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TOP 100 POINT GUARDS

Columnists | Message Board  | Adam Stanco Archive

By Adam Stanco

basketballwriter@cs.com

November 21st, 2005

 

Top 100 Point Guards in the Modern Era

 

Editor's Choice: Top 10 Articles in CHN History

 

As I was thinking about the 2005-2006 class of collegiate point guards, the

 same thought kept leaking into my brain… Where would these guys rank in the context of all-time greats?

 

How would UT’s Daniel Gibson match-up with B.J. Armstrong? Or, for that matter, B.J. Tyler? Is Derek Raivio another Matt Santangelo or Blake Stepp or Dan Dickau? Ohio’s Jeremy Fears is a small school guy with some big school pub. Does that mean he’ll be the next Speedy Claxton?

 

When these types of thoughts leak in my head, they don’t just settle in. They evolve. The original question was a mogwai and someone just fed it after midnight.

 

So here’s what I reasoned…

 

The only way to rank players is to place them against each other in a similar era (1990-2005). There’s no point in comparing Chris Paul to someone who used a two-handed set shot. Even enshrined greats, like Isiah Thomas, are off-limits. While I have no doubt Thomas would tear up almost everyone on my list, he still played in an entirely different era.

 

The addition of the three-point line, a billion-dollar NCAA Tournament facelift, and an infestation of websites, radio shows, and television programs dissecting players in just about every conference are just a few of the many alterations to the college game over the last 20 years. This doesn’t mean modern players are better. It just means they are playing a different game. Think about it; even the idea of a “point” guard is a fairly modern revelation.

 

So, as far as I was concerned, if someone played their last season in 1990, they’re eligible for my list. Meanwhile, “active” players are just too hard to assess. Some of today’s stars will crack this list and some will fizzle. No use trying to project the current crop when a decade and a half of point guards has already set their careers in stone.

 

Once I figured out my parameters, it simply became a matter of figuring out how many I should rank. Top 15 in the last 15 years seemed about right. But Top 15 turned into Top 50 and then into Top 100. Separating the first ten was difficult, so you can only imagine how hard it was to decipher between #72 and #91.

 

Just think, this all started when I thought about comparing Daniel Gibson and B.J. Armstrong. And now neither one is eligible for my list… Blame it on the gremlins…

 

Also, for the purposes of accurate representation, all professional accomplishments are worthless. Some phenomenal college point guards struggled to make pro rosters. Conversely, some improved dramatically upon the completion of their careers. And some even found the pro game better suited for their skill set. While it is difficult to separate those successes, I tried envisioning a world in which none of these players touched a basketball after they left school. It may help if you suspend your disbelief long enough to do the same. Just keep in mind, this list is strictly about point guard play at the college level.

 

The research process was endless as the data compilation took hours upon hours, as did the process of ranking them. Let the debate begin... 

 

The Top 100 list is based upon the following factors:

 

Balance

Assists are important, but a true point guard must control every aspect of the game. Balanced point guards score and distribute with equal proficiency. They can rebound well and play solid defense. Also, they must establish the appropriate tempo needed to foster team success.

 

Statistical Accomplishments

Statistical comparisons weed out biased opinions. Career stats can also establish a framework for judging. However, it is important to remember that a player’s statistical output can vary greatly depending on his team’s style of play and the competition an individual faced. Thus, this factor weighed less heavily into the decision-making process.

 

Consistency

Excellence over four years meant more than excellence over one or two years. The longer a player stays in school, the longer defenses have to find ways to combat the talents of elite players. Some of the greatest point guards of all-time stayed in school briefly, yet these rankings reward a high-level of play for a substantial period of time.

 

Team Accomplishments

The goals of the team should always trump those of an individual competitor. Evaluating team success can make it easier to separate similarly-talented players. The key was carefully examining how well the players met and surpassed the expectations set for their team. And, of course, measuring how much of that team success was a direct result of the individual’s play. A great point guard can often determine whether a team wins a game or wins an NCAA Championship.

 

TOP 100 POINT GUARDS IN THE MODERN ERA (1990 – 2005)

(all statistics are from the player’s final season)

 

 

100. Tyronn Lue (Nebraska, 1998) 21.2 ppg, 4.8 apg (4.1 tpg), 4.3 rpg, 2.0 spg, 44% FG, 78 3-FG

 

Speedy scorer and distributor. Left school after three seasons, but led Cornhuskers in assists every season. One-time First-Team All-Big 12 selection and one-time Second-Team All-Big 12 selection.

 

99. Jason Williams (Florida, 1998) 17.1 ppg, 6.7 apg (4.4 tpg), 3.0 rpg, 2.7 spg, 44% FG, 54 3-FG

 

Remarkable ball-handler and passer. Transferred from Marshall and discipline problems ended Gator career early. Set school-record with 17 assists in one game. Honorable Mention All-SEC selection.

 

98. Chris Herren (Fresno State, 1999) 11.4 ppg, 7.2 apg (2.8 tpg), 1.6 rpg, 1.0 spg, 44 % FG, 44 3-FG

 

Outstanding, well-rounded talent, but never took Bulldogs to NCAA Tournament. Boston College transfer. Two-time First-Team All-WAC performer. Left school ranked second on career assists list (465), despite playing just three seasons. Career was marred by injuries and substance abuse issues.

 

97. Marcus Banks (UNLV, 2003) 20.3 ppg, 5.5 apg (3.9 tpg), 3.3 rpg, 2.8 spg, 51% FG, 41 3-FG

 

Transferred from Dixie College. Played just two seasons for the Running Rebels. One-time First-Team All-Mountain West selection and one-time Second-Team All-Mountain West selection. Two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. Finished season second in conference in scoring, first in assists and steals. Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist. One-time Honorable Mention All-American selection.

 

96. Randy Woods (LaSalle, 1992) 27.3 ppg, 5.2 apg (3.6 tpg), 6.3 rpg, 2.4 spg, 42% FG, 121 3-FG

 

A top-notch scorer with fine shooting skills. In three seasons at sed Explorers to three postseason appearances in three seasons at school. MAAC Tournament MVP honoree. Two-time First-Team All-MAAC selection. Earned MAAC Player of the Year award. NCAA leader in total points (847). Big 5 MVP, two-time First-Team All-Big 5 selection, and one-time Second-Team All-Big 5 selection. One-time Honorable Mention All-American selection.

 

95. Adonis Jordan (Kansas, 1993) 12.1 ppg, 4.5 apg (1.7 tpg), 2.3 rpg, 1.9 spg, 46% FG, 65 3-FG

 

Solid playmaker and strong leader. Led Jayhawks to two Final Four appearances and one National Championship finals appearance. One-time First-Team All-Big Eight selection and one Honorable Mention All-American selection. Two-time NCAA Regional All-Tournament team member.

 

94. Travis Ford (Kentucky, 1994) 11.3 ppg, 5.8 apg (2.8 tpg), 2.8 rpg, 1.3 spg, 40% FG, 63 3-FG

 

Sweet-shooting, undersized leader. Transferred from Missouri. One-time First-Team All-SEC selection and a two-time SEC Tournament MVP. Led Wildcats to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances and one Final Four appearance. Earned NCAA Tournament Southeast Region MVP honors. Set school record with 3-pt field goals made in a season.

 

93. Negele Knight (Dayton, 1990) 22.8 ppg, 6.8 apg (3.1 tpg), 3.8 rpg, 1.7 spg, 50% FG, 71 3-FG

 

Underappreciated, clutch performer. Won or tied a game on team’s last possession 12 times on his career. Held 12 school records upon graduation. Honorable Mention All-American selection.

 

92. Brent Price (Oklahoma, 1992) 18.7 ppg, 6.2 apg (2.3 tpg), 3.7 rpg, 2.7 spg, 47% FG, 76 3-FG

 

Outstanding shooter and solid playmaker. Transferred from South Carolina. One-time First-Team All-Big Eight selection. Scored 56 points with NCAA-record 11 made 3-pt field goals in one game.

 

91. Kareem Reid (Arkansas, 1999) 10.4 ppg, 5.3 apg (2.1 tpg), 2.5 rpg, 1.7 spg, 40% FG, 36 3-FG

 

Quick, shifty scorer and creative playmaker. Ranks second all-time on SEC career assists list and first in school history. One-time Second-Team All-SEC selection. Started 117 games in his career.

 

90. John Lucas (Oklahoma State, 2005) 17.7 ppg, 4.1 apg (1.6 tpg), 2.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, 45% FG, 100 3-FG

 

Intelligent leader and outstanding shooter. Transfer from Baylor. Two-time First-Team All-Big 12 selection. Third highest on conference’s all-time career 3-pt field goals made list (280) and fifth on assists list (535). One-time Third-Team All-American selection. Led Cowboys to Final Four, earning NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player of East Regional honors.

