Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The point guard position is comparable to
the quarterback in football in terms of overall importance and ability to
affect a game.
With Kendall Marshall and Damien Lillard moving on, the 2012-13 Bob Cousy
Award, which goes to the nation's top point guard, is up for grabs. The
following is an early list of the top contenders:
NATE WOLTERS - This senior-to-be came up just short of leading the South Dakota
State Jackrabbits to a first-round upset of the heavily favored Baylor Bears in
the 2012 NCAA Tournament, but he definitely showed he is a player to keep on
your watch list. Wolters led SDSU with 21.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.9
assists per game, and earned the Summit League Championship MVP honors as a
junior. The 6-3 point guard was the only player in the NCAA to average at least
20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game in 2011-12, and he will be
aiming to do even more in his final year of collegiate eligibility. His
versatility makes him an outstanding leader on the court.
TREY BURKE - Michigan's point guard set a freshman record with 156 assists
while guiding the Wolverines to their best Big Ten Conference record since
1993-94. Burke was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and to the All-Big
Ten Second Team after he led the team in scoring with 14.8 ppg. Burke's ability
to score paired with his superior court vision makes him nearly unstoppable.
Head coach John Beilein was very busy in the off-season, doing his best to
surround Burke with even more weapons, which should only benefit him, and the
team, moving forward.
RAY MCCALLUM - The two-time All-Horizon League honoree has thrived while
playing for his father at Detroit. McCallum led the Titans to the NCAA
Tournament with four wins in a row in the HL Tournament. The former McDonald's
All-American finished second in the conference in scoring (15.4 ppg) and third
in assists (4.0 apg). He is attending Chris Paul's CP3 Elite Guard Camp this
summer to hone his skills even further as he prepares to lead Detroit back to
the Big Dance.
ISAIAH CANAAN - Murray State's amazing start to the 2011-12 campaign, which
yielded a school and conference record 23 straight wins, was due in large part
to the play of its stellar point guard. Canaan made his mark early on with a
36-point performance in the Great Alaska Shootout championship game. The junior
guard earned the Ohio Valley Conference's Male Athlete of the Year Award after
he finished 24th in the NCAA in scoring with 19.0 ppg. The Racers made history
last season and expectations are going to be higher than ever with Canaan
running the show one more time.
MATTHEW DELLAVEDOVA - Saint Mary's basketball has entered a golden age with
Dellavedova leading the way. The Australian point guard came up just short of
winning the Bob Cousy Award last season, but was named the West Coast
Conference Player of the Year and WCC Tournament MVP after leading the Gaels to
regular season and conference tourney titles. Dellavedova led SMC with 15.4
points and the WCC with 6.4 assists per game as a junior in 2011-12. He will be
competing for his home country in the 2012 Summer Olympics, which could elevate
his game to an even higher level.
D.J. COOPER - Ohio University took a hit when head coach John Groce elected to
leave to take over at Illinois after an exciting Sweet 16 run, its first since
1964. However, Bobcat fans have to be excited about another year with Cooper
running the show, at least on the floor. The sensational guard led his team in
points, assists and steals, and had two great games to push OU past Michigan
and USF in the NCAA Tournament. Cooper's junior season ended on a low note as
he was completely shut down by North Carolina in the Sweet 16. He is not going
to sneak up on anybody this season, but his talent and leadership may have the
town of Athens suffering from March Madness once again in 2013.
ANTHONY COLLINS - South Florida was the surprise team of the Big East in
2011-12 due to its emphasis on defense, a great rebounding front line, and its
freshman point guard -- Anthony Collins. The rookie floor general became the
Bulls' leader down the stretch by scoring in double figures in 10 of the final
11 games. Collins led all freshmen in the league with 5.2 assists per game and
seemed to gain momentum after each game. When he began to take better care of
the ball and fearlessly drive to the basket, USF began to win. The Bulls expect
big things out of Collins as they try to take the next step as a program.
PIERRE JACKSON - Baylor's program has risen to new heights under head coach
Scott Drew. Although the Bears had multiple forwards with NBA potential on
their roster in 2011-12, Jackson was the little engine that made the team go
during the course of its Elite Eight run. BU's point guard averaged 13.3 points
and 5.8 assists per game in his first season at the Division I level. Jackson
was the MVP of the junior college national title game in the 2010-11, and made
the transition to the elite level look easy. His rare combination of speed,
court awareness, and shooting ability makes him a nightmare to defend. Jackson
will be leaned on more heavily following the departures of Perry Jones III,
Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller.
SHABAZZ NAPIER - UConn will not be playing in the postseason in 2013, but that
does not mean the Huskies will not be worth the price of admission. Napier is
one of the most polished point guards in the nation and will keep Connecticut
winning games during the regular season. Napier stepped up when it mattered
most last season, posting averages of 15.3 points and 5.0 assists per game in
the Big East Conference Tournament before a game-high 22 points and six assists
in his team's second-round loss to Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament. The
departures of Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond will give Napier a chance to show
what he can do as the undisputed go-to guy in the UConn offense next season.
LORENZO BROWN - The 2011-12 Cousy Award winner, Kendall Marshall, came out of
the ACC. Now it's Brown's turn to shine, and he made a big leap from a young
contributor to an all-around great game manager last season while playing an
expanded role for NC State. At 6-5, he is able to see the floor very well which
explains his 6.3 apg average, which was second-best in the ACC behind Marshall.
Brown is a playmaker on both ends of the court, logging averages of 12.3 points
per game and a league-leading 1.8 steals per contest as well. The Wolfpack
program as a whole is on the rise, and Brown will be the captain of the ship.
HONORABLE MENTION: Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Peyton Siva (Louisville), Dave
Sobolewski (Northwestern), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Deonte Burton (Nevada),
Frantz Massenat (Drexel), Justin Cobbs (California), Phil Pressey (Missouri),
Christopher Anderson (San Diego), Anthony Ireland (Loyola Marymount), Joe
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