College Basketball Season is already underway and while there are plenty of players to watch this season, I wanted to remind you guys about the point guard position. Now when it comes to the point guard position there are plenty of big names this season such as Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Jahii Carson (Arizona State), Shabazz Napier (Connecticut), Keith Appling (Michigan State), Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Andrew Harrison (Kentucky) and many more.
However, there are always some underrated point guards that people tend to forget about, some come from small conferences other from big conferences. While there are plenty of point guards to name, I am choosing to only talk about five point guards this time and one underrated freshman point guard that you must watch this season.
Sophomore Semaj Christon (Xavier)
One of the more underrated point guards in the country happens to be an Xavier sophomore Semaj Christon. Christon is only sophomore but has shown the ability to be a great point guard. He is very long and explosive, he has the ability to slash to the rim and finish strong as well. He does extremely well in transition but also can run an offense in the half-court. Defensively he does a great job of playing the passing lanes and is known to rack up plenty of steals.
Christon still needs to work on his decision-making with the ball which is not uncommon since he is a younger guard. Even though he has great height and size and the ability to slash to the rim, he needs to work on his jump shot which will make him even more of threat. This year should be a good year for him, seeing that Xavier has better talent this season and hopefully he will become the true point guard that I know he is capable of being this season.
Junior Andre Hollins (Minnesota)
When it comes the Big Ten, it’s very easy to get overlooked and I feel junior point guard Andre Hollins is one those players. Hollins is great shooter, he can shoot mid-range and long-range, he also has a quick re-lease which makes him truly hard to defend. Don’t get it twisted, he can do more than shoot, especially with his quick speed. He is able to slash to the rim and is solid finisher. As a good shooter, he is also a great free throw shooter. Defensively he is very quick and puts forth a great effort every time.
Hollins is similar to Christon, mainly because he still needs to learn how to be a true point guard but there is no doubt that he is capable of doing it. This season I really watch for him to become a better set-up man for his teammates and become a better creator. As a junior it would also be nice if he worked on his decision-making, especially since this is his junior year.
Senior Joe Jackson (Memphis)
I’m a huge fan of Jackson, mainly because he struggled in his freshman and sophomore year but was able to bounce back his junior year. He may be undersized but he is still a legit guard. He has a pass first mentality and does a great job of creating for his teammates. He can do some great things in transition because of his great quickness and ball-handling ability which make him difficult to contain at times in the half court but also in the half-court. His jump shot is much improved from mid-range and deep-range, he shot 50% from the field last season and around 47% from three-point range.
The only thing I really want to see him work on his turnover numbers, because of his speed he tends to get out of control at times and turn the ball over. If he is able to limit his turnovers this season, lookout because I expect a big senior year out of this young man.
Senior DeAndre Kane (Iowa State)
Kane is one of the well-kept secrets of college basketball, mainly because he spent most of his college career with Marshall but now he is part of the Iowa State Cyclones. Kane is always been a good scorer, he does a good job with shot selection and executes very well seeing that he shot over 40% from the field last season. He has also become a better creator for his teammates especially in the half-court. He has a good basketball IQ and is able to make quick decisions and accurate passes. Defensively he does a good job of staying discipline and earning a couple steals a game.
While he has improved as both a scorer and passer, he still needs to work on somethings especially as a senior. He still needs to improve his three-point shot, seeing that he shot 25% from three-point range last season. He also needs to work on cutting down his turnovers. He may have averaged seven assists per game last season be he also averaged around four turnovers a game. Being at Iowa State this season he will be surrounded by plenty of talent and on the big stage, I look forward to seeing what he does this season.
Sophomore Yogi Ferrell (Indiana)
My last one has to be another Big Ten guard and no one other than Yogi Ferrell. When it comes to Ferrell, you can’t just look at his stats. While he only averaged 7 points per game and five assists per game, there is still plenty to like about this young man’s game. He has a quick first step and agility to get in the lane. He is pass first point guard who can create in the half-court but also pushes the ball well in transition due to his ability to change speeds. He is good ball handler able to dribble his way out of any situation and find the open man. Defensively, he is very competitive and a good on ball defender.
While he may be a good pass first point guard and tenacious defender, he still needs to work on being a better scorer. Now keep in mind that he has the ability to score in various ways. He has a nice jump shot off the dribble and doesn’t need much separation from his defender. However, I think he needs to work on shooting off the pick and roll and his shot selection. If he can become a consistent scorer, he will be a true gem to watch because as I mention earlier, he already has the ability to create for others and defend.
Freshman Derrick Walton (Michigan)
Walton is my freshman point guard that people must watch this season. It’s expected that sophomore guard Spike Albrecht will start at point this season for Michigan. However, I have to admit, I honestly think Walton could handle taking over at some point. Walton has amazing court vision and is capable of running the team in the half-court or up-tempo. Just like Trey Burke, Walton can score from anywhere on the floor, he isn’t afraid to drive to rim and he can finish against contact and he also has a nice jump shot. He is extremely poised and a true leader and best of he is true competitor. He loves to win and make others around him better and on top of that, he is very coach-able and humble. There is no doubt in my mind that he has all the tools to be a big time player.
So there you have it, my Top Five underrated point guards and freshman point guard to watch this season. However, let me say that these aren’t the only ones to watch this season, there are plenty more to watch this season such as Michael Dixon (Missouri), Scottie Wilbekin (Florida) and many more. I don’t know about you but I have a feeling this is going to be a good entertaining season of college basketball.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com