Posted: 11:10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013
By Evan Williams
The point guard position is perhaps the most important position in the game of basketball. To be successful as a point guard, you must be an elite leader. Last season, the Big Ten flourished in regards to performance at that particular position. We could sit and linger in the past, but I'm here to examine the future of Big Ten point guards.This list is based solely on my opinion. Hear me out, then feel free to let us know your thoughts.
2012-13 stats: 36.5 mpg, 16.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg
D.J. Newbill really altered perceptions last season. Playing at Penn State, he found away to garner attention. He is a very mature, and poised young man. Last season, he went off for 26 points in a two-point loss to Iowa. He is perhaps the most vital member of the Nittany Lions roster. I really expect to see him improve this season, but he does have several weaknesses to improve upon. First off, he has yet to become an effective shooter, (only shooting 26% from three-point land). He also needs to improve his occasional "turnover prone" ball-handling tendencies. Lastly, he'll need to improve his free-throw shooting, (only knocking down 68.4% from the line last season). Overall, he is an elite Big Ten point guard and well-deserving of this list.
2012-13 stats: 28.1 mpg, 7.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.1 apg
Yogi Ferrell, his potential is almost as intriguing as his name. Ferrell has yet to prove himself as an elite point guard in the Big Ten, so I am playing by wits on this one. Based on his previous doings, I believe has the *potential* to become a star in his sophomore campaign. With the depletion of the majority of Indiana's roster, he will have plenty of opportunities. As a freshman last season, he was able to take the starting spot away from Indiana's Will Sheehey. That move forced Jordan Hulls to play the two-guard position. But with good things, there always is always that lingering bad thing. Ferrell got completely exposed in Indiana's Sweet 16 loss to Syracuse. He went up against Michael Carter-Williams, and the size differential got the best of him. He also needs to improve on turnovers. With that being said, I do expect him to break out for Tom Crean's Hoosiers.
*Skip to 8:40 for the shot
2012-13 stats: 33.6 mpg, 13.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.3 apg
Bluntly put, Michigan State will be loaded this year. With Appling, along with Adreian Payne and Gary Harris all passing on the NBA Draft, you can expect Michigan State to be your early favorite to win the Big Ten. Keith Appling would be the most important piece to the potential quest for a title. On one hand, Appling makes flashy passes and can shoot with perfection. On the other hand, he does have a tendency to make late-game mistakes, such as turnovers. In order for Tom Izzo's squad to be successful, Appling will be forced to play his role well. He brings a leadership quality that makes him one of the leagues' elite point guards.
2012-13 stats: 30.1 mpg, 14.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.4 apg
Tubby Smith is out at Minnesota. They now bring in a youthful coach in Richard Pitino, son of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. It will be interesting to see how Pitino will utilize Hollins. This kid really showed how good he could be last season. He scored a miraculous 41 points in route to a win against Memphis on November 23rd. He excels at shooting the ball, and he also is a good passer. Also, another good thing is that we do not have to continue the turnover trend. Andre Hollins doesn't turn over the ball too much, (2.3 times per game). With that being said, his assist/turnover ratio sets at 1.47. That is a number that will need to improve. I'm fully expecting Hollins to have a terrific season for the Golden Gophers.
2012-13 stats: 34.1 mpg, 10.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.6 apg
I hold myself to the firm belief that Aaron Craft is the best point guard in all of College Basketball. Pardon my boldness, but this guy has so many things to like about him. First, obviously, is his defensive prowess. Craft averaged (2.1 spg), which accounted for 31% of Ohio State's team steals last season. He's respectable while driving to the basket, and puts up stellar numbers in the assists column. He also showed a all-new "clutch" gene in the NCAA tournament. Thad Matta and the Ohio State Buckeyes' success will be determined by the play of Aaron Craft. I feel like Craft is up for the challenge.