The Big East has some of the best guards in the nation on an annual basis.
Over the last few years, whether you are talking about Kemba Walker and Ben Hansbrough or Dion Waiters, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jeremy Lamb, the conference lines up a pretty impressive collection of backcourt stars.
This coming year is no different. Not only does the Big East have a strong group of guards returning who have established themselves (such as Peyton Siva, Shabazz Napier and Vincent Council), but the conference also has a nice group of up-and-comers who are ready to take 2012-13 by storm.
Here are 5 Big East Guards ready for a breakout season this coming year:
During his first three years at Marquette, Junior Cadougan has played the role of pass-first point guard.
With Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder on board last year, Cadougan's primary role was to run the Golden Eagles' offense and distribute the ball to MU's scorers.
Cadougan has done well in that role, leading MU in assists (5.4 apg) in 2011-12 with a nice 2.1 assists-to-turnover ratio.
Head coach Buzz Williams may very well be looking for Cadougan to still run the show, but also to become more of a scoring threat in his senior season.
If he can find his stroke from outside, Cadougan will be a menacing floor leader who does more than move the ball.
Brandon Triche has been a solid player his first three seasons at Syracuse, playing more than 20 minutes per game ever since he came on campus.
He has been a good complimentary scorer, putting up 8.1 PPG as a freshmen, 11.1 PPG as a sophomore and 9.4 PPG as a junior.
Triche finished the 2011-12 season strongly, scoring 11 points in SU's Sweet 16 victory over Wisconsin and 15 in their Elite 8 loss to Ohio State.
With the departures of Dion Waiters, Kris Joseph, Fab Melo and Scoop Jardine, head coach Jim Boeheim will look for Triche to fill a senior leadership role by being a primary backcourt scoring option for the Orange.
Brandon Young is a good example of a CBB player who gets it done, but doesn't get much respect because of the team on which he plays.
So far, DePaul was dead-last in the conference in both of Young's years, only winning a combined 4 of 36 Big East games.
In spite of the Blue Demons poor performance, Young is establishing himself as a player to be reckoned with on the perimeter.
Last year as a sophomore, the Baltimore native averaged 14.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG and 4.7 APG.
As a junior point guard, look for Young to elevate his game and help DePaul take strides toward respectability in one of the toughest conferences in the country. No small task.
Russ Smith may have been one of the most productive players (on a per-minute basis) in the conference in 2011-12.
Smith's numbers (11.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 1.9 APG) were impressive considering the fact that he averaged only 21.5 minutes per game.
The Brooklyn-native is a factor on both ends of the court. The 6'0" rising junior is a menace on defense—he was ranked No. 3 in the Big East in steals last season.
Cardinals' head coach Rick Pitino has plenty of backcourt options with Peyton Siva, George Mason-transfer Luke Hancock and Smith to go along with Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear and more.
After redshirting his freshmen season due to a stress fracture in his lower left leg, Jerian Grant proved why Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey was so careful in bringing the 6'5" guard from Bowie, MD along slowly.
In 2011-12, Grant averaged 12.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5 assists (along with a sweet 2.7 assists-to-turnover ratio) per game for a surprising Notre Dame team that went 13-5 in Big East play.
In spite of such impressive numbers, Grant is just learning how to score. Coming from legendary DeMatha High School outside of D.C, he was primarily asked to distribute and rebound before coming to South Bend.
Grant's steadiness and versatility help him take charge on both ends of the court.
Look out, Big East! This could be a huge year for Jerian Grant.