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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
100. Tyronn Lue
(Nebraska, 1998) 21.2 ppg, 4.8 apg (4.1 tpg), 4.3 rpg, 2.0 spg, 44% FG, 78
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
99. Jason Williams
(Florida, 1998) 17.1 ppg, 6.7 apg (4.4 tpg), 3.0 rpg, 2.7 spg, 44% FG, 54
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
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
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
95. Adonis Jordan
(Kansas, 1993) 12.1 ppg, 4.5 apg (1.7 tpg), 2.3 rpg, 1.9 spg, 46% FG, 65
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
94. Travis Ford
(Kentucky, 1994) 11.3 ppg, 5.8 apg (2.8 tpg), 2.8 rpg, 1.3 spg, 40% FG, 63
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
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
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
91. Kareem Reid
(Arkansas, 1999) 10.4 ppg, 5.3 apg (2.1 tpg), 2.5 rpg, 1.7 spg, 40% FG, 36
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
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,
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
88. Lynn Greer
(Temple, 2002) 23.2 ppg, 4.2 apg (3.4 tpg), 3.1 rpg, 1.7 spg, 40% FG, 95
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
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
86. Aaron Miles
(Kansas, 2005) 9.3 ppg, 7.2 apg (3.1 tpg), 3.5 rpg, 1.7 spg, 46% FG, 40
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,
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
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
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
82. Doug Overton
(LaSalle, 1991) 22.3 ppg, 5.0 apg (3.6 tpg), 4.2 rpg, 2.0 spg, 45% FG, 54
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
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
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