The season is fast approaching. The first games are on Nov. 10, and the BIAH live blog during ESPN's season kickoff is just two weeks away. We've given you the breakout players. We've given you the teams to watch. We've given you more team previews than you could ever care about.
So with just a week until actual games are played, we figured the best way to finish up our 2008-2009 season previews is to give you our Top 10 players at each position. You know how much we love a good Top 10 list here.
A few caveats. First, we're talking about how good these guys are as college players, not how well they project as a pro.
Second, while it may be too much power for me, I am making the executive decision on what "position" a player is (and it may not necessarily be what he is listed as on a roster).
Third, I am not putting the freshmen in the list. As much as I've read about these guys and as many YouTube clips as I have watched, I have yet to see many of them play a real game (the all-star games don't count), and I don't think that I could give an accurate assessment until I see them play.
Lastly, I love me a good argument, so if you think someone is too low or too high or the wrong position, leave a comment and let me hear about it.
Top 10 Point Guards
Here are the shooting guards.
- Elliot Williams, Duke
- Willie Warren, Oklahoma
- Tyreke Evans, Memphis
- Scotty Hopson, Tennessee
Best of the Rest
- Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati
- Dionte Christmas, Temple
- Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State
- Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin
- Stefon Jackson, UTEP
- Kenny Hasbrouck, Siena
10. LACEDARIUS DUNN, Baylor
Dunn was one of the most efficient scorers in the country last year (surprising for a guy that's predominantly a jump shooter—60 percent of his field goal attempts were threes). He averaged 13.6 ppg in just 22 mpg while shooting 45 percent from the floor, 42 percent from deep, and 84 percent from the line.
At 6'4", Dunn is not a great athlete, but he has a variety of floaters, leaners, and scoop shots that he can use to finish in the paint.
9. JACK MCCLINTON, Miami
McClinton is one of the most explosive scorers in the country (38 against St. Mary's in the tourney, including 32 in the second half). His three-point shot is his most dangerous weapon, but he is also able to use that jumper to set up his penetration. He has a mid-range jumper, and can finish at the rim at times.
8. ROBERT VADEN, UAB
Vaden, the preseason C-USA player of the year, may be the best catch-and-shoot guy in the country. He is absolutely deadly if he gets his feet set and a good look at the rim. He uses his pump fakes well if a defender closes out long (meaning the defender runs at the jump shot), usually resulting in a one-dribble pull-up.
7. KYLE MCALARNEY, Notre Dame
McAlarney was the outside portion of what turned into arguably the best inside-outside combo in the Big East. The kid can flat-out shoot it, and shoot it from deep, as many of his three point attempts come from well beyond the college arc. He is more than just a shooter, as he can put the ball on the floor and make a play, but he could use some work defensively.
6. E'TWAUN MOORE, Purdue
Moore is an underwhelming athlete, but what he lacks in a vertical he makes up for in basketball IQ, craftiness, and a deadly jump shot. The lanky, 6'3" guard is the best offensive player on a very good Purdue team, and with more national attention on the Boilermakers, the sophomore should become a household name by the end of the year.
5. A.J. ABRAMS, Texas
Like Stephen Curry, Abrams is a guy that will be making the transition from shooting guard to handling point guard duties, especially if freshman J'Covan Brown does not get himself eligible by the spring semester. Abrams is a tremendous shooter with a quick release and great range. He is also the leading returning scorer in the Big 12 (16.5 ppg).
4. JEREL MCNEAL, Marquette
I really love this kid's game. He is a tremendous athlete and maybe the best perimeter defender in the Big East. Offensively, he is still developing. McNeal is most effective when he is on the move or attacking the basket, but he needs to improve his jump shot.
McNeal is very aggressive and proved that he is capable of putting this Marquette team on his shoulders—he averaged 23 ppg over the last six games of '07-'08, including 30 in the second round loss to Stanford.
3. WAYNE ELLINGTON, UNC
Ellington really improved from his freshman to sophomore year. He added a good pull-up jumper to his offensive arsenal and is now the best perimeter weapon in the ACC. His defense could use a little work, but so could everyone else on UNC. If Hansbrough is out for an extended amount of time, expect Ellington to be the guy that picks up a lot of the offensive load.
2. JAMES HARDEN, Arizona State
He was overshadowed last season by the play of fellow freshmen Kevin Love and Jerryd Bayless in the Pac-10, but Harden is as good as anyone in the country. He is a real throwback player with "old man's game." He's not terribly athletic, but he is a smart, crafty player that knows how to score.
1. STEPHEN CURRY, Davidson
Curry will get a lot more time running the point this year with Jason Richards graduating, but regardless of who is bringing the ball up the floor, Curry is going to get plenty of shots and will remain the focal point of the Wildcats offense. Curry is the best shooter in the country and was recently named to the AP preseason All-America team.