Ranking the Nation's Top 20 Shooting Guards for 2013-14 NCAA Basketball Season
If there's a common theme among the best shooting guards in the country, it's that they are admirers of their own shots.
At least, you would think so with some of the chuckers we've got at this position. Marshall Henderson of Ole Miss set an NCAA record for three-point attempts last year. Louisville's Russ Smith puts up some of the most ridiculous shots that Rick Pitino gave him one of the best nicknames in college basketball: "Russdiculous."
That's not to say that chucking has become an issue for these particular teams or an epidemic in college basketball, something that could have been argued in the NBA during Allen Iverson's heyday.
Smith was a big reason why the Cardinals were the best team in the country last year, and Henderson helped the Rebels make the NCAA tournament for the first time in 11 years.
These are the 20 chuckers, ahem, shooting guards expected to have the most productive seasons.
Nov. 6: Point Guards
Nov. 8: Top 100
All advanced stats, unless otherwise noted, come from KenPom.com (subscription needed).
20. Damyean Dotson, Oregon
2012-13 Stats: 11.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.9 spg
Why He's Here: Oregon's postseason run had a lot to do with Damyean Dotson and his jumper. During the Ducks' run to win the Pac-12 tournament and then to the Sweet 16, Dotson averaged 16 points. In the five wins, he made 16 of 30 threes.
Dotson is the leading returning scorer for the Ducks, and his March performance was encouraging. But to go from a good scorer to a consistent scorer, he'll need to improve as a slasher and get to the free-throw line more often. He attempted only 65 free throws in 37 games as a freshman.
19. Nick Johnson, Arizona
2012-13 Stats: 11.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.6 bpg
Why He's Here: Nick Johnson is known for his ridiculous ups. Well, he's more than just a highlight-reel dunker. Johnson improved his jumper last year and was also an excellent defender. With his quickness and jumping ability, he has a chance to be one of the best defensive guards in the country.
That may not land Johnson a bunch of postseason accolades, but he could help Arizona's defense become elite.
18. Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa
2012-13 Stats: 15.0 ppg, 3.0 apg, 4.0 rpg, 1.1 spg
Why He's Here: Roy Devyn Marble showed the ability in March to carry Iowa. In a four-game run to the NIT championship game, Marble averaged 24.2 points, 4.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals.
When he's at his best, Marble is able to create for both himself and his teammates and is always under control. But he also has games where he can disappear, as he did with a quiet six points in the NIT championship. If he can play closer to the guy who helped Iowa get to that game and help Iowa earn its first NCAA bid since 2006, Marble could be a surprise Big Ten Player of the Year.
17. C.J. Wilcox, Washington
2012-13 Stats: 16.8 ppg, 1.9 apg, 4.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 1.1 spg
Why He's Here: C.J. Wilcox is a good scorer on a mediocre team. Last year Wilcox simply didn't have enough help after the Huskies lost Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross to the NBA, two players who would still have eligibility remaining.
Wilcox saw his shooting percentages take a slight dip as he had to take on a heavier load in the offense. He still performed admirably; the Huskies just didn't have enough around him.
Things could be slightly easier for Wilcox this year as Lorenzo Romar landed McDonald's All-American point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, and Wilcox was able to take care of a foot issue that bothered him last season.
16. Nik Stauskas, Michigan
2012-13 Stats: 11.0 ppg, 1.3 apg, 3.0 rpg, 44.0 three-point percentage
Why He's Here: Nik Stauskas was one of the best long-distance shooters in the country right away as a freshman last year, and he only figures to get better as his career continues.
How good Stauskas can be this year could depend a lot on Michigan's guard play. He was regularly set up last year by the penetration of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. At the same time, Stauskas makes it easier for Michigan's fellow guards because he creates space with just the threat of his shot.
15. Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
2012-13 Stats: 13.3 ppg, 5.5 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 spg
Why He's Here: Jerian Grant is the classic combo guard. He has the scoring ability and size at 6'5" of a shooting guard, but he can also slide over to the point and create for teammates.
The one thing Grant needs to improve this year is his shooting percentages. He made only 44.6 percent of his twos and 34.4 percent of his threes last season.
14. Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss
2012-13 Stats: 20.1 ppg, 1.8 apg, 3.1 rpg, 1.3 spg
Why He's Here: Marshall Henderson set an NCAA record for three-point attempts (394) in a season. That's a testament to never seeing a shot he didn't like, but it's also a skill. Henderson is great at moving without the ball and catching it always shot-ready.
