College basketball is a guard-dominated game.
There is no player in the backcourt that has a greater effect on the pace, style and outcome of a game than the point guard—making it the most important position on a team.
There is a ton of talent at the point guard position in the NCAA this season, thanks in large part to some returning stars and a freshman class loaded with point guard talent.
We've ranked the top 25 point guards in the nation (with highlight videos of each). Granted, it's early in the season and there is a lot of basketball to be played, so there will likely be some shakeup in the rankings come season's end. Still, we've seen enough out of the players on our list to make our projections for the rest of the year.
Who's the best floor general in the nation? Click through to find out.
Ray McCallum turned down offers from some big-time programs to play for his father at Detroit.
He's an elite athlete in a small package who has the advanced feel for the game you would expect from the son of a college coach.
While he's not a high-volume scorer or a particularly dangerous shooter at this stage of his career, McCallum excels at creating for others and running an offense.
Detroit will need him to score more than he would need to had he gone to Florida or another top school, but he certainly has what it takes to grow into the role of a scoring guard.
Don't expect a lot of attention on McCallum this season. Also, don't be surprised to see him in a few jaw-dropping highlights, either.
Iman Shumpert decided not to follow Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal to the NBA last season (not that he would have been a high pick). As a result, he remains as the de-facto star at Georgia Tech this season.
He's a 6'5" combo guard who is at his best when focused on offense, Shumpert has gone back and forth between playing the point and playing the shooting guard role at Tech. While M'fon Udofia is a more natural point, Shumpert is the one with the ball in his hands running the offense.
Shumpert averaged 10 points and four assists per game last year, but he showed flashes of being an elite ACC player.
He needs to develop consistency this season since he isn't surrounded with much talent, but he has the skills to succeed and keep his NBA prospects alive.
Joe Jackson is continuing the trend of talented point guards playing for Memphis, even in the post-John Calipari era of Tigers basketball.
Jackson is an excellent athlete who makes up for his 5'11" height with fantastic leaping ability. He's a scoring point guard who can get into the lane consistently and finish.
As a freshman, there are certainly areas Jackson needs to work on—he's not a great shooter and his decision-making can be suspect.
Still, Jackson gives the Tigers an athletic point guard likely to stick around for a few seasons (something that doesn't happen too often at Memphis). He'll grow into his role this year, consistently showing flashes of his potential in years to come.
Not many people outside the Horizon League had heard of Norris Cole before he scored 22 points as his No. 13 seeded Cleveland State Vikings defeated No. 4 seed Wake Forest in the 2009 NCAA tournament.
Now a senior, Cole has built a reputation as an outstanding scoring point guard. He averaged 16.3 points per game and 4.4 assists last season, and he's expected to do even better this year.
Cole is not an explosive athlete, but he uses what he has to its fullest potential. He takes care of the ball and runs the Vikings' offense efficiently, rarely sacrificing the smart play in an attempt to do something spectacular.
Cleveland State doesn't get a lot of attention, so Cole isn't someone a lot of people know well. As an experienced senior, he's still one of the best point guards in the NCAA despite being out of the spotlight.
What is it with the Washington Huskies and incredibly athletic, yet small, point guards?
Isaiah Thomas isn't quite Nate Robinson, but he's a tremendous athlete who excels in transition.
Last year, Thomas put up 16.9 points per game to go along with 3.2 assists. He actually averaged more rebounds than assists, which is odd for a point guard who is only 5'8".
He needs to work on his outside shot and his ability to take care of the ball to take his game to the NBA, but he's certainly a lot of fun to watch on the college level.
Thomas will benefit from an older Abdul Gaddy assisting him with running the offense and allowing him to focus on scoring, and he'll certainly be one of the best point guards in the Pac-10.
The Florida Gators made it back to the NCAA tournament last season after a two-year hiatus.
They have returned all five of their double-digit scorers from last season, including Erving Walker.
Walker averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 assists per game last year. He shoots the ball well and does a good job taking care of the ball, especially considering that he was just a sophomore last year running the Gators' offense as the primary ball-handler for the first time after Nick Calathes' surprising departure to play pro ball in Greece.
He's not a very big player at 5'8", but he has a good amount of strength to help compensate. Florida has a chance to be a very good team this year, and Walker provides them with a solid presence at the point.
Brad Wanamaker isn't the typical college point guard.
