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The 10 Best Leaders in College Basketball

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2017

The 10 Best Leaders in College Basketball

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    Leadership is not just about positions or production.

    It is not simply about seniority or skills.

    Leadership on most college basketball teams is about earned respect, example and influence.

    In recent years, players like Michigan State's Draymond Green or UConn's Kemba Walker would have been on the top of their respective lists.

    Here are the 10 best leaders in college basketball from the 2012-2013 season.

10. Lorenzo Brown (North Carolina State Wolfpack)

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    Lorenzo Brown is a fantastic floor leader, who makes the Wolfpack attack move.

    Brown is a skilled distributor (7.0 APG) as well as a solid scorer (12.7 PPG).

    He directs traffic on a talented, veteran team that still may surprise some people in the ACC Tournament and in March Madness.  

9. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State Cowboys)

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    Marcus Smart was an instant leader for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

    He was accepted and respected by his teammates from the onset of this season.

    Smart was making big-time plays from the first games of the season.

    He leads the team in assists (4.3 APG) and second in scoring (15 PPG).

    His ability to confidently perform under most any circumstance has established his influence on the team, and has garnered him the respect of coaches, players and media.

8. Laurence Bowers (Missouri Tigers)

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    Laurence Bowers has been through a lot during his college years at Missouri.

    Last year, Bowers tore his ACL before the season began.

    This year, the 6’8” redshirt senior started off the season fine, only to sustain another knee injury that sidelined him for five games.

    Bowers has worked his way back, and is the Tigers leading scorer (14.1 PPG) and the No. 2 rebounder (6.1 RPG)

    Through it all, Bowers maintained a genuine attitude of commitment and loyalty to the team.

    Because of that, he is looked to not only as the elder statesman or high-ranking player on the team but someone to whom his teammates will listen to and follow into battle.

7. Shane Larkin (Miami Hurricanes)

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    With all of the talent and experience on this year’s Miami Hurricanes, one of the main reasons why they have risen to the top of the ACC is Shane Larkin’s leadership.

    As a sophomore, he has already earned the trust of his team and the respect of opposing coaches.

    Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton says that:

    Shane Larkin is probably the key to the team. I think he’s the best point guard in the league because he makes very few mistakes, he knows his role, he has an unselfish spirit and the ball is safe in his hand. He plays like a coach on the floor. He’ll defer, but you can’t back off of him, and he’s confident enough that when he needs to make things happen, he’s capable of it.

    Larkin is the Canes’ assist leader (4.3 APG) and No. 2 scorer (13.1 PPG).

6. Mark Lyons (Arizona Wildcats)

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    From the time that Mark Lyons arrived in Tucson last summer, he was laying the groundwork for establishing his leadership on the 2012-13 Arizona Wildcats.

    As a graduate transfer from Xavier, Lyons had to rebuild his image after being suspended last year because of his involvement of an on-court fight.

    After being recruited by Arizona coach Sean Miller at Xavier, Lyons and Miller quickly re-connected, and Lyons has been a model citizen and a respected team leader.

    The 6’1” guard leads 'Zona in scoring (15.2 PPG) and assists (3.2 APG), and his Wildcats’ teammates have total confidence in his ability to deliver the goods when the game is on the line.

5. Aaron Craft (Ohio State Buckeyes)

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    Aaron Craft is a blue-collar team leader, who literally does whatever it takes to help the Buckeyes win.

    He throws his body around with no regard for his own well-being.

    Craft makes his biggest impact on the defensive end. He is known by many to be one of the best on-ball defenders in the game.

    The 6’2” junior PG leads the team in assists (4.4 APG) and steals (1.9 SPG). But he is off the charts in terms of toughness and competitiveness.

4. Matthew Dellavedova (St. Mary's Gaels)

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    St. Mary's would have been an average college basketball program the last few years without their Australian-born PG, Matthew Dellavedova.

    In terms of production, he is putting up exceptional numbers again (16.1 PPG; 3.2 RPG; 6.3 APG).

    Jeff Faraudo of details where Dellavedova stands in terms of leadership:

    Four times each year, Bennett asks his players to rate the leadership qualities of their teammates in 12 categories, including work ethic, confidence, mental toughness, trust, ability to unify the team and confront his teammates, and respect.

    "I don't know there's a category that Delly's not first in," teammate Beau Levesque said.

    In fact, on the most recent survey, Dellavedova scored at the top in every category. As usual.

    It’s no wonder that he was Australia’s starting PG at the London Olympics.

3. Trey Burke (Michigan Wolverines)

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    Trey Burke leads the Big Ten in assists (6.9 APG) and is the conference’s No. 2 scorer (18.9 PPG). His 3.9 assists-to-turnover ratio is among the best in the country. Those are his stats.

    But what puts him near the top of the list of best leaders in the country is his capacity for being an extension of the Wolverine coaching staff while he is on the floor.

    Burke’s coach John Beilein said

    What he has is a direct alignment with the coaching staff. He knows how we feel about things and is a great extension of our philosophy.

2. Peyton Siva (Louisville Cardinals)

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    Peyton Siva is a hard-nosed team leader for the Louisville Cardinals. He is one of the best PGs and floor general’s in college basketball.

    Clay Ables of described Siva’s influence on his Louisville team, starting with his head coach, Rick Pitino:

    Heading into the 2012-13 basketball season, Pitino has been busy heaping loads of praise on his team’s lead guard. In fact, the head coach commented on Siva’s character by saying that, “He is one of the best five people I have ever meet.” That is some high praise considering all of the the great players that he has coached.

    Siva’s accomplishments are not limited to the basketball court. Kenny Klein of shares that:

    Siva, who has a 3.37 cumulative grade point average, was recently named UL’s American Eagle Outfitters Institutional Male Scholar-Athlete, as chosen by the Big East Conference’s Academic Affairs Committee.

1. Otto Porter Jr. (Georgetown Hoyas)

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    Otto Porter Jr. is not flashy or showy.

    He simply works hard to help his Georgetown Hoyas be the best that they possibly can be.

    As the team’s leading scorer (15.9 PPG) and rebounder (7.7 RPG), Porter would already carry a great deal of influence.

    But when you step back and see all of the other benefits that he brings to the table, you can see why he is the best leader in college basketball.

    Porter commented about his role as the leader on this year's Hoya team.

    I took it upon myself to step up and lead. Talking in the locker room and keeping the team together just trying to have that intensity every night.

    One of the signs of Porter's leadership is Georgetown's upgraded performance in 2012-13. The young Hoyas are 21-4 (11-3 Big East) and currently ranked No. 7 in the nation.

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