I love debates.
But I hate silly arguments.
|Who knows, USC's O.J. Mayo may end up the most successful of the group. (Getty Images)|
Want to try to put Jamont Gordon in one position?
So what I have done is divided the best of the best into three categories:
1. Points and combos.
2. Shooters and wings.
With any luck, this will help prevent most of the endless arguments, like whether Hansbrough is a power forward or a center and whether Gordon is a point guard or a shooting guard (or something else entirely). But I'm confident we'll still fight over many things, like whether Jaycee Carroll belongs on list No. 1 or No. 2 (I say No. 2 because he's really just a small(ish) shooting guard) and whether Michael Beasley belongs on list No. 2 or No. 3 (I say No. 3 because most of his damage will come around the rim).
So here's the plan:
I'll unveil the Points and combos Monday, then you'll debate them through Tuesday.
I'll unveil the Shooters and wings Wednesday, then you'll debate them through Thursday.
I'll unveil the Bigs on Friday, then you'll debate them through the weekend.
And once all the e-mails are in I'll put together a special Position Rankings Mailbag next week in which I'll strategically select the dumbest notes -- you know, the ones about how I overrate freshmen (you remember Mike Conley, Kevin Durant and Greg Oden, don't you?) and snub mid-majors (the mid-majors, for the most part, have good teams but not great individual players) -- and goof on readers in a way that makes them look idiotic while making myself look hilarious and brilliant.
Boy, this is going to be a blast!
So without further ado, I present the top Points and combos in the country.
Naturally, a freshman tops the list.
It's only proper.
1. Derrick Rose (Memphis): There are reasons NBADraft.net has Rose projected as the top overall pick next June, and those reasons all revolve around words like size, speed, athleticism, court vision and unselfishness. Chris Douglas-Roberts will score more points and Joey Dorsey will have more dunks, but if Memphis matches its preseason hype and advances to the Final Four for the first time since 1985, it'll be because of Rose and his Jason Kidd-like ability to create for others.
|Derrick Low doesn't get much press, but he has rave reviews. (Getty Images)|
3. Drew Neitzel (Michigan State): Neitzel had to do and be everything for the Spartans last season, but with a pair of shooting guard prospects enrolled, he can be less of a take-every-shot guy and more of a true point, though he'll still score in bunches for the Spartans.
4. Darren Collison (UCLA): Collison is lightening quick with long arms and he's just as good defensively as he is with the ball. In other words, he might be the perfect point guard for Ben Howland, even better suited for UCLA than Jordan Farmar before him.
5. D.J. Augustin (Texas): With Kevin Durant in the NBA, Augustin will be asked to score more than the 14.4 points per game he averaged last season. The good news for Texas is that he's completely capable.
6. Sean Singletary (Virginia): In terms of a true scoring lead guard, Singletary is probably the best of the bunch. He averaged 19.0 points per game last season, and that number will likely increase this season now that J.R. Reynolds is no longer around.
7. O.J. Mayo (Southern California): Regardless of your opinion on Mayo and the circus that was his high school career, there is no denying he is immensely talented. Truth is, Mayo could prove to be the best of this group if he manages to stay out of his own way, avoid trouble and play within a system.
8. Derrick Low (Washington State): Ask any coach in America -- particularly those on the West Coast -- to name a player who is clearly better than he appears at first glance, and the name you'll get more often than any other is Low. He doesn't look like much walking into the gym, but I've yet to find a basketball person who doesn't wish he was on their team.
9. Scottie Reynolds (Villanova): He was awful in international play this summer competing against grown men. But now it's back to matching up with college guys, and Reynolds has shown he's pretty good at doing that.
10. Jamont Gordon (Mississippi State): Gordon is big, strong and one of the toughest matchups in the nation. He's a threat to lead MSU in points, assists or rebounds every night, and in some games he'll do all three.
|Name, school||Ht.||Cl.|| '06-07 |
| '06-07 |
|11. Dominic James, Marquette||5-11||Jr.||14.9||4.9||His return to school made Marquette a challenger for the Big East crown.|
|12. Patrick Beverley, Arkansas||6-1||So.||13.9||3.1||He's an All-American candidate, one of five returning starters for the Hogs.|
|13. Tyrese Rice, Boston College||6-1||Jr.||17.6||5.4||Without Jared Dudley, he'll take on even more of the scoring load.|
|14. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona||6-3||Fr.||NA||NA||Finally, the Mustafa Shakur era is complete.|
|15. Edgar Sosa, Louisville||6-1||So.||11.4||2.6||He scored 31 points in Louisville's second NCAA Tournament game last season.|
|16. Sherron Collins, Kansas||5-11||So.||9.3||2.9||He is one of three very good small guards in Bill Self's backcourt.|
|17. Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga||6-2||Jr.||12.1||4.6||He should score 15-plus points per game this season and lead the Zags back to the NCAA Tournament.|
|18. Stephen Curry, Davidson||6-0||So.||21.5||2.8||How so many ACC schools missed on him is still hard to figure out.|
|19. Eric Maynor, VCU||6-2||Jr.||13.9||6.4||He'll always be remembered for nailing that game-winner against Duke.|
|20. Mario Chalmers, Kansas||6-1||Jr.||12.2||3.3||I know he plays shooting guard, but he's considered a combo, I think.|
|21. A.J. Graves, Butler||6-1||Sr.||16.9||2.4||He's more of a shooter than a point, but for these purposes he's a combo.|
|22. Eric Devendorf, Syracuse||6-4||Jr.||14.8||4.1||In a perfect world, he'll always be off the ball, though that depends on the development of Jonny Flynn.|
|23. Devan Downey, South Carolina||5-9||So.||NA||NA||This transfer from Cincinnati will have a huge impact on the SEC.|
|24. Tajuan Porter, Oregon||5-6||So.||14.6||2.0||It's clear he can shoot, but can he play the point in place of Aaron Brooks?|
|25. Ramar Smith, Tennessee||6-2||So.||10.7||3.1||He could help the Vols to their first Final Four.|