Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Biancardi's Breakdown: Point Guards
By Paul Biancardi
The most important position on the basketball court when it comes to winning games is point guard. They come in all shapes and sizes with different talents, but the one common denominator is that a good point guard is a must in recruiting.
Here is a look at five of the nation’s top point guards in the Class of 2013, what each does better than anyone in the country and what they’ll bring to their college teams next season.
Kentucky recruit Andrew Harrison is the best scoring point guard in the Class of 2013.
Best scoring point guard: Andrew Harrison Signed with Kentucky Harrison is simply the best scoring point guard in the nation. He possesses great size for the position at 6-foot-5. If you look around at all levels of basketball there are not many point guards his size, so he immediately gets your attention. His body frame reminds me of Tyreke Evans, who played for John Calipari at Memphis and now plays for the Sacramento Kings in the NBA.
Whether it's the open floor in the conversion game or in tight quarters in a half-court set, Harrison can produce points. He’s excellent in broken plays and end-of-shot-clock situations, and he’s dangerous in pick-and-roll action because he can beat his man off the dribble or stop and pull up behind the screen and launch a jumper with accuracy.
His jump shot has range beyond the arc, which makes defenders close out on him and sets up his drive. When he drives he seeks out contact as he makes his way into the paint with the ability to finish with size and strength or find the open man. His vision to make the assist and his passing skills work together to deliver the ball when and where needed.
Best speed with the ball: Kasey Hill Signed with Florida When it comes to the conversion game in the open court, Hill is best when the game doesn’t stop. He finds the rebounder, calls for the ball and takes the outlet to ignite the fast break.
In transition offense he pushes the ball at high speeds, navigating the numbers and reading if there is an advantage as he applies pressure to the defense. He has a burst of speed that is impressive and has demonstrated the growth to change his speed as he approaches the foul line to make a decision when there are defenders in front of him.
Not limited to advancing the ball solely with the bounce, Hill will also make a throw-ahead pass to an open teammate up the floor. When you play on his team, you must sprint the floor and you’ll find easy scoring opportunities. If you play against him, you must stay in front -- sometimes with two players -- and corral him to contain his penetration.
Best leader: Nigel Williams-Goss Signed with Washington Leadership is one of the most important qualities in a point guard, and Williams-Goss is a natural leader who can be trusted by his coaches and teammates to run the team. The ability to show others the way and lead by example is what makes Williams-Goss special.
He will do what the coach wants and give the team what it needs as he directs the offense by echoing and relaying the calls from the head coach. He can also step up and defend the opponent’s best perimeter player with focus.
From a mental standpoint, he eliminates emotional fogs as he values the basketball and is a good decision-maker as opposed to a risk taker. He’s also a proven clutch performer as he owns two game-winning shots over national power Montverde Academy (Fla.) in the past two seasons.
Kansas recruit Conner Frankamp is the best shooting point guard in the Class of 2013.
Best 3-point shooter: Conner Frankamp Signed with Kansas The ability to make open shots on a consistent basis from both distance and midrange is something that does not happen enough with today’s players. Frankamp is a dangerous point guard because of his IQ to play the game, toughness to compete and his sharpshooting talent.
His supreme confidence and accurate connection on his shots comes from investing time into the skill of shooting. I watched Frankamp play in a pickup game against Brandon Jennings, James Harden and DeMar DeRozan last summer at the Elite 24 showcase. Frankamp was knocking down 3-pointers from distance and spotting up in the corner or on the wing. In pick-and-roll action he reads his defender and can stop behind the screen and drill it. He walked away the winner of the 3-point shooting contest last summer at Elite 24.
Most versatile: Tyler Ennis Signed with Syracuse Ennis has a knack for being able to handle a fast-paced game or a slowdown, half-court affair. He’s quite comfortable leading the break, running the offense or making the assist. He can drive and either find an open teammate on the perimeter or make a drop-off pass to the big man.
He ignites the offense with his playmaking abilities, but he has the scoring instincts to break off the play and make a basket at just the right time. He also scores from a variety of spots on the floor -- at the rim on drives, in the paint with a floater or from the perimeter with his jumper -- and is a crafty offensive player.