 

89, Antonio Daniels (Bowling Green, 1997) 24.0 ppg, 6.8 apg (3.2 tpg), 2.8 rpg, 2.3 spg, 55% FG, 45 3-FG

 

Tall, efficient scorer with solid fundamentals. MAC Player of the Year, one-time First-Team All-MAC selection and one-time Second-Team All-MAC selection. Honorable Mention All-American honoree.

 

88. Lynn Greer (Temple, 2002) 23.2 ppg, 4.2 apg (3.4 tpg), 3.1 rpg, 1.7 spg, 40% FG, 95 3-FG

Sweet-shooting lefty and tough defensive player with solid fundamentals. Two-time First-Team All-Atlantic-10 selection. Atlantic-10 Tournament MVP. Finalist for Wooden and Naismith awards. One-time Honorable Mention All-American selection.

 

87. Chris Thomas (Notre Dame, 2005) 14.2 ppg, 6.7 apg (3.0 tpg), 5.0 rpg, 2.1 spg, 35% FG, 52 3-FG

 

Enigmatic player who produced for four straight seasons. Excellent shooter and creative ball-handler. Two-time Second-Team All-Big East selection and two-time Third-Team All-Big East selection. Two-time Honorable Mention All-American. School’s all-time career assists leader.

 

86. Aaron Miles (Kansas, 2005) 9.3 ppg, 7.2 apg (3.1 tpg), 3.5 rpg, 1.7 spg, 46% FG, 40  3-FG

 

Wonderful distributor, but rarely looked for his own offense. Led Jayhawks to four NCAA Tournament appearances, three Elite Eight appearances, two Final Four appearances, and one NCAA Championship final. All-time career assist leader in school and Big 12 history. Three-time All-Big 12 Defensive Team. One-time Second-Team All-Big 12 selection and one-time Third-Team All-Big 12 selection. Never finished a season with a double-digit scoring average.

 

85. Jarrett Jack (Georgia Tech, 2005) 15.5 ppg, 4.5 apg (3.4 tpg), 4.8 rpg, 1.8 spg, 51% FG, 46 3-FG

 

Strong, intelligent leader. In three seasons, earned one Second-Team All-ACC selection and one Third-Team All-ACC selection. Honorable Mention All-American honoree. Led Yellow Jackets to one National Championship game appearance.

 

84. Greg “Boo” Harvey (St. John’s, 1990) 16.5 ppg, 5.5 apg (2.8 tpg), 2.2 rpg, 1.8 spg, 45% FG, 46 3-FG

 

Scoring machine and fun playmaker. Transfer from San Jacinto JC. One-time First-Team All-Big East selection. Winner of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award.

 

83.  Rashad Phillips (Detroit, 2001) 22.5 ppg, 4.1 apg (3.5 tpg), 2.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, 44% FG, 136 3-FG

 

Tiny, explosive scorer with strong leadership skills. Led Titans in scoring for three straight seasons and finished as school’s all-time career scoring leader. Two-time MCC Player of the Year honoree. Three-time First-Team All-MCC selection. Winner of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award and one-time Honorable Mention All-American selection.

 

82. Doug Overton (LaSalle, 1991) 22.3 ppg, 5.0 apg (3.6 tpg), 4.2 rpg, 2.0 spg, 45% FG, 54 3-FG

 

True leader, equally proficient at scoring and distributing. Led Explorers to a 30-2 record and 

three straight MAAC Tournament Championships. Three-time First-Team All-MAAC selection.

Finished as school’s all-time career leader in assists (671) and steals (277). Three-time First-

Team All-Big 5 selection.

 

81. Wayne Turner (Kentucky, 1999) 10.5 ppg, 3.9 apg (2.5 tpg), 2.8 rpg, 1.5 spg, 50% FG, 12 3-FG

 

Outstanding playmaker and defensive player with limited offensive game. NCAA Tournament Regional MVP and two-time NCAA Tournament All-Regional team selection. One-time Third-Team All-SEC selection, one-time SEC Tournament MVP, and two-time All-SEC Tournament team selection. Broke NCAA record for most career games played (151). All-time school leader in career assists. Won two National Championships (but did not play in one), led team to four Elite Eight appearances, and three National Championship games.

 

Continue to Top 100 Point Guards: #61 to 80.

 

 

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