'09-'10 Preseason Player Rankings: Shooting Guards
Today we discuss part two of five of the '09-'10 Preseason Player Rankings. These rankings are centered around the top shooting guards in the nation going into next season.
1. Jodie Meeks
Meeks is coming off one of the most incredible scoring seasons in SEC history, averaging 23.7 for the season. Meeks set a school record by dropping 54 points on Tennessee and had games of 46, 45, and 39 to go along with it.
Meeks, a Norcross, Georgia native, still has his name in the NBA Draft but all indications point to a return to Lexington and a year to work with John Calipari, who has a track record for putting guards in the NBA—Chris Douglas-Roberts, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans.
Meeks is easily the most offensively savvy shooting guard in the country but he still needs to improve on his ball handling and his passing to be a legitimate NBA prospect. Calipari has already stated Meeks could become a top 20 pick with only one year under his tutelage.
As stated earlier, Meeks can score points in bunches. He had at least 10 points in 35 of 36 games and had 22 games of 20+ points.
Meeks will be surrounded by at least one 5-star point guard (Eric Bledsoe) next season and may be joined by another (John Wall) if things work out as planned. That will help Meeks get open shots because they too are scoring threats and are prolific passers.
Perhaps no freshman in the country was as impressive last season as Oklahoma guard Willie Warren. Warren came into the college ranks as a head case with an attitude problem—similar to former USC star OJ Mayo.
Warren made an almost flawless transition to the point guard position after being a shooting guard all through high school. Many people believed his point production would suffer if he had to give up shots but he simply improved his shot selection and cut down on his turnovers.
Warren steadily progressed as the season went on, which gives me the impression that with a full off-season to improve, he will improve even more drastically.
Oklahoma may struggle a bit next year though with the losses of National Player of the Year Blake Griffin, Taylor Griffin, and Austin Johnson. Keith "Tiny" Gallon and Tony Crocker will be in uniform to help detract attention from Warren but it may be difficult to get open looks.
E'Twaun Moore is one of those players who seems like he has been in college for seven seasons—when in reality he has only played two years.
Moore is a throwback type player. He is tall and long yet his strengths are dribbling and passing. He has a European-type game which makes him a difficult match up.
One asset for Moore is that he plays with many other very smart players such as Robbie Hummel and Chris Kramer. They allow him to get open shots by spreading the floor and often convert on his passes to help his statistics.
Moore is still learning to play with a 'mean streak' which will enable him to play more aggressive, which is what his body should be used for. Moore is a difficult match up for anyone in the Big Ten and should be perhaps the best player in the league next season.
4. Manny Harris
In the same mold as NBA superstar Brandon Roy, Harris has tremendous size and length for a shooting guard. Standing at 6'5'' he is able to shoot over his defender at all points on the floor with relative ease. Harris combines a smooth stroke with a strong handle which makes him a nightmare to defend around the perimeter.
Harris is coming off a season that saw him score 16.9 points and 6.8 rebounds. Harris worked all last off-season on his rebounding and he improved on his rebounding by almost 3.0 rebounds—which is an amazing improvement for one season.
Harris combines his offensive game with a pretty solid defensive game, averaging 1.2 steals in an almost strictly zone defense under John Beilein. Harris will once again be the focal point for his offense next season with an improved Michigan team.
5. Jon Scheyer
You may not notice Jon Scheyer because Duke is always loaded at the guard position. Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus, and Nolan Smith all made significant contributions throughout the year and Elliot Williams came on strong late.
Next season Scheyer will only have to compete with Elliot Williams at shooting guard and will be able to play some minutes at the point as well. Scheyer is a very versatile player for his size and athletic ability because he is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the country.
Scheyer is also next in the long line of hated white players at Duke. Following in the footsteps of Christian "frickin" Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Steve Wojohowski, J.J. Redick, and Greg Paulus. Scheyer is deadly from the three point line and is cool under pressure—hitting many clutch shots over his career.
He may not put up the most phenomenal numbers but he may be the best guard on one of the best teams in the nation next year.
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