He's a 6'4" player with a solid frame who doesn't posses extreme speed or athleticism, but he gets the job done consistently at a program that has put up a lot of wins in his time.
Last year, Wanamaker averaged 12.3 points per game and 4.7 assists. He has a smooth stroke and can score with versatility. He also grabbed 5.7 rebounds per game a season ago—not bad for a point guard.
Pittsburgh has what it takes to be one of the best teams in the nation this season, and Wanamaker gives them a steady contributor running the offense who can occasionally go off on the offensive end of the floor.
The fact that Durand Scott plays for the Miami Hurricanes (the ACC's worst team last season) keeps him out of the media spotlight.
Even if you've barely (or never) heard of him, Scott is one of the best point guards in the country.
Scott isn't the kind of point guard who is going to shoot a team out of the building, nor is he a prolific distributor at this stage in his career.
He does, however, excel at slashing to the basket and putting points on the board. He has an explosive first step and finishes well in traffic.
Things really started to click for Scott at the end of last season. He raised a lot of eyebrows in the ACC tournament, particularly with his 29-point performance against Duke.
If he continues to play like he did at the close of last year, he won't go relatively unnoticed for much longer.
Scoop Jardine isn't the type of player to dazzle viewers with his athleticism or explosiveness, but he's a crafty point guard who has proven to be very productive at Syracuse.
Jardine averaged 9.1 points and 4.3 assists last season and his production is expected to increase this year after the departure of Wesley Johnson and Andy Rautins.
He's a good decision-maker who understands the nuances of the game better than most. Jim Boeheim will be counting on his leadership and savvy to help carry the Orange to another successful season this year.
Syracuse has a new look this year after the departure of several stars last season, but Jardine provides some much needed experience and consistency at the point.
Penn State was one of the worst teams in the Big Ten last year, but Talor Battle was one of the best players in the conference regardless. He was the conference's second-leading scorer, averaging 18.5 points per game.
Battle is a bit of an enigma on the offensive end. He isn't an exceptional athlete, nor does he shoot a particularly high percentage from the field or from the free-throw line.
He does, however, posses a killer scoring mentality, constantly attacking the basket and looking for his shot at all times. That relentlessness can wear defenders down as they never get a moment of letdown. His last name is definitely fitting.
The Big Ten is one of the best conferences in basketball this year (if not the best) and Penn State isn't poised to make much noise. Battle, however, is still one of the best point guards in the conference.
Maalik Wayns wasn't a featured player in his freshman season behind Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes. He was impressive, however, while on the court.
This season, Wayns will share the point guard duties with Fisher even though they are on the court at the same time (think Chris Duhon and Jason Williams at Duke).
While Fisher is the better shooter, Wayns is excellent penetrating guard who can score around the basket. He is an exceptional transition player, getting up and down the court with a ton of speed.
Wayns is also a very good distributor thanks in large part to his ability to get into the lane and collapse defenses.
Villanova has developed a great reputation as a guard-oriented program, and Wayns is an elite player ready to shine for the Wildcats.
Ohio State lost Evan Turner to the NBA, but they kept some fantastic players to compliment their touted recruiting class.
William Buford is one of those players, and he's one of the primary reasons why the expectations for the Buckeyes' season are so high.
This is the first year that Buford will be Ohio State's primary point guard, but he has the talent to do well at the position. He's certainly a perimeter-oriented point guard who is far more likely to pull up from long range than dribble his way into the lane, but he is an above average college athlete who can finish above the rim when he gets to the basket.
He's also one of the bigger point guards in the game at 6'5" and 205 pounds.
Buford has plenty of weapons to pass to this season, making his transition to the point much easier. By the time conference play starts, he could cement himself as one of the best point guards in the game.
The 2009-10 season is one that most Connecticut fans want to forget about, but it was a successful one for Kemba Walker—he averaged 14.6 points and 5.1 assists per game for the Huskies last season.
It didn't take long for Walker to remind college fans of his abilities this season. In just his second game of the year, he scored 42 points and grabbed eight boards.
Walker is an athletic point guard who is at his best when he's attacking the basket. He's a decent shooter, but it's his ability to get into the lane and score or dish to an open player in the paint that makes him one of the best point guards in the country.
The Huskies might be flying under the radar this year, but Walker is talented enough to carry his team past the modest expectations.
Malcolm Delaney is, without doubt, one of the most underrated players in the nation. He is also one of the best point guards the NCAA has to offer.