Now, considering his percentage (35 percent), Henderson would probably be wise to take fewer shots. However, Mississippi's offense was considerably better with Henderson last year, and the attention he demanded made the game easier for his teammates.
13. Jordan Adams, UCLA
2012-13 Stats: 15.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 2.2 spg
Why He's Here: Shabazz Muhammad got most the attention for UCLA last year, but Jordan Adams was the top-performing freshman in Westwood. In fact, the Bruins could benefit this year from Adams taking a bigger role in the offense and Muhammad not around to gobble up a majority of the possessions.
Adams showed an impressive ability to score from the mid-range, and the only thing his game was really lacking was a consistent three-point shot. He made only 30.7 percent of his threes as a freshman, a number that you would think will go up considering how well he shot inside the arc.
12. Aaron Harrison, Kentucky
2012-13 Stats (High school): 18.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 2.2 spg
Why He's Here: Aaron Harrison is the better scorer of the Harrison twins, yet he's the less-heralded of the two. Like his brother, Harrison is a strong penetrator, except he looks to score more when he gets in the paint.
The big thing the Wildcats will need from Harrison this year is a consistent outside shot, something they were missing from their guards last year.
11. Jordan McRae, Tennessee
2012-13 Stats: 15.7 ppg, 2.0 apg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 0.8 spg
Why He's Here: Jordan McRae, the wiry Tennessee guard, went from a benchwarmer early in his career to an All-SEC performer last season.
As much as any shooting guard in the country, McRae has the ability to go off on any given night. He had six games last year when he scored 25-plus, and also went over 30 twice.
10. Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke
2012-13 Stats: 11.6 ppg, 1.9 apg, 3.4 rpg, 0.8 spg
Why He's Here: Mike Krzyzewski noticeably left out Rasheed Sulaimon in early October when he rattled off who would be starting this year. That's not exactly the best endorsement for Sulaimon.
It could just be Coach K giving respect to senior Andre Dawkins, who returned to the team after a year away. In most years, Sulaimon would be a candidate to be an All-American after the freshman season he put together on a veteran Duke team. But with as much talent as Duke has, his numbers might not be much better than last season.
And don't buy too much into Coach K's subtle slight. From what we saw last year, Sulaimon has the ability to be one of the top 2-guards in the country.
9. Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
2012-13 Stats: 17.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.2 spg
Why He's Here: Sean Kilpatrick is a good scorer. Inside the arc, he's a productive scorer. Outside the arc, he shot a career-low 30.7 percent, and he took 267 attempts. Even Marshall Henderson thinks that's ridiculous.
Kilpatrick did shoot above 37 percent his first two years in school, so there's hope he can get back there. But if not, he might want to cool it on the attempts.
8. Tyler Haws, Brigham Young
2012-13 Stats: 21.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.3 spg
Why He's Here: So BYU has a guy who scores a lot and is a shooting guard, and I know what you're thinking... He's the Jimmer 2.0!
Well, actually, Tyler Haws is his own man. Haws is a good three-point shooter (38.1 percent last year), but he lives more in the mid-range.
Last year, Haws had to share shots with Brandon Davies. Now that Davies is gone, Haws could put up Jimmer-like scoring numbers. Just don't call him the Jimmer.
7. Wayne Selden, Kansas
2012-13 Stats (High school): 24.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 4.0 apg (via KU Athletics)
Why He's Here: If it weren't for Andrew Wiggins signing with Kansas, this would be the most-talked about freshman in the program. In fact, Kansas coaches have said that Selden, not Wiggins, has been KU's best player in practice. And then there's this: Sporting News' veteran college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy wrote recently that Selden is the hardest-practicing freshman he's ever encountered.
Selden has a pro's body already. He can drive either direction, has good vision and a nice jumper. Essentially, he's ready to be an impact scorer at the college level right away. If Selden or KU sophomore Perry Ellis lead the Jayhawks in scoring, don't be surprised.
6. P.J. Hairston, North Carolina
2012-13 Stats: 14.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.3 spg
Why He's Here: P.J. Hairston's offseason has to leave North Carolina fans uneasy, but if Hairston can avoid getting in trouble again—do not get behind the wheel, P.J.—his production is hard to argue against.
