After the big move, I continue this series, which is nearing its completion.
This category obviously focuses on talented point guards in the league, based on assists-per-minute. However, as I research more I’ve noticed this statistic is hugely dependent on the shooting prowess of the players around the point guard.
Now, for the standard explanation of this whole process (you can skip this if you’ve read it before):
- These awards are meant to effectively and accurately pick the best (and worst) performers in each category. Thus, a line was drawn roughly around the area of 15 games played and/or 40 minutes—one full game—played as a minimum. This was done to limit the effect of outliers bringing to our attention surprising walk-on's that could be, according to the stats, future superstars
- Obviously, these awards are not all-encompassing. Players that transferred or any other players that didn’t play for any reason last season are not included.
- Be sure to understand that each of these categories, alone, are misleading. For example, if a player won Least Minutes/Assist but also finished last in Least Minutes/Turnover, it is not as impressive. Combining these rankings and statistics will give a more clear and well-rounded picture, but these rankings are fun nonetheless.
The winner is...
Nick Calathes—Florida, Overseas—5.19—Last Year: 5.31
Calathes was one of the greatest true point guards this league has seen in a long while. Calathes was a spectacular leader on and off the court, could handle the ball with extreme care, was a dead-eye shooter, and possessed an outstanding knowledge of the game.
Florida’s chances at making noise this season dropped drastically when Calathes decided to go pro in Greece.
2. Courtney Fortson—Arkansas, Sophomore—5.53—Last Year: N.A.
The Razorbacks would have been absolutely lost without Fortson a year ago. Fortson has energy to spare and is a solid shot, but may be the league’s only player who can compare his awareness to that of Nick Calathes as a freshman/sophomore.
Fortson could stand to be a bit less selfish, as he took too many shots at too small a percentage, but he looks to be one of the league’s future stars.
3. Kevin Galloway—Kentucky, Senior—5.77—Last Year: N.A.
Galloway saw a decent amount of minutes last season, and started five times, but isn’t a talented enough all-around player to be a true role-player for the Kentucky Blue. His ability to see the open man is impressive, however, and he should serve as a legitimate option off the bench at point guard for Kentucky next season.
4. DeAndre Liggins—Kentucky, Sophomore—6.00—Last Year: N.A.
Liggins had one goal as a freshman: get the ball to Meeks. With Meeks gone to the NBA and a couple of much-hyped ball-handlers recruited into the program, Liggins will likely be playing backup in 2009-10.
Complementing that fact was Liggins’ poor shooting and aptitude to turn the ball over, as this stat was fluffed big-time by Meeks’ 40 percent three-point percentage.
5. Chris Bass—LSU, Sophomore—6.42—Last Year: N.A.
Bass’ assist-to-turnover ratio in his limited minutes were nothing short of jaw-dropping, but he did nothing else well. He was a liability as a shooter, and shied away from physical contact. Bass has a lot of improving to do before he can contribute heavily for the Tigers.
6. Zac Swansey—Georgia, Transfer—6.92—Last Year: 10.24
Plagued with off-court issues, Swansey and Felton agreed that a transfer would be best for his future playing opportunities. Georgia lost a very competent ball-handler, but a ball-hog who didn’t bring down nearly as many shots as he should have.
7. Twany Beckham—Mississippi State, Sophomore—7.10—Last Year: N.A.
Recently discovering two bone spurs, one in each hip, Beckham learned that he won’t be able to play this season. This will give the red-shirted sophomore an opportunity to work on his aggression and ball-handling, both of which need to improve.
Beckham played point for State’s “second team” as it was known, and that spot should fall to either Stewart or Turner this season.
8. Devan Downey—South Carolina, Senior—7.28—Last Year: 6.96
Most hoops fans across the nation know about Downey at this point, as he is small, quick, and agile along with serving as a massively potent leader for the Gamecocks. Downey shoots well and makes excellent decisions, and this stat sagged almost entirely due to his surrounding cast and not himself.
9. Dee Bost—Mississippi State, Sophomore—7.29—Last Year: N.A.
Perhaps one of the most all-around impressive freshman in 2008-09, Bost seems destined to be a star in the SEC. Bost showed senior-like leadership, was one of the league’s best ball-handlers, and shot competently. Regardless of who you are, an assist-to-turnover ratio of more than 1.5 is impressive for a freshman.
10. Dustin Ware—Georgia, Sophomore—7.44—Last Year: N.A.
Ware would certainly be nominated for a most underrated SEC freshman award, as his performance was very, very solid in every aspect of the game. Ware is a very good shooter and impressive decision-maker, and handles the ball very well—especially for a sophomore-to-be. Ware should be a talented anchor for Fox’s upcoming Georgia squad.
The opposite end of the spectrum...
1. Festus Ezeli—Vanderbilt, Sophomore—360.00—Last Year: N.A.
2. Malcolm White—Ole Miss, Transfer—255.67—Last Year: N.A.
3. Sam Muldrow—South Carolina, Junior—182.00—Last Year: 53.88
4. Kenny Kadji—Florida, Sophomore—106.50—Last Year: N.A.
5. Yamene Coleman—Alabama, Left Team—91.50—Last Year: 51.00
6. Austin Steed—South Carolina, Junior—89.80—Last Year: 29.00
7. Mike Holmes—South Carolina, Junior—71.08—Last Year: 51.25
8. Albert Jackson—Georgia, Senior—55.36—Last Year: 37.07
9. Elgin Bailey—Mississippi State, Junior—48.33—Last Year: 212.00
10. Lance Gouldbourne—Vanderbilt, Sophomore—46.43—Last Year: N.A.