The Top 5 Point Guards in America are....
Where to do you start when writing an article like this? There are so many talented and exciting point guards in college basketball, that it has been very hard to narrow the list down to just 5. I'm sure some people after reading this article will disagree with the 5 selections that I made. But that's what makes this type of article fun. There is so much room for interpretation and it is interesting to hear opinions' on who somebody thinks is a top 5 point guard in the country. So, without further ado, here is the list:
5. Travis Diener, Marquette
My heart just dropped when I heard that Diener had broke his hand in practice and that he would be out for the rest of the season. Anybody who caught even a glimpse of the Cincinnati vs. Marquette game last night could tell how much they miss their point guard. Diener is not a prototypical point guard in that he is not extremely quick, but he has excellent basketball instincts. He knows how to control a game. He knows when to run, and when to set up the half court offense. There might not be a smarter guard in America in terms of basketball sense. Diener was averaging 19.7 points a game, and 7 dimes a game when he got hurt earlier this week. He also shoots 40 percent from behind the arc. Diener might not be a high draft pick, because he does not have the speed and quickness that other guards possess. NBAdraft.net has Diener getting picked 55th in the draft this coming June. Teams that are picking before the Pistons at the 55th spot would be smart to not let a guy with this talent slip that low in the draft.
4. John Lucas III, Oklahoma State
John Lucas transferred to Oklahoma State in 2003 after playing two years at Baylor. Lucas and other players on that Baylor team were allowed to transfer and would not have to sit out a year due to the scandal in which Patrick Dennehy was killed by teammate Carlton Dotson. Lucas decided to transfer to O.K. State, while his teammates at Baylor, Lawrence Roberts and Kenny Taylor transferred to Mississippi State and Texas, respectively. Lucas also survived a lot in his childhood having grown up the son of John Lucas II, who was an NBA player and coach. He was also an alcoholic, but has now been sober for over 20 years. That did not make the comments and ridiculing stop when John Lucas III was going through school. All of this turbulence seems to have made Lucas stronger. In his first year as the point guard for the Cowboys, he led them to the Final Four. He is the leader of a veteran team, and his team is poised to make another Final Four run, especially with the emergence of freshman JamesOn Curry, who is now starting for the team. Lucas contributes just under 16 points and 5 assists a game, and although he is small in size (5'11) he plays with no fear, and is a guard that is just so fun to watch.
3. Raymond Felton, North Carolina
I know Tar Heel fans are going to be upset that Felton is only third on this list, and that another ACC point guard is ranked ahead of him. I love Felton just as much as any other college basketball fan, but his turnovers are what prompted me to rank him at #3 instead of #2 or #1. Felton averages 12 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals a game. The scary thing for Tar Heels fans is that he also coughs up the ball 3.6 times a game. Most of the nation saw this firsthand a couple of weeks ago when North Carolina played Duke. Felton had eight turnovers in the game, and did not take the open shot with 5 seconds left as he should have, and basically cost North Carolina the game. Besides that one shortfall, Felton is all that you could ask for in a point guard. He is super quick, has a nasty dribble, and he can take it to the rack. He shoots the 3 well, knows how to get his teammates involved, and you can see him directing traffic out on the court anytime you watch an NC game. This Sunday he will be playing against another great ACC point guard that did not make the list in John Gilchrist. That game is very important if the Terps want to make the tournament, and the game can be seen on FSN at 5:30. With a great game and point guard matchup on the line, I think I will have to study for my test later that night, because that game needs to be watched.
2. Deron Williams, Illinois
The thing I love about Deron is that he is so unselfish. His coaches have been preaching at him since the beginning of the season to take more shots, because sometimes he is just too unselfish. In any case, Deron is a guy that I love to watch play for this very reason. He can a score a single point in the game, and still have a huge impact on the outcome. Case in point: Sunday February 6th against Indiana. Deron was 0-7 from the field, and only managed to get on the scoreboard via one free throw. Does this mean he had a bad game? Absolutely not! Deron had 11 assists in the game, most of them setting up fellow guards Dee Brown and Luther Head. From the AP recap of the game,
"Deron Williams couldn't get one shot to fall. A lot of his passes, though, were right on target.
Williams had assists on Illinois' first seven baskets and finished with 11 as the top-ranked Illini remained unbeaten with a 60-47 victory over Indiana on Sunday. It was the lowest-scoring game of the season for Illinois (23-0, 9-0 Big Ten), which held the Hoosiers to their second-lowest output of the season.
``We got a 'W,' That's all I care about,'' said Williams, who was 0-for-7 from the field. His only point was a free throw with 2:15 remaining. ``I just didn't shoot the ball well. I still got my teammates involved. That's what I try to do.''
If that does not characterize the type of player Deron is, I do not know what will. He is the ultimate team player on the undefeated #1 team in the country, and for that reason, among others, he is #2 on my top 5 point guard list.
1. Chris Paul, Wake Forest
The youngest is sometimes the best. Paul, who is only a sophomore is the best point guard in the country, hands down. He is not the leading scorer on the Demon Deacons, but he scores when the team needs him the most. He is a driver, slasher, point guard type who can do it all. He shoots over 52 percent on 3,s, runs the break like a pro, and always come to play in the big games. Last Sunday, Paul scored 27 points, and 7 assists in Wake Forest's loss at Duke. In order for Paul to lead his team to the National Championship, he and his teammates must buy into to the saying, "defense wins championships." Last Sunday they scored 92 points and lost, because they gave up 102. This has become characteristic of the Demon Deacons, as they sometimes lapse and only try to outscore people. Although they have tons of firepower, and an excellent point guard in Paul, they need to buckle down on defense or else they will not be winning the championship. Regardless of the team defense, Paul is the best point guard in the country, and he would be my choice if I had to start a team today, and I could pick any point guard in the country. You can't really go wrong with any of these point guards on this list, but in terms of quickness, ability, basketball skills and potential, nobody has more than Paul.
Everybody who reads this should know that these are not the only guards I considered for this list. Some of the points guards that were considered for this list but did not get chosen in no particular order are: Marcus Williams of UConn, Gerry McNamara of Syracuse, John Gilchrist of Maryland, Jarrett Jack of Georgia Tech, Daniel Gibson of Texas, Aaron Miles of Kansas, Drew Lavender of Oklahoma, Chris Hernandez of Stanford, Carl Krauser of Pitt, Chris Thomas of Notre Dame, and Anthony Roberson of Florida. It was very hard to narrow this list down to just 5 point guards in the country. All of the players just listed are very good, and I am sure that some of you disagree with some of the selections I made for the top 5. I am looking forward to hearing your comments or criticism on why somebody should have been included in this list, but wasn't.