13 Best Floor Generals in College Basketball

Ron PasceriCorrespondent IIDecember 27, 2011

13 Best Floor Generals in College Basketball

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    The point guard is viewed in many circles as the most important player on the floor in any given college basketball game. The player at that position can have any number of duties.

    Some are asked to be distributors and facilitators. Some are asked to anchor their team’s defense. Some are asked to carry the scoring load, and some are just expected to be an extension of their head coach.

    These players are the best of those worlds. Here are the 13 best floor generals in the county in 2011-12.

13. Casper Ware: Long Beach State

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    Ware is not a big name in college basketball or on NBA draft boards. He is just a big-time player for a small school.

    He is scoring 16.7 points and 3.6 assists per game to go with 1.6 steals. The numbers aren’t eye popping for a small-school player, but he has played against the toughest schedule in college basketball this year.

    Ware led his team to two wins in five games over Top 25 opponents. In those games he scored 19.6 points and dished out 5.0 assists per game.

12. Maalik Wayns: Villanova

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    Villanova is struggling through a tough season, but Wayns has been a bright spot. He is actually a better player than his numbers would indicate.

    Wayns is playing on a young team that doesn’t have a single shooter or even another reliable scorer. And he is still handing out 5.2 assists per game.

    Another part of the problem is Wayns has to shoulder the scoring load. He is averaging 17.4 points per game.

    If you watch Wayns on a regular basis, he gets to the rim whenever he wants and finds his teammates open looks, even though they can’t knock them down.

11. Peyton Siva: Louisville

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    The floor general of an unbeaten national power, Siva is their rock on the defensive end.

    Siva is not a shooter or a scorer, but he is averaging 6.4 assists per game this year and 1.8 steals. His explosive athleticism and great vision allow him to make plays for his teammates.

    Siva is a clutch player and should help take Louisville deep into March. He is one of few players capable of taking over a game at any moment.

10. Damian Lillard: Weber State

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    Damian Lillard is trying to lead Weber State to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007. If he succeeds, he is the type of player than can give a higher-seeded team a scare in the opening game.

    Lillard is leading the nation in scoring at 25.4 points per game. He is also averaging 3.6 assists and 5.8 rebounds. Shooting at such a high volume, his percentages are still through the roof. He’s hitting 49 percent from the field and 46 percent from three-point range.

    Lillard may not be viewed by some as a pure point guard, but he is averaging two assists for every turnover, and does what he has to for his team to win.

9. D.J. Cooper: Ohio

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    Cooper is another small stature, small school player. Regardless of his size or his school, he makes a big impact.

    As a freshman, Cooper led Ohio to an NCAA Tournament win over third-seeded Georgetown. He scored 23 points and added eight assists and three steals. He was no one-hit wonder either.

    For his career he is averaging 14.5 points, 6.6 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 steals. He has Ohio at 11-1 and ranked 23rd in the RPI, one place ahead of in-state power Ohio State.

8. Phil Pressey: Missouri

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    Missouri is second in the nation in scoring at 87.0 points per game. That frenetic attack is led by Phil “Flip” Pressey.

    Pressey is a dynamo on both ends of the floor, averaging 9.4 points, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

    Pressey is quick and crafty and can get into the lane and set up his teammates. He has a 3.1 assist-to-turnover ratio and has Missouri out to a 12-0 start and ranked No. 8 in the nation.

7. Aaron Craft: Ohio State

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    A rugged player at the point, Craft is one of the best defenders at his position. He averages 2.8 steals per game.

    Tough and physical, he is also an unselfish player on one of the most talented teams in the country. He is dropping 5.5 assists per game with a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.

    He may not be the flashiest or most electrifying player, but he makes plays for his teammates and sets the tone with his effort.

6. Tray Woodall: Pittsburgh

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    Only a slightly productive reserve for two seasons, Woodall was having a breakout season until a groin and abdominal injury interrupted.

    Woodall is scoring 14.1 points per game and he is third in the nation in assists with 8.3 per game.

    Even more impressive is his lethal efficiency on offense. Woodall is shooting 52.4 percent from the field, 45.7 percent from beyond the arc and 85.0 percent from the foul line.

    Prior to his injury, Pitt scored 71 points or more in their first seven games and have been under that mark in three out of their last six games since. Woodall has become their leader on the floor and he is needed in the Big East portion of their schedule.

5. Jordan Taylor: Wisconsin

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    One of the best offensive players in college basketball last year, Taylor has taken a step back in the early part of the season.

    His scoring is down from 18.1 points to 12.2 points per game, his thee-point shooting is down to 32.0 percent from 42.9 percent a year ago and his free throw shooting has dipped from 83.2 percent to 71.7.

    His assists are up though to 5.0 per game and his assist-to-turnover ratio is impressive at 3.2. Taylor is fully expected to round back into form as he is the leader of one of the best teams in the nation.

4. Tu Holloway: Xavier

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    Holloway has been nothing but an impressive player and leader aside from his unfortunate incident against Cincinnati a couple weeks ago.

    A great combination of toughness and quickness, Holloway is a difference maker on both ends of the floor. Holloway can shoot from the outside and get to the basket like few other point guards. He is sixth in the nation in getting to the free-throw line and fourth in free-throws made.

    Holloway is also an adept passer and defender. He averages 5.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game. He has gone to the NCAA Tournament all three years and is hoping to lead his team to its third Sweet 16 in four years.

3. Shabazz Napier: Connecticut

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    Face it, not many players in the history of college basketball could have stepped into the shoes of Kemba Walker this year. Even fewer could do as good of a job as Napier has.

    In his first season as a full-time starter he is averaging 15.5 points, 6.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. He is also shooting a deadly 42.9 percent from three-point range.

    Napier is quick, tough, can get to any spot on the floor and can shoot from almost anywhere. He is also one of the gutsiest and most courageous players in America.

    After their championship season, Napier has them standing at 10-1 and No. 9 in the country.

2. Scott Machado: Iona

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    The nation’s leader in assists per game, Machado is not just a pass-first player.

    He is a complete player, scoring 14.3 points with 10.4 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. As a shooter he knocks down 47 percent from the field, 43 percent on threes and 84 percent from the free-throw line.

    In a 91-90 loss to Purdue, Machado had 14 points and 11 assists. In wins over Maryland and St. Joe’s he had a combined 48 points and 25 assists.

    Machado may help Iona make some noise in March.

1. Kendall Marshall: North Carolina

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    The perfect fit to play the point on what is arguably the most talented team in the nation. Marshall isn't the best pro prospect, he isn’t the most athletic, he isn’t a scorer or a shooter. He is a distributor and he is the best in the nation.

    Marshall is second in the nation in assists and third in assist-to-turnover ratio. He has a loaded roster around him, which some may use to detract from his success, but he keeps them all well-fed.

    Big and strong, he plays solid defense and he sees the whole floor. He may be the best passer in college basketball, and he is the floor general of the most explosive team in the country.