Power Ranking Big Ten Starting Shooting Guards

Ryan CuriFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2013

Power Ranking Big Ten Starting Shooting Guards

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    Whether they are a sharpshooter, a slasher or a playmaker, this has been the toughest list in determining the order of players. There was excellent play from these 2-guards, so I expect there to be some disagreement.

    Here is a recap of the 12 starting shooting guards in the Big Ten this past season, ranked solely on this season's performances.

    This is the fourth of five lists analyzing Big Ten starters. Feel free to share your insight as there will only be one list following this one.

12) Tre Demps

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    7.6 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 18.8 minutes

    Tre Demps, son of New Orleans Hornets general manager Dells Demps, came to Northwestern as a point guard. After an injury that kept him out the entirety of his true freshman season, Demps must now adjust to playing shooting guard as Dave Sobolewski has locked up the point guard slot.

    Demps took over seven field goal attempts per game, a high mark for someone who played less than half of each game.

    He became the starting off guard midway through the season, when the Wildcats became decimated with injuries and were forced to play small.

    Demps will likely come off the bench next year as a redshirt sophomore, as both JerShon Cobb and Drew Crawford return for the Wildcats at the starting wing positions. Demps will certainly be able to score when given minutes under first year head coach Chris Collins though.

11) Joe Coleman

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    8.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 26.3 minutes

    Of Minnesota's five starting players in 2012-13, Coleman was probably the odd man out.

    That's not to take away from the athleticism Coleman possesses, as did his older brother Dan who played for the Gophers in the mid-2000's.

    Joe scored a career-high 29 points at Illinois in January, on 10-16 shooting which mostly consisted of breakaway layups and dunks. Coleman, who stands 6'4", is a bulldog when attacking the basket but needs improvement in his outside shooting.

    Coleman's numbers should improve as a junior, though both his backcourt mates Andre and Austin Hollins return.

    Still, he is the third option offensively as the Gophers lack experience in their starting frontcourt.

10) Jordan Hulls

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    9.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 28.8 minutes

    Jordan Hulls has an ability to shoot the basketball from behind the arc at a very high mark, no doubt about it. Besides his outside shooting though, Hulls lacks ability in most other necessary areas to play at the next level.

    Hulls only stands 6'0", though he did connect on 44 percent of his triples as a senior.

    His scoring numbers were higher as a sophomore and junior than this past season, which can be partially associated to his move to the 2-guard position in favor of Yogi Ferrell at the point.

    Hulls' defense was always suspect, as evidenced by Alex Barlow's game-winning layup in Indianapolis for Butler, in December.

    Hulls and Ferrell struggled against the Syracuse zone in the Sweet 16 as each gave up around five inches to their defensive counterparts.

9) Ray Gallegos

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    12.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 37.5 minutes

    After playing two seasons under Doc Sadler in the Big 12, Gallegos decided to redshirt midway through his collegiate career as transfer guards Bo Spencer and Dylan Talley were anticipated to pass him on the depth chart.

    Gallegos made the right decision by sitting out a season, as he increased his scoring from 2.8 to 12.5. Gallegos was a volume shooter, attempting over eight three-pointers per game, but when hot from the outside he was untouchable.

    Gallegos stands only 6'2", though I believe he has a shot to play at the next level as a Jannero Pargo-type instant offense combo-guard. He will be the focal point of the Cornhuskers' offense in what should be another tough Big Ten season for the league's newest member.

8) Lenzelle Smith Jr.

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    9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 27.4 minutes

    Smith's role increased between his sophomore and junior years drastically. As a sophomore, Smith was politely thought of as Ohio State's fifth starter, as he played alongside Aaron Craft, William Buford, Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger.

    As a junior, the 2-guard from Zion, Illinois almost hit the double-digit scoring mark on a team that only featured one double-digit scorer per night, that being Thomas.

    Smith, like Thomas, is a smooth left-handed shooter that will once again be in the team's big three next year.

    LaQuinton Ross is anticipated to take a hefty load of Thomas' scoring and Craft's late season scoring surge is encouraging. Smith will start with those two, as well as Sam Thompson and Amir Williams, in a starting five that contains three juniors and two seniors.

7) Jermaine Marshall

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    15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 34.6 minutes

    Somehow, Marshall is the third-leading returning scorer in the Big Ten for the 2013-14 season. Even more unexpected is the fact that the top two returning scorers will be in the same backcourt as Marshall, those being DJ Newbill and Tim Frazier.

    Marshall scored 25 points on 6-10 shooting from long range in potentially the upset of the season, when the Nittany Lions knocked off the national runner-up Michigan Wolverines at the Bryce Jordan Center.

