Having a strong, reliable point guard is a key to success in today’s basketball world. Around the college basketball world, the list of said point guards is a lengthy one filled with both household names and stars in the making.
With the 2015-16 college basketball season just around the corner, teams are getting ready for their season openers. Players around the country are fine-tuning their skills, ready to leave their mark on the NCAA landscape.
Below, we have compiled a list of the top five point guards in college basketball for the 2015-16 season. It’s comprised of players who surprised the basketball world when they returned to school for this season, and others looking to take their talents to the next level.
5. Demetrius Jackson – Notre Dame
Jackson is in line for his first season at point guard in the NCAA, and he’s a junior this season, which would lead to concern for some when making a list of the top point guards in the country. With that said, Jackson is a true point guard, and it’s not his fault that the Irish had a guy named Jerian Grant on their roster a year ago. Jackson is one of the more exciting players to watch, and he shot above 50% from the floor a season ago. He can hit jumpers or finish at the rim, and his turnover numbers are low for the amount of time he has the ball in his hands. His reliability and offensive talents make him an intriguing talent, and he is on track to become a star this season as his level of responsibility in the back court increases.
4. Melo Trimble – Maryland Terrapins
Last season, Trimble put up impressive offensive numbers last season to help Maryland enjoy a stellar first season in the gruelling Big Ten. However, he committed 86 turnovers on the year which may instil some doubt into the minds of college basketball fans everywhere. He knows how to get to the free throw line and make three point baskets with relative consistency, The Terrapins have a ton of talent surrounding Trimble this season (Layman, Stone, Sulaimon, Nickens, Carter, etc) which should take a bit of pressure off him in terms of scoring offense. However, he is the playmaking guard on the team this year, and he will need to improve his passing and ball control when looking for teammates on offense this year. If he can cut down on the turnovers, the Terrapins are a legitimate title threat in 2015-16.
3. Marcus Paige – North Carolina Tar Heels
Despite fracturing his hand during practice and missing the first three weeks of the 2015-16 regular season, Marcus Paige is one of the premier point guards in the entire NCAA. The North Carolina Tar Heels will enter the season as the top team in the country, and Paige is a big reason why. He averaged a team-high 14.1 points and 4.5 assists per game last season. While the Tar Heels have other players that they can deploy at the point guard spot, Paige is the type of player who is at his best when he has the ball in his hands and the freedom to make a play. When he returns from this latest setback, he will be one of the top guards in the country.
2. Fred Van Vleet – Wichita State Shockers
The Wichita State Shockers have one of the top back court tandems in the country, and Fred Van Vleet is one of the top facilitators in the country. He has the offensive talent (13.6 ppg) to go with his playmaking abilities (5.2 apg) to make him an ideal point guard in the NCAA. But, it’s his play on the defensive end of the floor that take him over the top and make him one of the best point guards in the nation. He’s got quick hands and is a disruptive defender, and the Shockers will need that from him if they want to be a top team again this season. Wichita State were given a gift when both Ron Baker and Van Vleet chose to return for their senior seasons. Van Vleet will need to keep up his strong play on both ends of the floor if the Shockers want to make some noise come NCAA Tournament time.
1. Kris Dunn – Providence Friars
Dunn shocked pretty well everyone when he opted to return to Providence this season as opposed to going pro, turning down millions of dollars in the process. He chose to return to school to get better as a player and continue his degree, which is something you have to respect. Dunn is one of the top defensive players in the entire country, but still has a strong game on offense to make him a dual-threat guard who can hurt you in many different ways. He averaged 15.6 points, 7.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.7 steals per game last season. The return of Dunn gives the Providence Friars a big boost this season, and he is now the top point guard in the country.
Narrowly Missed the List: Tyler Ulis (Kentucky); Yogi Ferrell (Indiana); Jalan West (Northwestern State); Anthony Barber (NC State); Tyrone Wallace (California)