IsaiahCanaan

Position Rankings: Who are nation’s 20 best point guards?

6 Comments

Throughout the month of October, CollegeBasketballTalk will be rolling out our previews for the 2012-2013 season. Check back at 9 a.m. and just after lunch every day, Monday-Friday, for a new preview item.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To look at the rest of the Top 25, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

This is when it gets fun. Teams aside, who are the best players at each position? Not only is it difficult to confine some of these athletes to just one position, but so much depends on a team’s style, chemistry, and game plan as to where each should be ranked.

Take a look below at NBCSports.com’s Top 20 Point Guards:

The Top 10

1. Isaiah Canaan (Murray State)

Canaan is a Preseason All-American for a reason. Murray State’s fate rests in his hands, especially with supporting cast member Zay Jackson now suspended for the season.

2. Phil Pressey (Missouri)

Pressey leads the Tigers into the SEC after averaging 10.3 points and 6.4 assists per game last season. He is undoubtedly Missouri’s leader offensively and will keep his team toward the top of the conference with Florida and Kentucky.

3. Trey Burke (Michigan)

No one is happier than head coach John Beilein that Burke bypassed the NBA draft and decided to return to Ann Arbor. With the recruiting class the Wolverines are bringing in, Burke could be the point guard on a team that makes a run in March.

4. Lorenzo Brown (NC State)

Brown is coming off of knee surgery, but now plays point guard for a team whose expectations are high after a run to the NCAA tournament last season. He is now a legitimate top-5 PG in the country.

5. Aaron Craft (Ohio State)

Craft is a relentless defender and orchestrator of the Buckeye offense. His 4.6 assists per game last season made that offense go.

6. Kyle Anderson (UCLA)

If we call Anderson a point guard, he is the most unique point guard in the country. He changes the way an offense runs because of his court vision and ability to see over the defense. He’s certainly not the fastest, but his length creates problems.

7. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)

He has size for the point guard spot, which makes him dangerous, but he can play either position in the backcourt. Big-time athlete will make a difference in his freshman season at Oklahoma State.

8. Pierre Jackson (Baylor)

The athletic Jackson averaged 13.8 points and 5.9 assists per game last season. Some pieces have left Waco, but a new recruiting class full of weapons comes in.

9. Peyton Siva (Louisville)

If for the majority of the year we see the late-season Siva who led Louisville to the Final Four, things are good. If the mid-season doldrums strike again, the Cardinals could run into some trouble. Siva is the Preseason Big Eat Player of the Year.

10. Matthew Dellavedova (St. Mary’s)

The Aussie doesn’t always get as much recognition as he should because he comes from a smaller conference, but 15.5 points and 6.4 assists per game ain’t too shabby.

The Best of the Rest

11. Mark Lyons (Arizona)

12. Ray McCallum Jr. (Detroit)

13. Tim Frazier (Penn State)

14. Myck Kabongo (Texas)

15. Shabazz Napier (Connecticut)

16. Elijah Johnson (Kansas)

17. Vincent Council (Providence)

18. DJ Cooper (Ohio)

19. Ryan Harrow (Kentucky)

20. Nate Wolters (South Dakota State)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

VIDEO: Winthrop’s Keon Johnson goes coast-to-coast for buzzer-beater

Winthrop's Keon Johnson (5) shoots a layup while defended by Coastal Carolina's Warren Gillis during the first half of the Big South Conference Championship college basketball game Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won 81-70. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Leave a comment

Winthop earned a Big South road win at Radford on Saturday afternoon as junior guard Keon Johnson raced coast-to-coast and buried the game-winner at the buzzer.

The 5-foot-7 Johnson erupted for 32 points in the win and he’s been one of the most potent mid-major scorers in the country this season. The win moves Winthrop to 18-7 on the season and their 10-4 mark in the Big South ties them with UNC Asheville atop the conference standings.

(H/T: LiveonASN)

After blowout of South Carolina, is No. 22 Kentucky a Final Four contender?

Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis (3) guards the ball after a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Auburn, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Auburn, Ala. Auburn won 75-70. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Leave a comment

It only took 2:26 for official Doug Sirmons to plant two technical fouls on Kentucky head coach John Calipari, and that may have been the worst thing that could have happened to South Carolina.

He poked the bear, and the result was that a ticked off No. 22 Wildcat team proceeded to run the Gamecocks out of their own gym, 89-62.

The star of the show was interim head coach Tyler Ulis, who put together as dominating of a performance as you’ll ever see out of a player that stands 5-foot-9. Ulis finished with 27 points and 12 assists, hitting 4-for-8 from three and turning the ball over just once.

Marcus Lee added 11 points and 13 boards, including six on the offensive end, and Jamal Murray had his customary 26 points on 9-for-21 shooting, but the story of this game was Ulis.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seed a player under 6-foot capable of dominating a game the way that Ulis can dominate. Murray can take over with the best of them — we saw it against Florida and Ohio State — but when it comes to the NCAA tournament, this Kentucky team will go as far as Ulis carries them.

And based on the way that he’s played in the last six weeks, that could end up being pretty far. In SEC play, Ulis is averaging 19.4 points and 7.6 assists. He’s scored at least 17 points in 12 of the last 14 games and has notched as least five assists in all 14. He just orchestrated a total mollywhopping of a Frank Martin-coached team that was tied for first place in the SEC while playing without his head coach and on the road.

The issue with Kentucky is the same today as it was a month ago. They’re a two-man team with an inconsistent supporting cast. When their two studs play like this, they can beat anyone in the country. When they don’t, they can struggle against anyone.

But here’s the thing: When Ulis is playing the way that he’s played of late, they don’t really need all that much from their supporting cast. Derek Willis needs to be able to space the floor. Lee and Skal Labissiere need to be able to hold their own against opposing big men.

And when that happens?

Kentucky is clearly the best team in the SEC and good enough to be able to win four straight in the Big Dance and get to a Final Four.