College Basketball Recruiting 2012: Ranking the 10 Best Undecided Point Guards
The college basketball recruiting season is in full swing, and many of the pieces for 2012 are beginning to fall into place.
Numerous schools are in the market for a point guard to lead their team and, although a number of prospects have already taken the leap of faith, there are many recruits who are still undecided.
Most recruiting gurus regard this as a relatively weak year for point guards, but there is still considerable talent to be had near the top of the class.
The following are the 10 best point guards who have yet to pick a school for 2012.
Please note that guys like Rodney Purvis, who project to be shooting guards at the next level, were excluded.
10. Semaj Christon
Christon is a long and athletic prospect who reclassified from the 2011-2012 class and has been gaining attention ever since.
He has great speed and ball-handling ability, so he is a pleasure to watch in transition.
He is also a reliable scorer and can knock down mid-range and three-point jumpers off the dribble.
His biggest asset is his defensive potential.
He is already a great rebounder for his position, but his long arms and quickness could make him a defensive terror at the next level.
Christon's decision-making could still use some polishing, as he has a tendency to gamble on defense and try to force plays on offense.
Christon said his top schools currently include Georgetown, Providence, Xavier and Louisville.
9. Ray Lee
Lee is one of the more athletic point guards in this class.
He has the speed and quickness to blow past defenders and is an exceptional finisher around the rim.
Like many top guard prospects, he has a scoring mentality. He is difficult to stop in transition or when he gets in the lane, but his perimeter shot still needs some refinement.
He possesses the court vision and athletic ability to become a great facilitator, but he has not yet been forced into that role.
Lee will likely require some time to get adjusted to playing lead guard at the collegiate level, but he should eventually develop into a decent floor general as long as he is given a clearly defined role by the coaching staff.
He has stated that he does not currently have any favorite schools, but his home state school (Michigan) looks to be in good position to eventually grab him.
Among the other schools involved are Michigan State, Ohio State, USC, Georgetown and Syracuse.
8. Mike Gesell
Gesell is an aggressive scorer who has a lot of experience playing off the ball.
He excels at finishing around the rim, but he also has a very dangerous three-point shot.
He is surprisingly athletic and has no problem playing above the rim.
He will need some time to adjust to becoming a full-time point guard at the collegiate level, as he split his time in high school and AAU playing both guard spots.
He still has a score-first mindset, but he should be able to become more of a facilitator with repetition.
At 6'1", Gesell does not possess great size. He is deceptively strong, but he will need to improve defensively if he wants to defend some of the quicker guards on the perimeter.
Finally, his biggest two assets may be his intelligence and his work ethic.
He shines both in and out of the classroom and should provide a solid presence in any locker room.
Gesell has not vocalized any clear leaders up to this point, but he is considering Iowa, Stanford, Nebraska, Harvard, Boston College and Utah.
7. Nino Jackson
Jackson is an explosive scorer and is always looking for ways to attack the basket.
He excels in getting up and down the court in transition, but he can also get to the rim while in half court.
He possesses a solid mid-range jumper but needs to improve his consistency from beyond the arc.
Jackson's main issue is that he plays like an attacking 2-guard in a point guard's body.
Although he claims that he is 6'3", he appears to be closer to 6'0". His excellent jumping ability makes up for some of the issues presented by his size, but he will have a difficult time defending bigger guards at the collegiate level.
Also, due to his scoring mentality, he often looks for his own shot instead of setting it up for others. He is an underrated passer, but he needs to improve his court vision and adopt more of a distributor's mentality.
He stated in the spring that Kansas was his favorite, and not much appears to have changed since then.
6. James Robinson
Robinson is arguably one of the most polished point guards in this class.
He lacks elite athleticism, but he makes up for it by being fundamentally sound in every other area.
He is a great ball-handler and even a better passer. He has also a proficient mid-range game, which helps to keep defenders honest.
Most importantly, the kid has a great attitude and is willing to do what it takes to win. He is a true floor general who will make his teammates better through his unselfishness and basketball IQ.
Robinson may never develop into a star player, but he will lead a team to a lot of victories if he is surrounded by the right play-makers.
