Power Rankings: Top 20 Point Guards in College Basketball
Just Who Is The Best Point Guard in America?
In college basketball, good point guard play often times leads to success. The point guard is the play maker, the ball-handler, the one who makes the offense go. It is essential for the point guard to buy in to whatever the coach's offensive philosophy may be and help facilitate said offense. The ideal point guard varies from coach to coach and team to team--some want a scorer, some want a pass-first guy, some want a vocal leader, and some just want a guy who can do a little of everything. It begs the question, what does the perfect point guard made up of? Often times they're the smallest players on the court but play the biggest role. Has the criteria changed at all since back in the day when a "good" point guard was a pass-first point guard?
There's several statistics coaches, experts and amateurs look at to try and justify who's a good point guard and who's not. Assists, assist-to-turnover ratio, minutes per game, assists per 40 minutes and steals are just a few. But sometimes you can't determine the importance of a good point guard based solely on stats--sometimes a player just has the natural ability to lead.
There is no right way to play the point--the most important thing to consider, however, is how well the player can lead their team. Let's take a look at the twenty best point guards in college basketball.
Over the course of history, there have been some outstanding college point guards--Magic Johnson at Michigan State, Bobby Hurley at Duke, or Jason Kidd at California and there's no doubt some of the players on this list will one day be considered great as well.
There are some omissions (C.J. McCollum is a flex guard and the same with Shabazz Napier) you may or may not agree with but without further delay, here are the top twenty point guards in America.
No. 20 Billy Baron, Canisius Golden Griffins
In the Koessler Center located in the great white north known as Buffalo plays Billy Baron, the do-it-all point guard for Canisius College. In his third school in three years, Baron has finally (we think) found a home. He's a hybrid for the Griffs--scoring 17.3 ppg, dishing out 5.9 apg, and pulling in 4.8 rpg. Canisius was sitting at 3-1 and in 1st place in the MAAC but a recent two-game skid has sent them reeling. Baron is faring just fine having scored 32 points while handing out 19 assists in the two losses.
No. 19 Evan Roquemore, Santa Clara Broncos
This may be a name you've never heard before but Santa Clara point guard Evan Roquemore is putting together a pretty solid season for the 12-6 Broncos. His assist totals have gone up in all three seasons in the Silicon Valley. He leads as pretty potent offense that ranks 29th in the country in scoring and 18th in assists per game. His 3.11 assist-to-turnover ratio isn't too shabby either. If only the Broncs could win some WCC games.
No. 18 Will Wilson, North Florida Ospreys
The North Florida Ospreys--ever heard of them? Will Wilson is 5th in the nation in assists (125) for UNF and is a true pass-first point guard. Wilson averages only three shots a game and shoots only 30% from the floor--which might be the exact reason he's dishing out so many dimes.
No. 17 Chaz Williams, Massachusetts Minutemen
The diminutive point guard stands only 5'9" tall but plays way bigger for UMass. Williams is another hybrid running the show in Amherst. Without his 7.3 apg, 4.5 rpg, and 15.8 ppg, it's hard to imagine UMass coming anywhere close to their 11-4 record.
No. 16 Aaron Craft, Ohio State Buckeyes
I almost felt like I had to put Craft in here and might have put him too low, but either way he needs to be on the list. He's led the Buckeyes to a 13-3 record and is steady as she goes at the point. His averages this season are right on par with what he's done the past two year in Columbus--8.9 ppg, 4.6 apg--and he hasn't missed a game in his college career. His foul totals are up which is concerning, but the Buckeyes have fared just fine.
No. 15 Jason Brickman, LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds
Fuhgettaboutit! Brickman is second in the country in assists per game (8.3) and it shows on an LIU team that averages almost 77 points a game. He's always on the floor--36 mpg--and despite his moniker is actually a pretty good shooter, making 51.5% of his shots including more than half his threes.
No. 14 Tray Woodall, Pittsburgh Panthers
The Brooklyn-born Woodall is in his 5th season with Pitt because of a medical redshirt. The Panthers are +285 points with him on the floor so despite his pedestrian 10 ppg and 5.5 apg, they need him in Pittsburgh.
No. 13 Pierre Jackson, Baylor Bears
Jackson leads a Baylor team that is 3-1 in Big 12 play and 11-5 overall. He makes his free throws (80%) so it's no wonder he's got the ball when the game is on the line. He also happens to be their leading scorer and assist man. The one knock on Jackson is that he turns it over too much--3.4 per game. He's also an excellent perimeter defender so he can lock down whoever they ask him to guard.
No. 12 D.J. Cooper, Ohio Bobcats
Cooper leads the Ohio Bobcats in assists (8.2 apg) and scoring (14.7 ppg). His selfless play has rubbed off on his teammates--the team ranks number one in assists per game (19.1). The Chicago native is quite the thief too, averaging almost two steals per game for the 11-5 Bobcats.
