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. 

Seven identified after threats made against referee John Higgins following Kentucky Elite Eight loss

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College basketball referee John Higgins received threats to his home and business in late March after some controversial calls in North Carolina’s win over Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Seven people have now been identified for making threats against Higgins, according to an Associated Press report. The FBI’s Omaha, Nebraska field office said that information on the seven people will be referred to authorities in their jurisdictions.

An investigation over the last few months helped find the culprits, as the Omaha-based Higgins received emails, phone calls and voicemails to his personal home and roofing company following Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament departure. Wildcat head coach John Calipari might have ignited some of the anger in Kentucky fans by criticizing the officiating following the North Carolina loss.

“Based on the investigation’s findings, our office has determined that no local charges will be filed and that pursuit of any criminal charges would be best served by deferring to authorities in the appropriate jurisdictions,” Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The length of the investigation was drawn out due in part to the large volume of potential evidence requiring analysis, and the multi-jurisdictional issues arising from the multiple states in which the communications originated.”

Polikov also said that at least two media outlets were exposing and promoting Higgins’ contact information.

“This information has been referred to the Federal Communications Commission for further investigation of the potential violations related to applicable federal communications regulations,” Polikov said.

Higgins received about 3,000 phone calls at his office in the two days following the game. Sheriff’s investigator Matt Barrall told the AP that an estimated 75 percent of the calls were from Kentucky area codes.

The roofing business that Higgins owns was also flooded with bad online reviews and negative star ratings, causing his Google rating to fall while also forcing Higgins to take down the Facebook page for his business.

Beilein still upbeat after Michigan loses another to NBA

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — For a major program, Michigan is a somewhat unlikely candidate for this kind of NBA-induced attrition.

The Wolverines have fielded some very good teams under John Beilein, but they haven’t been relying on prospects expected to jump to the pros as soon as they can.

“We’re not depending all our success on one-and-dones,” Beilein said. “Given that, our numbers right now are extraordinary.”

Beilein was referring to the number of players Michigan has sent to the NBA, particularly as early entrees. The Wolverines lost D.J. Wilson to the draft this offseason with two years of eligibility remaining, and now they’ll go through the familiar process of trying to replace a key player who turned pro.

The most significant early exodus occurred in 2013 and 2014, when Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary all went pro before their eligibility was up. Michigan won a lot of games with those players, reaching the Final Four and Elite Eight those two years, but their development made them attractive to NBA teams and shortened their college careers.

Wilson’s rise followed a similar pattern. He averaged only 2.7 points per game in 2015-16, and then increased to 11.0 this past season and became Michigan’s leading rebounder. His efforts helped Michigan win the Big Ten Tournament and reach the Sweet 16, and now he’s off to the NBA draft. The entire sequence of events would have seemed highly improbable a year ago.

The Wolverines won’t receive much sympathy from their Big Ten opponents, especially since Michigan will still have big man Moe Wagner, who tested the NBA waters but ultimately decided to stay in school. The 6-foot-11 Wagner averaged 12.1 points last season and shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range, showing huge improvement in much the same way Wilson did.

After losing senior point guard Derrick Walton, it will be interesting to see how Michigan’s offense operates if Wagner becomes even more of a focal point. When Beilein was at West Virginia, the Mountaineers achieved success behind center Kevin Pittsnogle, whose skill set and 3-point shooting ability was at least somewhat similar to Wagner’s.

“We’re not going to put him in that category yet,” Beilein said. “Let’s just say, having a big man who can shoot the ball like that changes a lot of things.”

Michigan was also able to add a new point guard recently in Jaaron Simmons, a graduate transfer from Ohio. Simmons is eligible immediately in 2017-18 and will move up from the Mid-American Conference to the Big Ten.

“A lot of the mid-majors are having this happen to them, and I don’t like it at all, but the fact is if Jaaron doesn’t come here, he ends up probably somewhere else in the Big Ten,” Beilein said. “He’s just fundamentally so sound. He’ll be here this summer. Just as a person, I just wanted to coach the kid after spending an hour with him — just the leadership, the desire to win.”

Simmons could help the Wolverines withstand the loss of Walton, and Beilein indicated he could serve as a bit of a mentor to players like point guard Xavier Simpson, who is entering his sophomore season.

“We went all-in with (Simmons), knowing we had that scholarship,” Beilein said. “We felt that was a huge need for us, is to just have a little bit more experience in the backcourt next year.”

Follow Noah Trister on Twitter @noahtrister

LaVar Ball having ‘zero’ interaction with UCLA team bodes well for next season

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With the NBA Draft looming in less than a month, the biggest talking point has been just how much of an impact LaVar Ball is going to have on his son, Lonzo’s, NBA career.

It’s a question worth asking given the, ahem, outspoken nature of the eldest Ball.

But in the collegiate ranks, that’s a question that’s been asked about UCLA regarding next season. While Lonzo and LaMelo, who is finishing up his sophomore season in high school, are the stars that get the majority of the attention, there is another Ball brother that will be enrolling at UCLA next season: LiAngelo.

LaVar has already said that he expect Gelo to be a one-and-done player, which may not jibe with how good Gelo actually is. He’s not Lonzo and he’s not LaMelo. He’s not a dynamic athlete or a lead guard. He’s a 6-foot-5, 200 pound shooter with limitless range but limited upside. There’s a reason Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect.

What’s going to happen when UCLA, a top 15 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25, doesn’t give Gelo Lonzo-esque minutes or shots next season? How will LaVar handle it if his second son is coming off the bench for the Bruins?

Steve Alford doesn’t seem concerned about it, telling a reporter from the LA Times that LaVar was “never at practice, never called me” and was around the team “zero.”

“I think all parents probably should know that moving on to the collegiate level anyway,” Alford said. “It’s not high school, it’s not AAU. Your son’s on scholarship; your son’s at UCLA getting an incredible opportunity academically and athletically.

“Playing time, shots, that kind of stuff — we don’t entertain some of those phone calls anyway. I never had any issues at all with LaVar.”

It will be interesting to see if that continues next season.

The Bruins have a chance to be pretty good. Maybe not quite as good as last season, maybe not a Pac-12 title favorite or even the best team in LA — USC is loaded — but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them end up as a top four seed in the NCAA tournament with Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh returning and Jaylen Hands headlining the recruiting class.

Will LaVar be able to handle UCLA’s success if it comes at the expense of his son’s?

NCAA: Former USF assistant provided extra benefits, lied to NCAA investigators

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The NCAA has alleged that former South Florida assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided roughly $500 in impermissible benefits and initially lied to NCAA investigators about it, according to the Tampa Bay Times, who obtained the NCAA’s summary disposition report.

Oliver Antigua is the younger brother of Orlando Antigua, who was the head coach at USF until he was fired in January. Now an assistant on Brad Underwood’s staff at Oklahoma State, Orlando was not alleged to have committed an NCAA violation in the report.

Oliver is alleged to have provided the extra benefits to two student-athletes while they were being tutored by the sister-in-law of Gerald Gillion, a special assistant to Orlando who resigned last fall, four months after Oliver did. USF has already self-imposed a $5,000 and reduced their scholarships from 13 to 12, according to the report.

“The University of South Florida and the NCAA continue to work together to resolve the inquiry into violations of NCAA bylaws and university standards by a USF intercollegiate athletic program,” according to a statement released by the school. “USF anticipates having a final resolution with the NCAA sometime this fall. Until the process concludes and the matter is fully resolved, USF cannot provide further comment.”

Villanova lands four-star 2018 guard

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Villanova added its first recruit in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night.

Jay Wright and his staff landed a verbal commitment from Paul VI Catholic High School’s Brandon Slater, a four-star guard by Rivals as the No. 42 overall prospect in the rising senior class.

The 6-foot-5 Slater announced his decision via Twitter.

Slater, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, picked the Wildcats over Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, and Virginia.

He is currently playing the Nike EYBL with Team Takeover, the same grassroots program that produced current Villanova guard Phil Booth.