Virginia is currently at the top of his list, and it will take some considerable effort for another team to pass them.
5. L.J. Rose
Rose's main strengths come from his high basketball IQ and shooting ability.
He is lacking in the areas of speed and quickness, so he won't blow past defenders, but his size and intelligence help him to overcome this deficit and make him difficult to guard one-on-one.
His three-point range makes him a legitimate scoring threat, but he needs to improve his consistency shooting off the dribble.
Court vision is also a strength for Rose, as he has a knack for finding the open man on the court. He compensates for his lack of elite athleticism by being a very deliberate decision-maker, which can sometimes become a negative when it slows down the rhythm of the offense and gives defenders more time to read and react.
Rose is still considering a number of different schools, but with the recent commitment of Dominic Artis to UCLA, he appears to most likely be headed to Texas.
4. Kareem Canty
Canty is one of the more balanced point guards in this class.
Although he can put up points in bunches, he also makes a conscious effort to find his open teammates.
He is an excellent ball-handler who has no problem making plays off the dribble.
He is a great passer and utilizes this skill to his team's advantage while penetrating the defense or in transition to find the open man.
Canty is highly competitive, which is a valuable asset, but it can also cause him to take questionable shots or try to force passes.
Most of the weaknesses in his game are in the mental department, which means that they should be amended with some coaching and hard work.
With a few minor improvements, he has the potential to develop into one of the best collegiate lead guards in the nation.
Canty stated earlier this month that his recruitment was still wide open. Among the schools recruiting him are Washington, Baylor, Miami, Seton Hall, Xavier, Illinois and Oklahoma.
3. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera
Smith-Rivera's main strength comes from his versatility.
He can score from inside or out, as he possesses a soft jump shot and the size and strength to dominate his defender down low.
He is neither an elite athlete nor a high-flyer, but he is deceptively quick and can usually find a way to get around his defender.
Smith-Rivera is arguably the best rebounding point guard in the class.
His strength and attitude allow him to scrap inside for loose balls. His passing ability allows him to be a big-assist guy.
You won't see him taking over games at the college level, but he will be able to stuff the stat sheet and will likely flirt with some triple-doubles.
He is a former Xavier commitment, but says that Texas, Georgetown, Xavier and Louisville are all on equal footing for him.
2. J-Mychal Reese
Reese is easily one of the most explosive players in the 2012 class.
His speed and quickness allow him to blow past defenders and get to the rim, where he possesses an uncanny ability to put the ball in the basket.
He can finish at the rim as well as anyone, but he also has a smooth runner and pull-up jump shot when the paint is crowded.
His shooting range is a strength, as he has no problem knocking down open threes.
The bottom line is that Reese is an elite scorer at the point guard position. Given his score-first mentality, he could use some work in his decision-making, as he often takes ill-advised shots or neglects to recognize the open man.
His speed and footwork allow him to defend the ball pretty well, but he needs to improve his strength in order to match up with bigger guards.
Reese has a number of offers but seems to be leaning toward Kansas.
1. Kris Dunn
Dunn is regarded as a combo guard because of the way he excels at playing off the ball.
However, his ball-handling skills and play-maker mentality will necessitate him playing the point in college.
He is a big-time scorer who can knock down open shots on the perimeter or penetrate the lane and finish at the rim.
Despite his scoring abilities, he is more of a pass-first guy when running the point.
He goes out of his way to get his teammates involved on offense, which sometimes causes him to pass up good looks.
Dunn is a fine athlete and has the quickness and length to develop into an exceptional on-ball defender. He does not shy away from rebounding, and he compares himself to Rajon Rondo in that regard.
Like many players his age, Dunn's biggest weaknesses come in the mental aspect of the game.
He is prone to make a lot of mistakes on offense by being overly aggressive. His effort on defense also tends to flag at times.
The good thing is that these areas can easily be improved upon with the right attitude and coaching.
If he continues his steady progression, he could very easily become one of the best point guards in college basketball.
Dunn does not appear to have any clear leaders at this point, but he does hold an offer from Connecticut, his home-state school.