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