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HoopsWorld: Top 5 College Shooting Guards

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Posted February 06, 2009 - 02:50 AM

With some of the league's most talented offensive players residing at the shooting guard position it's become vitally important for teams to find a star to try to combat the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and Tracey McGrady. Because of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement it is a very difficult task to pry away a premier shooting guard from their current team and equally tough to consummate a trade for one. However, in the NBA draft
those teams who do their homework are able to find the stars of tomorrow. Jerry West's draft night swap of Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant in 1996 led to a dynasty in the early 2000's, and the Miami Heat's selection of Dwyane Wade in 2003 made them one of the big time winners in a hit-and-miss draft. As of right now there are several shooting guards projected for stardom at the next level, although we may not see all of the following players making the jump this year.

James Harden, 6'5, 218 lbs, So. (Arizona State)
Arizona State's star is ready for the NBA and his draft stock reflects it as James Harden is unlikely to go anywhere outside the top three. College basketball has really served its purpose for Harden. In just two years Harden has polished his complete offensive game, learned to better utilize his athleticism defensively, and most importantly gained valuable leadership experience. Harden has all the makings of a franchise shooting guard at the next level, and really has only one aspect of his game that you can pick at. Harden averages 3.2 turnovers a game, and although that is high it's easier to understand once you see just how much Harden has the ball in his hands.

Gerald Henderson 6'4, 215 lbs., Jr. (Duke)
Always thought of as an incredible talent and athlete, Gerald Henderson has continually improved throughout his three years at Duke and is now starting to grow into a star. Henderson got off to a slow start this season, but has been nothing short of stellar in conference play. In ACC play Henderson is averaging 20 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals a contest. Henderson has a tendency to turn the ball over more than he should, but makes up for it on the other end of the court with great defensive play. Henderson has grown tremendously under Coach K, and don't be surprised if he sticks around another year to learn all he can under one of the greats.

Terrence Williams 6'6, 220 lbs., Sr. (Louisville)
For NBA teams looking for scoring from the shooting guard position Terrence Williams is not an attractive prospect. Williams does not excel at scoring the ball; however he does make his impact felt heavily in every other aspect of the game. Physically Williams is NBA ready, possessing a chiseled 220 lb. frame and a lengthy wingspan. While scoring is not his forte, Williams is far from incapable. He's really improved on his outside shooting and ball handling abilities throughout his four years at Louisville. Williams' stock isn't through the roof right now, but he will make whatever team that selects him late in the first round feel like they got a steal.

James Anderson 6'6, 195 lbs., So. (Oklahoma State)
One of the country's best kept secrets may be Oklahoma State's James Anderson. At 6'6 Anderson has ideal size for an NBA shooting guard and a silky-smooth offensive game. Playing on a perimeter oriented team with two ball dominant guards in Byron Eaton and Terrell Harris Anderson doesn't get a chance to showcase everything that he can do in terms of creating, but his one assist per game average isn't indicative of his playmaking ability. With graduation ahead for Harris and Eaton it would be a wise idea for Anderson to stay at Stillwater and showcase his complete game with an expanded role. Anderson could also use some extra time in the weight room. He's got a great shot at being a lottery pick whether he decides to leave this year or next year.

Jodie Meeks 6'4, 208 lbs., Jr. (Kentucky)
There are few players in the country that have improved as much in a year than Kentucky's Jodie Meeks has this season. Meeks' scoring is up from eight points on 30% shooting last year to 25 points on 47% shooting this year. Meeks has been on an absolute tear this season, gaining national recognition for his 54 point performance against Tennessee. While 54 is extremely impressive, he's also gone for 39, 37, 46, and 32 this season. Meeks has gone from a 2nd round pick to a near lock in the 1st round barring any major slumps to end the season. Considering just how quickly his stock has risen and the great season he has had so far, Meeks may be wise to cash in while he's a hot commodity. Senior seasons more often than not tend to hurt player's stock, and it's hard to imagine Meeks topping his junior season.

Honorable Mention: William Buford (Ohio State), Dionte Christmas (Temple), Patrick Christopher (California), Jerome Dyson (UConn), Wayne Ellington (UNC), Tyreke Evans (Memphis), Manny Harris (Michigan), Willie Warren (Oklahoma), Edwin Ubiles (Siena).


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