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Big Ten Basketball: Examining The Point Guard Position

This is an introduction to our new series, where we will rank Big Ten players position-by-position. Today, we will look at the point guards.


The point guard position is perhaps the most important position in the game of basketball. To be successful as a point guard, you must be an elite leader. Last season, the Big Ten flourished in regards to the performances at that particular position. We could sit and linger about the past, but I'm here to examine the future of Big Ten point guards. This list is based solely on my opinion. Hear me out, then feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

5. D.J. Newbill (Penn State)

2012-13 stats: 36.5 mpg, 16.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.0 apg

D.J. Newbill really altered perceptions last season. Playing at Penn State, he found away to garner attention. He is a very mature and poised young man. Last season, he went off for 26 points in a two-point loss to Iowa. He is perhaps the most vital member of the Nittany Lions roster. I really expect to see him improve this season, but he does have several weaknesses to improve upon. First off, he has yet to become an effective shooter (only shooting 26% from three-point land). He also needs to improve his occasional turnover prone ball-handling tendencies. Lastly, he'll need to improve his free-throw shooting (only knocking down 68.4% from the line last season). Overall, he is an elite Big Ten point guard and well-deserving of this list.

Best play(s) of 2012-13:

4. Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell (Indiana)

2012-13 stats: 28.1 mpg, 7.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.1 apg

Yogi Ferrell, his potential is almost as intriguing as his name. Ferrell has yet to prove himself as an elite point guard in the Big Ten, so I am playing by wits on this one. Based on his previous doings, I believe has the potential to become a star in his sophomore campaign. With the depletion of the majority of Indiana's roster, he will have plenty of opportunities. As a freshman last season, he was able to take the starting spot away from Indiana's Will Sheehey. That move forced Jordan Hulls to play the two-guard position. But with good things, there is often an equal opposing force. Ferrell got completely exposed in Indiana's Sweet 16 loss to Syracuse. He went up against Michael Carter-Williams, and the size differential got the better of him. He also needs to improve on turnovers. With that being said, I do expect him to break out for Tom Crean's Hoosiers.

Best play(s) of 2012-13:

3. Keith Appling (Michigan State)

2012-13 stats: 33.6 mpg, 13.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.3 apg

Putting it bluntly, Michigan State will be loaded this year. With Appling, along with Adreian Payne and Gary Harris all passing on the NBA Draft, you can expect Michigan State to be your early favorites to win the Big Ten. Keith Appling could be the most important piece to the potential quest for a title. On one hand, Appling makes flashy passes and can shoot to near perfection. On the other, he does have a tendency to make late-game mistakes, such as turnovers. In order for Tom Izzo's squad to be successful, Appling will be forced to play his role well. He brings a leadership quality that makes him one of the leagues' elite point guards.

Best play(s) of 2012-13:

2. Andre Hollins (Minnesota)

2012-13 stats: 30.1 mpg, 14.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.4 apg

Tubby Smith is out at Minnesota. They now bring in a youthful coach in Richard Pitino, son of Louisville head coach Rick. It will be interesting to see how the younger Pitino will utilize Hollins. This kid really showed how good he could be last season. He scored a remarkable 41 points en route to a win against Memphis on November 23rd. He excels at shooting the ball, and is also a good passer. Another good thing is that this isn't a case where turnover will be a problem. Hollins doesn't turn over the ball too terribly much (just 2.3 times per game). With that being said, his assist/turnover ratio sits at 1.47. That is a number that will need to improve. I'm fully expecting Hollins to have a terrific season for the Golden Gophers.

Best play(s) of 2012-13:

1. Aaron Craft (Ohio State)

2012-13 stats: 34.1 mpg, 10.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.6 apg

I hold myself to the firm belief that Aaron Craft is the best point guard in all of college basketball; there's just so many things to like about his game. First, obviously, is his defensive prowess. Craft averaged (2.1 spg), which accounted for 31% of Ohio State's total team steals last season. He's respectable when driving to the basket, and puts up stellar numbers in the assists column as well. He also showed an all-new tendency for clutchness in the NCAA Tournament with his game winning shot against Iowa State. Thad Matta and the Ohio State Buckeyes' success could well be determined by the play of Aaron Craft, but I feel like Craft is up for the challenge.

Best play(s) of 2012-13: