With the 2012-2013 college basketball season set to tip-off in just a matter of hours, I started thinking about my postseason predictions, which got me questioning who are some of the most important players in one of the most important conferences, the Big East?
Well, with the sport being a guards game, I decided to narrow my criteria down to who the best guards in the conference were, and after much internal debate, here is the list.
5. Vincent Council, Providence
You might not hear much about Providence this season, but Council’s game demands attention. Having led the Big East in assists the last two seasons, Council was anticipating a senior year with a little help from two highly-touted freshmen guards in Kris Dunn and Ricky Ledo. But, with Dunn sidelined with a shoulder injury and Ledo ineligible for this season, it looks like it’ll be the Council show yet again. The team’s leading scorer (15.9 ppg) as a junior, Council is expected to break the school’s assist record this season, and will undoubtedly be responsible for what little success the Friars manage to have.
4. Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Sean Kilpatrick is the epitome of a work-in-progress. After red-shirting as a freshman, despite averaging around 30 points per game his senior year of high-school, Kilpatrick has not only gotten better every season, but he’s become a more integral part of an improving Bearcats program, as well. As a junior, Kilpatrick led the Big East in three-point shots made, averaging 14.3 points per game, and was named Second Team All Big East. As a senior, he’s already been named by the conference’s coaches as a preseason Big East Conference first team selection, and with Cincinnati expected to be a major player in the conference, expectations are high for their star guard.
3. Brandon Triche, Syracuse
Triche is another player who has developed significantly from his freshman season, where he didn’t necessarily have a defined role with the team. A combo guard who has become more of a scorer than facilitator over the last couple of seasons, it’ll be interesting to see how he steps up being the lead guard for the first time in his career. Having started all 107 games he’s played for the Orange, Triche has played off of Syracuse legends like Andy Rautins, Jonny Flynn, and most recently, Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters. As the most experienced guard in a backcourt with Michael Carter-Williams and Trevor Cooney, coach Jim Boeheim has big expectations for his senior guard, and with Syracuse being expected to have another big season in the Big East, they’ll only be as good as Triche can make them.
2. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s
Harrison had one of the better, under-the-radar seasons of any guard in the Big East last season. Although St. John’s didn’t achieve the kind of success they were hoping to have, Harrison was afforded a ton of playing time, which he truly made the most of. After averaging 18.5 points per game in Big East competition as a freshman, Harrison will be expected to get his even less experienced teammates a bit more involved this year, which coach Steve Lavin feels confident about. “We want the ball in his hands more,” Lavin told the NY Daily News. ““We feel he can be a playmaker and a scorer in the same way Dwight Hardy was (two seasons) ago.” Considering the way both Hardy and St. John’s finished that season, if Harrison can mirror the former Red Storm’s play, it should be a successful season in Queens.
1. Peyton Siva, Louisville
Big East Preseason Player of the Year? Check. Point guard and floor general on the number two team in the nation? Check. Fresh off of a scintillating Final Four run? You bet. After three incredible seasons, it’s tough to argue there’s a better point guard in the Big East, maybe even the nation than Peyton Siva. Siva might have more weapons at his hip this season with Louisville than any other guard in the country, and anything less than another Final Four appearance will be a let down for Rick Pitino’s squad. Siva might be the best at penetrating and finding his open man in the country, and with the ability to knock down the three as well as throw one down every now and then, we could very well be looking at the best player in college basketball.
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