    Penn State had not won a Big Ten game going into the matchup against Michigan.

    Marshall was a reserve on the 2010-11 Nittany Lion NCAA Tournament team, after PSU finished last in the league the previous season.

    Could we see a repeat in 2013-14, as the Lions boast a backcourt loaded with skill and experience?

6) Ben Brust

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    11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 34.3 minutes

    Brust went from the Badger's eighth man to leading scorer seemingly overnight, thanks in large part to Jordan Taylor's graduation and Josh Gasser's season-ending injury that paved the way for Brust's bigger role.

    The sharpshooting off-guard from Hawthorn Woods, IL was successful on 39 percent of his shots behind the arc, on nearly six tosses from there each night.

    Even more impressive though, is Brust's rebounding numbers, despite only being a 6'1" 195 pound wing.

    Brust should play alongside both Gasser and Traevon Jackson in a small backcourt for Bo Ryan's Badgers in 2013-14. To expect anything worse than a fourth place finish out of this bunch would be just plain silly though.

5) Terone Johnson

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    13.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 32.1 minutes

    If Terone Johnson continues to improve at the same mark he has done each season at Purdue, he could be in for a special senior season.

    The 6'2" guard from Indy became the Boilermakers' go-to-guy this past season following Robbie Hummel's graduation after five years in West Lafayette. 

    Terone is not a good outside shooter, though he is improving after hitting 35 percent from deep as a junior compared to only 29 percent as a freshman. He's also improved from the charity stripe, now converting on 62 percent of his tosses compared to 44 percent as a sophomore.

    Terone has the great benefit of playing alongside his brother at the point guard position—Ronnie—who is two years younger and was Matt Painter's point guard last season.

    The Johnson-Johnson connection will decide how successful the Boilers are next year.

4) DJ Richardson

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    12.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 33.8 minutes

    This past weekend, Brandon Paul was awarded the MVP for the Fighting Illini's 2012-13 season, deservingly so. Little do most people know though, is that Richardson led the team in scoring during the 18-game Big Ten season.

    Richardson shot 32 percent from behind the arc as a senior, though a 1-for-10 mark from deep against Miami in the NCAA tournament didn't help that mark.

    Richardson was also a shutdown defender, who did a number on ACC Player of the Year Shane Larkin in that same game.

    Sadly, Richardson ends a long line of Peoria players who not only attended the University of Illinois but were major contributors—as Frank Williams, Sergio McClain and Robert Griffin all were during the early 2000's.

3) Roy Devyn Marble

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    15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 30.5 minutes

    Marble made an easy adjustment from going to Robin to Batman between his sophomore and junior seasons.

    As four-year starter Matt Gatens graduated, this Iowa team suddenly became Marble's, whose father is Iowa's all-time leading scorer.

    Marble is the definition of a combo-guard, while in fact he can actually play point guard, shooting guard or small forward with his lanky 6'6" frame.

    As a junior, he scored, rebounded, passed and defended as evidenced by his stats.

    The Hawkeyes were runner ups in the NIT, but anything less than an NCAA tournament appearance in 2014 would be a major disappointment for a team that brings back plenty of size, experience and only loses Eric May.

2) Gary Harris

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    12.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 29.7 minutes

    Following his freshman season, Harris decided to come back to East Lansing and play for a national title contender with Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson.

    Harris, a soon-to-be sophomore from Fishers, IN finished the season as the Spartans' second leading scorer.

    Harris, who won't turn 19 until September, is bound to help the Spartans reach the 2014 Final Four.

    Tom Izzo has never gone four straight seasons without a Final Four appearance, though that streak will be broken if MSU doesn't advance to the Final Four in 2014, which they're certainly capable of.

    Harris was a stud wide receiver in high school, with a sturdy 6'4" 250-pound frame. While his overall game could use improvement, Harris has established himself as a natural scorer both in college and as a pro prospect.

1) Tim Hardaway Jr.

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    14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 34.8 minutes

    Unlike Harris, Hardaway Jr. went for the greener pastures of the NBA following his junior season. It's hard to blame him though, considering the Wolverines made the national championship game despite finishing in fifth place in the Big Ten.

    Hardaway's numbers were consistently inconsistent over his three year career, as little sense as that may seem to make. He decided to become an outside shooting off-guard, while I believe he is best at attacking the hoop as a slashing 6'6" small forward.

    Hardaway Jr. will not be easy to replace in Ann Arbor, though neither will his counterpart Trey Burke.

    As the most experienced player on last year's Michigan team, reaching a national championship had to have been beyond Hardaway's wildest dreams when he committed to Michigan from Miami.