-pointers and finished with 23 points as Radford upset Penn State on the road.
  • South Florida escaped with a home win over Albany as Chris Perry had the late go-ahead dunk and Angel Nunez led the Bulls with 16 points.
  • Northwestern topped Missouri in the consolation game of the CBE Classic as Tre Demps had 13 points.
  • Saint Louis beat North Florida as Ash Yacoubou had 20 points to lead the Billikens.
  • Nebraska cruised past Arkansas-Pine Bluff as Andrew White finished with 16 points.
  • Tennessee rolled past Army as Armani Moore had 29 points and Kevin Punter added 26 points.
  • Louisville picked up an easy win over St. Francis  (Brooklyn) as Damion Lee  had 21 points.
  • Virginia Tech earned a big win over North Carolina A&T as Zach LeDay had 30 points.


Ben Simmons: Another memorable stat-line, another loss

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Leave a comment

Ben Simmons stays setting records.

One night after becoming the first high-major player to finish with at least 20 points, 20 boards and five assists in a game since Blake Griffin in 2008, Simmons became the first player to notch 10 boards, 10 assists, three steals and three blocks in a game since Luke Walton did it for Arizona back in 2002.

[MORE: Why scouts think Simmons is overrated]

To get an idea of how rare that is, Luke Walton is currently the head coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Here’s the issue: Simmons — who finished with 14 boards, 10 assists, three steals, three blocks and no turnovers — was just 1-for-6 from the floor with four points as the Tigers lost their second straight game at the Legends Classic, this time falling to N.C. State in overtime, 83-72.

[MORE: Simmons’ Enigma: Transcendent star? Overrated? Or irrelevant?]

Unfortunately, it looks like the predictions are coming to fruition, that this LSU team, loaded with talent, with spend the season on the periphery of the national consciousness.

There’s a reason to be hopeful.

Keith Hornsby, who averaged 13.4 points last season, is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed injury. Craig Victor will be eligible for the second semester. Reserves are on the way, and having an athletic five-man and a shooter like Hornsby will certainly help a team that likes to spread the floor and play in transition.

After watching LSU play the last two days, they need all the help they can get. Marquette and N.C. State are name-brand programs, but there’s no guarantee that either of them are going to be NCAA tournament teams. In other words, those two losses aren’t going in the book as “good losses”.

Yesterday, I was worried about LSU not being able to make a run in the NCAA tournament. After today, I’m just hoping that they’ll be able to get into the tournament at all.