It was Hairston who essentially saved the Tar Heels from a trip to the NIT last year. Once Roy Williams inserted Hairston into the starting lineup, the Tar Heels won eight of 10 games with the only losses coming to Duke. Hairston averaged 18.2 points the rest of the season.
It's still unknown how many games he'll miss this year, but again, once he gets on the court, expect UNC to be a much better team.
5. Markel Brown, Oklahoma State
2012-13 Stats: 15.3 ppg, 2.4 apg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 spg, 0.8 bpg
Why He's Here: Once upon a time Markel Brown was a great athlete who was one of the best dunkers in college basketball. Brown has turned himself into a future pro by adding a jump shot and learning how to become a scorer.
Brown shot a career-best 36.4 percent from deep last year. His improved shooting numbers had a lot to do with an improved shot, but it was also due to the fact that his movement without the ball has improved. The addition of Marcus Smart setting him up didn't hurt either.
And oh yeah, he can still dunk with the best of them.
4. Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado
2012-13 Stats: 15.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.3 spg
Why He's Here: To see the value of Spencer Dinwiddie, let's go back to last November at the Charleston Classic. Colorado won that tournament with back-to-back wins over Murray State and Baylor, and Dinwiddie had the tall task of guarding two of the best scoring guards in the country, Isaiah Canaan and Pierre Jackson.
They both still got their points, but Dinwiddie made them work. Canaan scored 21 points and needed 19 shots to get there, and Jackson scored 12 points on 11 shots.
Dinwiddie's length and quickness make him an extremely valuable defender, and he's not bad offensively either. As a sophomore, Dinwiddie became a better finisher—he made 47.7 percent of his twos compared to 38 percent as a freshman—and he was great at getting to the line, drawing 6.2 fouls per 40 minutes.
If Dinwiddie starts making threes again—he shot 43.8 percent as a freshman and that dropped to 33.8 percent last year—he has the potential to be an All-American.
3. Joe Harris, Virginia
2012-13 Stats: 16.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.9 spg
Why He's Here: It's hard to imagine Joe Harris being much better than he was last year. As a college player, Harris might have hit his ceiling, but when you're as good as he was, that's not such a bad thing if he can maintain.
Harris should be able to do that considering the team Tony Bennett has put around him continues to get better. Even with those improvements, everything the Cavaliers do should still be geared toward getting Harris the ball.
Harris is extremely tough to guard because you have to put a defender with size on him. At 6'6", he can shoot over smaller guys. With a 42.5 percent three-point shooter, you also have to crowd him on the perimeter, and Harris can combat that with the ability to put the ball on the floor and hit a mid-range jumper or get to the bucket.
And remember this, Harris' 16.3 points per game came for one of the slowest tempo teams in America.
2. Gary Harris, Michigan State
2012-13 Stats: 12.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.3 spg
Why He's Here: Smooth and fundamental comes to mind when you watch Gary Harris. The Michigan State sophomore has a picture-perfect jumper—check out the form in that picture—but what makes Harris a really good shooter is his pre-shot prep. He almost always has his feet set and takes shots in rhythm.
That was as a freshman. His shot-making ability made him extremely valuable to the Spartans.
Listening to Tom Izzo following Michigan State's loss in the NCAA tournament to Duke, Harris could be more than just a shooter this year.
"You have not seen the Gary Harris I recruited yet," Izzo said in March, via MLive.com. "Now he performed better in some ways than I thought he would as a freshman, but as far as the aggressive, take-it-to-the-hole, go-get-a-rebound, we haven't seen him yet."
1. Russ Smith, Lousiville
2012-13 Stats: 18.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.1 spg
Why He's Here: Russ Smith has his flaws. Shot selection has been an issue throughout the last two years, although it improved gradually through last season. Still, there's a reason Rick Pitino calls him "Russdiculous."
There's also a reason Pitino loves the guy. He produces. Smith is a nuisance on the defensive end, and he's extremely difficult to guard on the offensive end.
Skeptics may point to his performance at the Final Four—9-of-33 shooting—but look at what he did to get Louisville there. In the first four tourney games, Smith averaged 26 points, made 65.8 percent of his twos and shot 40 free throws. His ability to get to get to the line makes up for some of those questionable shots.
Sure, Smith has his moments when his basketball judgment isn't the best, but when he's on and locked in, he can be the most dominant player in college basketball.
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