No. 11 Grant Gibbs, Creighton Blue Jays
He's as big as some power forwards at 6'5" and 210 pounds but make no mistake, Gibbs is an assist machine for the No. 12 Blue Jays--someone has to get Doug McDermott the ball, right? He's averaging almost six dimes per game and chips in seven points and four boards per game as well. The most eye catching stat is his 4.26:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
No. 10 Nate Wolters, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
A true score-first point guard can be found way up in Brookings, South Dakota. Wolters is the Jackrabbits' leading scorer and is currently 10th in the nation despite not being a three-point specialist. Wolters shoots right around 80% from the free throw line as well. He plays basically every minute of every game (37.4 mpg) and without him their offense would just fall flat. The 6'4" Wolters also averages 5.7 apg and 5.8 rpg.
No. 9 Quinn Cook, Duke Blue Devils
Yet another in a long line of excellent Duke point guards, 2011 McDonald's All-American Quinn Cook has a chance to become something special. He can score, rebound, pass, and hold on to the ball, but Duke will need him to step up his scoring with the loss of Ryan Kelly. Cook averages 2.6 fouls per game in 33+ minutes, so he's out there quite a bit running the show for the Blue Devils. In their wins over then-No. 2 Louisville and then-No. 4 Ohio State, Cook had 27 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds and three steals.
No. 8 Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State Wolfpack
In their upset win over No. 1 Duke, Brown led the Wolfpack offense, doling out 13 assists while chipping in 12 points. He already has five games of 10+ assists--NC State is 4-1 in those games. His 34 steals are also good for 2nd in the ACC. The junior just keeps getting better for an NC State team that is finally back on the college basketball map.
No. 7 Eric Atkins, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Ninth in the nation in assists, Atkins has the Irish off to a strong 14-3 start despite their current two game losing streak. His scoring is down slightly from a season ago but his field goal percentage is up and he's generating far more assists per game. He's scored 10+ points in 12 of the 17 games including a season-high 21 in their most recent loss and has handed out 10+ assists in four of those games. He's a brutal free throw shooter though, making only 63.8%.
No. 6 DeAndre Kane, Marshall Thundering Herd
Another big point guard, standing in at 6'4" with tremendous handle, DeAndre Kane leads Conference USA in minutes and assists. The Herd are under .500 for the season but it's not Kane's fault--he's their second leading scorer with 14.1 ppg while dishing out 7.6 apg and pulling down 4.8 rpg--he's a man, man. The junior was asked to run the point and give up his score-first mentality and it's worked for him so far. Though his NBA position is likely shooting guard, he'll continue to man the point for the Herd.
No. 5 Trey Burke, Michigan Wolverines
When people were talking about Michigan's run as the last unbeaten, very rarely did I hear Burke's name. His teammates collect the accolades and justifiably so but Burke is averaging better than three points per game more than he did a season ago and his assist numbers are way up. He's got the tall task of creating shots for several playmakers on a Michigan team poised to make a run deep into March.
No. 4 Phil Pressey, Missouri Tigers
If you're a college hoops fan, you remember the game Pressey had back in late December against UCLA when he handed out 19 assists in Mizzou's 97-94 loss to the Bruins. He isn't a great shooter but it certainly doesn't deter him from shooting--he's taken 15+ shots six times this year. He's a volume scorer but he's the best point guard in the SEC as far as assists goes but he turns it over too much (3.5/game). Watching him play on television excites me, as odd as that seems, but he plays the game the right way and is the definitive leader for the 12-3 Tigers.
No. 3 Larry Drew II, UCLA Bruins
The North Carolina defect is paying huge dividends for UCLA. He's fourth in America in dishes per game with 8.1 and has nearly a 5:1 assists-to-turnover ratio for the 24th-ranked Bruins. They don't ask him to shoot much and it's a good thing, as he's the second worst shooter on the team--but he sure can handle the ball and distribute to Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams and Travis Wear. UCLA has their floor general, even if only for a year.
No. 2 Peyton Siva, Louisville Cardinals
Siva is the ultimate proponent for the phrase "stats don't tell the whole story." This kid is the true leader of a Louisville team I just had the opportunity to see live. Watching him on television doesn't do him any justice either. The quickness, the court awareness, the play-making ability. He's got it all. With him, they're a legit contender--without him, they're just another tough Big East basketball team. He only averages 5.6 apg but he stuffs the rest of the stat sheet full of goodness--points (11.8), rebounds (2.3), steals (2.4) and Siva hits his free throws (88.5%). He's finally surrounded by some offensive weapons with Russ Smith, Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear, so there's really no pressure on Siva to score but he can and will.
No. 1 Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Orange
At 6'6", Carter-Williams is clearly one of, if not the biggest point guard in the country, making him a perfect fit for Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim's zone. He's the national leader in assists with 9.4 per game. He can call his own number offensively as well--MCW puts up nearly 12 points per although his field goal percentages are pretty bad. He makes things happen defensively and his length helps create turnovers--his 54 steals rank him 4th in the NCAA. He struggles from the line but he makes it up tenfold with everything else he can do for the Orange. The scariest part is he's only a sophomore but we didn't hear about him much last year thanks to Scoop Jardine. If you're a fan of the NBA, you'll be reading his name in the papers pretty soon. He's not as athletic as you'd expect but he plays smart and is an excellent passer and is the best point guard in America.