Peyton Siva and Big East’s Top 5 Point Guards
Top 5 Point Guards in the Big East
The Big East has a bevy of talented point guards. Peyton Siva, Louisville’s floor general, received conference Preseason Player of the Year honors, and fellow point guards Vincent Council, Shabazz Napier, Anthony Collins, Jerian Grant and Tray Woodall all earned at least a Preseason Big East Honorable Mention.
Before even looking at incoming freshmen James Robinson and Ryan Arcidiacono, some notable returnees did not land preseason all-conference honors. Most notably, Cashmere Wright, a constantly underappreciated point guard out of Cincinnati, did not make the cut. Neither did Michael Carter-Williams, though his omission holds more merit — his potential production is projectable based on his solid per minute freshman numbers, but he lacks the experience of the other top guards.
Even Phil Greene showed promise as a freshman.
With so much talent, how can you whittle down the candidates into a top five?
The coaches’ selections don’t include any freshmen, and that makes sense — we know what they did in high school, but even the most talented, promising high school players don’t always excel immediately at the college level.
The selections also indicate a general overview, the average choices of 15 coaches. In other words, several coaches could have included someone like Wright on their lists, but he might have fallen just short of an honorable mention.
With the point guard position, a few criteria determine a player’s value. Most importantly, a point guard must be smart, a characteristic generally reflected by assist-to-turnover ratio. But even so, a smart player who cannot take over a game has less value than a “PTPer” floor general with a slightly lower basketball IQ.
This slideshow will begin with a “Just Missed the Cut” slide, explaining why certain players were excluded from the top five list.
Just Missed the Cut
Shabazz Napier — Not every talented point guard could be included, and Napier barely misses the cut. Solid numbers. Solid leadership. But there’s just something missing from his game.
Anthony Collins — Running South Florida’s offense and helping the Bulls reach the NCAA tournament established Collins’ name in the Big East. But as a sophomore, he takes a backseat to the veteran floor generals.
Michael Carter-Williams — People around the Big East expect a breakout season from Carter-Williams, whose per-minute freshman numbers projected a lot of promise. But he is not established and is just a sophomore.
Tray Woodall, Pittsburgh
Tray Woodall has been a part of Jamie Dixon’s program for four years, serving as an integral member in each of the past three.
When the fifth-year senior went down with an abdominal/groin injury last season, Pittsburgh missed him sorely. The Panthers managed a few wins against lower level competition before falling to Wagner on Dec. 23. Woodall tried to return — despite the nagging injury — for Pitt’s next game, but he was limited and the Panthers dropped the second game of what would become a seven-game skid. Woodall played in just two of those losses.
His return ignited, albeit briefly, a Pittsburgh hot streak, which included wins over Georgetown and West Virginia. Over the team’s four game winning streak, Woodall averaged 18 points and 6.8 assists, but the injury continued to nag him and his production faltered.
Now, though the injury bothered him as recently as a few weeks ago, Woodall should be able to produce in 2012-13. He averaged 11.7 points and 6.1 assists per game last year despite his injury, and those numbers — at least in the scoring department — will rise if he remains healthy.
Woodall’s 3.2 turnovers per game played a big factor in his placement at No. 5.
Cashmere Wright, Cincinnati
Cashmere Wright in one word: underappreciated.
The senior point guard for Cincinnati flew under the radar as a junior, despite posting very respectable numbers. With averages of 10.9 points, 4.6 assists to 2.2 turnovers and two steals per game, Wright also displayed the ability to take over games.
Most notably, he went for 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in a 60-56 win over Louisville on Feb. 23. But he also recorded totals of 37 points, 14 assists and eight steals in the Big East tournament.
Wright’s a very solid, smart floor general who did not even receive a preseason Big East Honorable Mention. He’s underappreciated, but it’s time for people to take notice.
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Jerian Grant won’t dominate games as frequently Tray Woodall or Cashmere Wright, but the junior holds the conference’s best returning assist-to-turnover ratio. Making that title all the more impressive: Grant played his first collegiate game last year.
Grant’s 12.3 points and 5.3 assists to just 2.1 turnovers per Big East game played a large role in Notre Dame’s unexpected rise to the top of the conference. He displayed an impressive basketball IQ for anyone, let a lone a first-year player, and with a year under his belt and the same cast as last year, Grant should have a productive 2012-13.
Peyton Siva, Louisville
Though Big East coaches named Peyton Siva the conference’s preseason player of the year, the senior floor general is not the league’s top point guard.
He can dominate games — like he did in the Big East tournament — but he can also disappear. Siva’s abundant energy can make him erratic, which sometimes leads to poor shot selection and decision-making. Look no further than his 40.2 percent field goal percentage, 24.6 percent three-point percentage and 3.4 turnovers per game. Even defensively, Siva is prone to over-committing and fouling — he averaged three fouls per game as a junior, which sometimes precluded him from playing crucial minutes due to foul trouble.
A player of the year needs to be available when his team needs him.
But even so, Siva has the potential to top this list and actually be the conference’s player of the year. He can take over games, and if his decision-making improved over the summer, he will be a real force.
Vincent Council, Providence
Vincent Council may not be the country’s best point guard, like Ed Cooley thinks. But he is the Big East’s top floor general.
Unlike Peyton Siva, Council would never find himself on the bench. In fact, the senior played 39.7 minutes per Big East game, easily topping that statistical category.
Council turned the ball over basically as many times per game as Siva, but the Friar also distributed eight assists per Big East game to Siva’s 4.9. He’s a playmaker — a more effective playmaker than the conference preseason player of the year. His assist-to-turnover ranks solely behind Jerian Grant’s.
But distributing the ball effectively is not Council’s only strength. He can score, rebound and defend as well.
And, for one more comparison with Siva, Council shot just 39.3 percent from the floor. But keep his supporting cast in mind — Council simply had to shoot more because he only had a few teammates capable of scoring. Siva, on the other, hand had a full team of weapons.
Council appeared on the conference’s preseason first team, but if the Friars’ lack of depth did not preclude any sort of potential run to the top half of the conference, he, not Siva, would be the preseason player of the year.
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