Position Rankings: Ranking the 20 best shooting guards

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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.

Yesterday we took a lot at some of the nation’s best point guards. This list focuses on the point guard’s sidekick, the shooting guard. While “shooting” is a part of their game, the best find a way to help their teams in a variety of ways. Here’s a look at some of the nation’s best.

The Top 10

1. Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA)
There’s still the major question whether or not the NCAA will clear Muhammad for competition, but there’s no denying the fact that he’s one of the most talented players in the country. The southpaw is extremely difficult to stop in the open court, and he’ll add a much-needed dimension to the UCLA attack.

2. Michael Snaer (Florida State)
Snaer may be the best perimeter defender in the country, and he’s also the Seminoles’ primary scoring option. As a junior Snaer averaged 14.0 points per game, shooting 43.6% from the field and 40.4% from beyond the arc.

3. C.J. McCollum (Lehigh) 
Look for McCollum to get some more work at the point for the Mountain Hawks, and that 30-point showing against Duke was simply the latest example of what happens when he gets rolling. The reigning Patriot League Player of the Year averaged 21.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in 2011-12.

4. B.J. Young (Arkansas)
If the Razorbacks return to the NCAA tournament Young will be a big reason why. One of the best freshmen in the SEC last season, Young scored 15.3 points per game, shooting 50.4% from the field and 41.3% from three.

5. Archie Goodwin (Kentucky)
Goodwin, like classmate Muhammad, is an absolute handful when he makes up his mind to attack the rim. He’s Kentucky’s best perimeter scorer, and that was the case before Goodwin’s 32-point showing in the Blue-White Scrimmage.

6. Rodney McGruder (Kansas State)
McGruder was a second team All-Big 12 selection last season, averaging 15.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. McGruder shot 46.3% from the field and 38.5% from three in 2011-12.

7. Michael Dixon Jr. (Missouri) 
Dixon Jr. is more of a point guard when projecting to the next level, but the presence of Phil Pressey leads to him playing off the ball more often than not. Currently suspended indefinitely, Dixon Jr. averaged 13.5 points per game and shot 48.7% from the field as a junior.

8. Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan)
Hardaway Jr. teams up with Trey Burke to form one of the nation’s best backcourt duos. As a sophomore Hardaway Jr. averaged 14.6 points per game and shot 41.7% from the field. If he can boost that three-point percentage (28.3%) this season, Hardaway can raise that scoring average a few points.

9. Allen Crabbe (California) 
Crabbe is arguably the best returning shooting guard in the Pac-12, coming off of a season in which he averaged 15.2 points per game and was a first team All-Pac-12 selection. Crabbe shot 43.1% from the field and 39.9% from three while also grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game.

10. Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati)
Kilpatrick is poised for a breakout campaign after a solid 2011-12, in which he averaged 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. With Dion Dixon (13.0 ppg) gone there are more shots to be had on the perimeter for the Bearcats, and Kilpatrick is a prime candidate for increased scoring opportunities.

The Best of the Rest

11. Kenny Boynton (Florida) 

12. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia) 

13. Colt Ryan (Evansville) 

14. Rodney Purvis (NC State)

15. Trent Lockett (Marquette)

16. Jerian Grant (Notre Dame)

17. DeAndre Kane (Marshall) 

18. Gary Harris (Michigan State)

19. Victor Oladipo (Indiana)

20. Khalif Wyatt (Temple) 

20 Others: Gary Bell (Gonzaga), Keion Bell (Missouri), Drew Crawford (Northwestern), Seth Curry (Duke), Jud Dillard (Tennessee Tech), Kevin Foster (Santa Clara), Langston Galloway (St. Joseph’s), Ramon Galloway (La Salle), Shane Gibson (Sacred Heart), Preston Medlin (Utah State), Brandon Paul (Illinois), Steven Pledger (Oklahoma), Chasson Randle (Stanford), Devon Saddler (Delaware), Durand Scott (Miami), Trevis Simpson (UNC Greensboro), Chase Tapley (San Diego State), Brandon Triche (Syracuse), C.J. Wilcox (Washington), Trey Zeigler (Pittsburgh).

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej. 

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.