College Basketball: The 20 Quickest Players in the Country
Basketball is a game of speed.
The quicker a player is, the better chance he has of getting easy baskets for himself and his teammates. In college basketball, the quickest players shine above the rest.
I have compiled a list of 20 players that are playing college basketball next season. Some of them are returning stars, others are players to look for and some are even incoming freshmen. While these may not the most talented players, these are surely the quick playmakers for each team.
Enjoy, and feel free to let me know if I missed anyone.
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
While quickness may not be the North Carolina standout's forte, Harrison Barnes has a quick first step.
He can get around his man, and he has the ability to get to the rim easily. His size allows him to seal off a defender, which facilitates his quickness to the basket. He can also shoot the ball, which allows him to beat off-balance defenders.
After passing on the NBA draft, Barnes will be another terror for ACC opponents next season.
Will Barton, Memphis
Will Barton is a tremendous athlete.
He is quick off the dribble, and he can get to the rim at will. If he eliminates his turnovers and bad three-pointers, he could make the Memphis Tigers a force again next season.
As a freshman, Barton was slightly overwhelmed as a point guard. Next season, he should mature, which will allow him to make better decisions, which could propel Memphis into the Sweet Sixteen.
Allen Crabbe, California
Although he is known for his shooting, Allen Crabbe is an extremely quick player.
Coming around screens, Crabbe has a great catch-and-shoot ability. In addition, he has one of the quickest up-fakes, which is usually followed by a dribble and shot. While he does not get to the rim very often, he uses his quickness to free himself for high-percentage threes.
As he grows, Crabbe's shot selection will improve, which should allow him to shoot a higher percentage. If he uses his quickness more to get to the free-throw line (80 percent), he will continue to add to his point totals.
Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Aaron Craft is more known for his play without the ball.
As a freshman, he emerged as Ohio State's defensive stopper. He used his lateral quickness to beat opponents to spots, which prevented them from penetrating the lane.
There are not many quicker defenders in the country, and as he continues to grow, Craft will become even more effective.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
So what if he doesn't have his dad's crossover? Tim Hardaway Jr. is still pretty darn quick off the dribble.
As a freshman, you could see his raw athleticism. Every now and then, he would make a good basketball play. For the most part, however, he relied on his quickness and instincts to succeed.
With growth, Hardaway Jr. will be a more refined player. Until then, he will continue to rely on his speed to score and defend.
Tu Holloway, Xavier
Yes, his name is actually Tu. His birth name was Terrell, but now, he is officially Tu Holloway.
If you haven't heard of Holloway yet, you should learn quickly. He was named third-team All-American last season, and he is looking to build on his 20 points per game. He gets to the rim, and he can find teammates when necessary (5.4 assists per game last year).
As the leader of Xavier, Holloway will need to continue improving. His athleticism is unquestioned. Now, he simply needs to take his game to the next level.
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
Although he hangs around the three-point line, John Jenkins is a quick guard. His release is one of the quickest in all of college basketball, and he has been hitting threes since he got to Vanderbilt.
If he can develop a pull-up jumper, Jenkins could become lethal. Like I said, his release is incredibly quick. If he develops his quickness off the dribble, Jenkins could turn the Commodores into an SEC power.
Orlando Johnson, UCSB
Orlando Johnson is a big guy. He plays guard and forward for UCSB, and he scores more than 20 points per game. His physicality is impressive, but his quickness often goes unnoticed.
Johnson is deceptively quick, for he will suddenly blow by a defender. Although he is not widely known, he is a tremendous player.
He needs to cut down on his turnovers, but other than that, Johnson uses his quickness to score a ton of points for the Gauchos.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette
Marquette is never short of athletes. Darius Johnson-Odom is no exception.
Whether it is defensively or offensively, Johnson-Odom can change a game. His speed and tempo can fluster opponents, which allows the Golden Eagles to play their game. Consequently, Johnson-Odom could be considered a motor for Marquette.
Coupled with his clutch play, Johnson-Odom uses his leadership to motivate Marquette.
Kevin Jones, West Virginia
Kevin Jones is an athletic player, but he is not necessarily quick with the ball.