Last season, Delaney led the ACC in scoring with 20.2 points per game. He puts the ball in the basket in a variety of ways, but he isn't a sharpshooter nor is he the type of player who blazes past defenders with blinding speed. He isn't non-athletic by any means, nor is he a less-than-capable shooter. He simply isn't elite in any one of those categories.
Delaney puts himself in position to score at a high rate with a great combination of I.Q. and will, and he takes advantage of every opportunity.
He also gets to the line as well anyone in the country. Last season, he averaged over eight free-throw attempts per game.
Virginia Tech is expected to have a strong season. Delaney is the reason for those expectations.
Kansas State is a program that has been on the rise over the last four years, and Jacob Pullen has been a big part of their ascension.
Last season, Pullen had the definition of a breakout year. His scoring saw a big jump to 19.3 points per game thanks to his proficiency as a perimeter shooter.
This year, he's running the Wildcats' offense for the first time as the primary ball handler (Denis Clemente filled that role for the past few seasons).
He's never been a great distributor, but his offensive potency makes him one of the most dangerous point guards in the Big 12.
Kevin Anderson earned the honor of being last season's Atlantic 10 Player of the Year for one reason—he's good.
He's not the particularly tall or strong for the position, but he is extremely quick (has a great first step) and skilled at getting into the lane and finishing around the basket.
Last season, he averaged 17.8 points per game but struggled taking care of the ball. With Justin Harper stepping up as another legitimate scoring option for Richmond, Anderson should have more freedom to create his shot and look for teammates this season.
He's not a great shooter, but his quickness and creativity at getting to the basket put him on this list.
Josh Selby is one of the most dynamic point guards coming into college basketball. Thankfully for Kansas fans, the NCAA just ruled that he'll be able to play starting in mid-December.
Selby is an athletic freak of a guard. He can blow by defenders with a quick first step and great handles at a high rate, and he can finish creatively at, or above, the rim.
He's the kind of player who will make spectacular plays regularly, but he isn't known to excel at getting his teammates involved in the offense. He has solid teammates in the Morris twins and Tyshawn Taylor, but it remains to be seen how he'll mesh with the upperclassmen on the court.
That said, Selby certainly has the talent and scoring punch needed to keep the Jayhawks in the national picture despite their mass exodus of talent after last season.
Chris Wright has spent a lot of his time at Georgetown in the shadow of players like Greg Monroe, Jonathan Wallace and Roy Hibbert.
As a senior, Wright is poised for a big season and some much-deserved time in the spotlight.
Last year, Wright had a solid season on a very good Georgetown team. He averaged 15.2 points and 4.1 assists per game. This season, he'll be one of the Hoyas' top options on offense as well as their best playmaker.
Wright is a very good athlete with a strong frame that allows him to out-muscle most opposing point guards. He can get up and down the court at a high speed and finish in transition. He possesses a dangerous shot, especially on catch-and-shoot situations.
As a player with a ton of in-game experience and all the assets an elite college point guard needs, Wright is poised to be one of the best point guards in the NCAA.
Shelvin Mack was one of the biggest reasons the Butler Bulldogs made it to the NCAA finals last season, and he's arguably the primary reason that the Bulldogs are held in high regard again this year despite the loss of Gordon Hayward to the NBA.
Butler runs their offense with two point guards on the court together in Mack and Ronald Nored. Mack focuses more on scoring and Nored is the primary distributor.
At 6'3" and 215 pounds, Mack's build makes him a tough matchup for opposing guards. He uses his strength to his advantage and can muscle his way inside, but he's most dangerous as a shooter.
Mack possesses deep range and shoots a high percentage from behind the arc (close to 40 percent last season).
As one of the most experienced point guards playing for a top-25 team this year, a lot is expected out of Mack. There is no reason to believe he won't excel in his new role as Butler's top option on offense.
Replacing a talent like John Wall is no small task. Fortunately for Kentucky fans, Wildcat coach John Calipari brought Brandon Knight to Lexington as a part of yet another star-studded freshman class.
Knight was considered a top-10 recruit coming into college basketball, and he's done nothing but prove that not only is he one of the best freshman in America, he's one of the best point guards in the nation regardless of class.
He is certainly a score-first point guard, but he puts the ball in the basket at a high volume. He is adept at creating his shot off the dribble and he has a great first step to go along with elite athleticism.