Off the ball (defensively and offensively), he can create a lot of havoc. Once he improves his ball-handling skills, his quickness will inherently make him a great scorer.
While Jones is a work in progress, I think his hard work and quickness will allow him to become a tremendous offensive player.
DeAndre Kane, Marshall
DeAndre Kane is an NBA-sized guard that knows how to score the basketball.
He is still a young player, but Kane has all the tools to become a contributor in the NBA. It is a long way off, but his athleticism and quickness could be fit for the top level.
Right now, he is still improving his game, but Kane has all the physical tools. He just needs to add some facets to his game.
Doron Lamb, Kentucky
Guess what! John Calipari actually has multiple players coming back. Even though he makes a new contender each year, this coming year may look similar to last season's Final Four team.
Doron Lamb is a major reason Kentucky had a successful regular season. Unfortunately, he cooled off in the NCAA tournament. Don't expect him to forget that.
As this quick guard improves his all-around game, the Wildcats continue to improve. I believe he will cause a lot of problems next year, and he should be a big contributor in March.
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Kendall Marshall is a true playmaker. His ability to beat his defender off the dribble is incredible, and it allows him to create for his teammates.
He thrives in North Carolina's up-tempo style, and he runs one of the best offenses in the country. With great talent around him, it is tough not to imagine the Tar Heels making a serious run at the national title.
With Marshall's incredible quickness and good decision-making at the helm, anything is possible for Roy Williams & Co.
Ray McCallum, Detroit
Ray McCallum is a smart point guard that prides himself on making good decisions.
He has the ability to get into the lane and disrupt defenses, which makes him one of the most dangerous guards in the country. His quickness puts him on another level.
McCallum constantly frees himself from defenders, which allows him to create a lot of good scoring opportunities. As he matures, I expect a lot of great things from this Detroit Titan.
T.J. McConnell, Duquesne
Although he is undersized, T.J. McConnell is a force. His quickness definitely has something to do with it.
While his shooting is a work in progress, McConnell can get to the rim. In doing so, he is able to score a lot of points in the paint.
If he develops an outside shot, McConnell will become lethal. Combined with his great quickness, a shot would make him one of the best players in the Atlantic 10.
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
Shabazz Napier was an X-factor for the UConn Huskies.
His quickness would change the tempo of the game, and he would liberate Kemba Walker to dominate. The two players complemented each other well, and that is a main reason they were able to win the national championship.
Napier is going to shoulder more responsibility this year, but I think he is more than capable to handle it. His athleticism is incredible, and his basketball IQ is increasing. Both of those things make me believe that UConn will have a strong team to defend its title.
Trevor Releford, Alabama
Trevor Releford started for Alabama right away, and for good reason.
The point guard is one of the quickest players in the SEC, and he is trying to make Alabama relevant in basketball. While he may not succeed at doing that, his presence makes them a dangerous team.
The Crimson Tide are trying to turn their program around, and if it happens, Releford will be a major reason why.
Austin Rivers, Duke
Austin Rivers is one of the nation's top recruits. Many regard him as the best scorer in the class of 2011, and he is looking to prove that next season at Duke.
Rivers has an uncanny ability to get to the basket, and his ability to blow by defenders is incredible. Coach K will know exactly how to use him, which will allow Rivers to thrive.
Doc Rivers' son is an incredible talent, and his quickness will allow him to dominate in many facets of the game.
Terrell Stoglin, Maryland
Terrell Stoglin is an extremely mature point guard. He sees the floor well, and he makes the right passes at the right times.
The southpaw is extremely quick, and he kills opponents off screens. His finishing will improve as he gets stronger, but right now, he relies simply on blowing by opponents to score.
Stoglin is a great talent, and I'm sure that he will have Maryland competing in the ACC for the next few years.
Marquis Teague, Kentucky
Just like his brother, Teague has a tenacity and determination to get to the rim. He uses his incredible quickness to blow by opponents. Once he learns how to attack a zone, Teague could become a superstar in college.
Obviously, there is going to be a learning curve. As a freshman, however, I think that Teague will make an immediate impact as a Kentucky Wildcat.