Knight will get compared to Wall often, but they are different players. While Wall might be the better transition player, Knight is a better shooter.
Kentucky fans would do well to put the comparisons aside and enjoy Knight for the player that he is—he's a star in his own right.
After a disappointing end to last season and the loss of star point guard Scottie Reynolds to graduation, a lot of people (myself included) have been somewhat suspicious of Villanova's high rank going into this season.
Corey Fisher is one of the biggest reasons the Wildcats are expected to fight Pittsburgh for the Big East title.
Fisher may share point guard duties with sophomore Maalik Wayns, but he's definitely the guy Wildcat fans expect to fill Reynold's shoes.
He's a deadly shooter from long range, especially in catch-and-shoot situations. He averaged right at 40 percent from the three-point line last year.
His scoring is expected to make a jump this season from the 13.3 points per game he put up last year, and Fisher definitely has the offensive game to put up big numbers (he did drop 105 points in a summer league game this offseason).
This is the first season in which Fisher has been Villanova's primary ball-handler, but he's got the goods to be one of the premier point guards in the nation night in and night out.
After Kalin Lucas injured his Achilles tendon in the NCAA tournament last year, a lot of people wrote off Michigan State as a Final Four contender.
Even though the Spartans reached the Final Four for the second straight year, it's not hard to see why people were skeptical of their chances—Lucas was Michigan State's best player.
Back from his injury, Lucas is leading one of the most talented and experienced squads in the nation.
A lot of people wonder whether or not Lucas' injury will slow him down, but he was never a lightning-quick point guard to begin with. His jump shot keeps defenses honest and he's crafty at getting into the lane and capable of scoring in traffic regularly, but he's never needed to be the quickest guy on the court to get the job done.
Lucas' biggest strengths, though, are his intangibles. He makes good decisions and runs the Spartans' offense efficiently, getting his teammates involved and setting the tone for intensity and focus. He's a natural leader who commands the respect of his teammates.
The Spartans have a serious shot at a title this season, and Lucas gives them one of the most proven point guards in the country at the helm.
Demetri McCamey is one of the best players in the Big Ten, and he's easily one of the best point guards in the nation.
Last year, McCamey put up 15.1 points and an NCAA-best 7.1 assists per game. He is a fantastic shooter who can create his own shot consistently as well as spot up off the ball.
He isn't a dominant athlete, but he plays to his strengths and has a killer instinct on offense. Not many players in the country have the ability to put points on the board like McCamey while still dishing out assists at a high volume.
If he continues to improve like he did last season, McCamey will be on a short list of the best point guards in the nation at season's end. That's why we have him at No. 3 on our list.
Some people were surprised when Jimmer Fredette was named a preseason AP All-American—they shouldn't have been.
Fredette was amazing last season. He averaged 22.1 points and shot a ridiculous 44 percent from behind the arc.
He's much more than just a shooter, though. Though he doesn't possess elite athleticism, he gets into the lane consistently and finishes in traffic at a high rate. He's also a solid passer who averaged close to five assists per game last year.
Fredette can completely take over a game offensively. He had seven games last season in which he scored 30 points or more last season, including two games in which he scored 45 or more.
As a senior who has proven to be dominant in the past, he's our runner-up in the top point guard countdown. art of what keeps him from being at the top of our list is the lack of talent around him to help share the load, which has resulted in him having some inconsistency from game to game as defenses can throw everything they have at him.
Still, Fredette is easily one of the top three point guards in the country.
Kyrie Irving came into the season with a lot of hype as a top-three recruit.
He has certainly lived up to the expectations so far. His debut performance of 17 points and nine assists is arguably the best debut by any freshman point guard in Duke history.
Irving has next-level athleticism and speed, and he possesses great court vision and passing abilities. His scoring capabilities can't be overstated as he's just as dangerous cutting to the basket as he is from long range (he's currently shooting better than 50 percent from behind the three-point line).
Forget the fact that he's a freshman. Irving is the real deal and he is certainly talented and skilled enough to keep the Blue Devils at the top of college basketball.
Some might take issue with a freshman point guard taking the No. 1 spot on our top 25 list, especially over a guy like Fredette who has proven so much. A lot of those people probably haven't seen Irving play.
That said, this list is about projecting success along with individual achievement. Irving is as impressive as they come individually, and he has a ton of talent around him which will only make him look better.
By the end of the season, Irving could certainly be the most dominant point guard in college basketball.