You've seen the point guards. Now, the shooting guards, with a top 10 featuring four seniors, three juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen, and a second 10 featuring a guy with a back injury and another who doesn't make good grades.
|Chris Lofton made some eye-opening shots in 2005-06. (Getty Images)|
Anyway, take a look. And remember what your Momma told you, if you can't say anything nice, type it in the 'Talk Back!' section.
Top shooting guards
1. Chris Lofton (Tennessee): Lofton, who averaged 17.2 points per game last season, puts the shoot in shooting guard. As a sophomore, he made 114 of 261 3-point attempts, and sank at least six treys six different times, including nine during a February win over Georgia. No player in the nation who took at least 260 threes made a higher percentage than Lofton's 43.7, and that includes a certain J.J. Redick, who might be one of the greatest college shooters of all time, but wasn't technically the greatest shooter in college last year.
2. Arron Afflalo (UCLA): There is an argument to be made -- and I'll make it -- that UCLA needed Afflalo to return more than backcourt mate Jordan Farmar. Lose Farmar, and it merely opens minutes for highly regarded Darren Collison. Lose, Afflalo, and the drop-off is more significant, meaning Ben Howland got a gift when Afflalo withdrew from the NBA Draft. He'll score at least 15.8 points per game again, and could lead the Bruins back to the Final Four.
3. Paul Harris (Syracuse): The first time I saw Harris he was shutting down O.J. Mayo, just totally dominating the phenom in a way that had Mayo so frustrated and overmatched he was reduced to acting immature (complaining to refs, talking trash to lesser players, etc.). This was at Sonny Vaccaro's ABCD Camp two summers ago. That's when I realized Mayo wasn't going to be the next LeBron James, as some were predicting. Likewise, it's when I realized Harris was going to be a stud in college, a lockdown defender, the kind of guy with which you win. Bottom line, Harris' box scores won't justify this ranking. But ask Big East coaches if the freshman belongs here at the end of the year, and I bet they'll say yes.
4. Nate Funk (Creighton): Had Funk not missed all but six games with a shoulder injury last year, the Missouri Valley Conference would've been that much better because he was arguably the league's best player. Now healthy, Funk should get back to numbers of about 17 points and five rebounds per game, and he'll have Creighton challenging Southern Illinois and Wichita State for the MVC title.
|Point guards||Oct. 2|
|Shooting guards||Oct. 3|
|Small forwards||Oct. 4|
|Power forwards||Oct. 5|
5. Brandon Heath (San Diego State): Heath became a much better shooter between his sophomore and junior years, more than doubling his 3-pointers made total (from 48 to 90) while sinking them at a higher rate (31.8 percent compared to 40.8 percent), too. The 6-4 senior averaged 18.4 points per game last season, and should post similar numbers again. In the process, Heath could lead SDSU back to the NCAA Tournament, and justify coach Steve Fisher's new five-year contract extension.
6. Rodney Stuckey (Eastern Washington): Unless you live in Washington (specifically Eastern Washington) and/or are a basketball junkie, you probably don't know much about Stuckey. He was an academic non-qualifier out of high school, lightly regarded by the recruiting services. But after sitting out a year, the 6-5 slasher burst into college, averaging 24.2 points per game as a rookie while becoming the Big Sky's Player of the Year, marking just the 12th time in history a freshman has won that honor at a Division I Conference. But that's not even the best part. The best part is that Stuckey was also named to the Big Sky's All-Academic team, which is a nice turnaround for a non-qualifier.
7. Wayne Ellington (North Carolina): I'm not sure Ellington is the next Michael Jordan, but he can certainly be the next Rashad McCants. The 6-4 talent just might challenge Tyler Hansbrough for the team's scoring title, and do so within the flow of the Tar Heels' offense. With so much depth, North Carolina should play even faster -- and score more -- than normal. Among others, Ellington will benefit, and he could be the ACC's Freshman of the Year.
8. Richard Roby (Colorado): Roby has had nearly identical statistics for two years, meaning he can be considered no fluke. He's going to be good for about 17 points, five rebounds and two assists per game. Of course, that won't be enough for him to lead Colorado to any thing of any significance or even -- I'm guessing -- save Ricardo Patton's job. But it is enough to make Roby one of CBS SportsLine.com's top shooting guards, and really, what's more important?
9. Loren Stokes (Hofstra): The Pride will not miss the NCAA Tournament again, and Stokes is the main reason. He's averaged 17.8 points per game over the past two years as part of one of the most productive backcourts in the nation. Make that three years, come March.
10. Sammy Mejia (DePaul): It'd be nice if he shot it a little better from beyond the arc, but what Mejia lacks in way of an outside threat he makes up for with an ability to handle the ball (he could easily play point, and will) and rebound (he could easily play small forward, and will). Also, Mejia's length at 6-6 makes him a looming defensive presence, the kind a NCAA Tournament contender like DePaul certainly needs.
|11. Gabe Pruitt (USC)||6-4||Jr.||16.9||4.0||That he's academically ineligible until December will cost USC|
|12. J.R. Reynolds (Virginia)||6-3||Sr.||17.0||3.1||Along with Sean Singletary, gives Virginia one of the best backcourts in the nation|
|13. Stanley Burrell (Xavier)||6-3||Jr.||14.4||2.9||Should lead Xavier to a league title|
|14. Shan Foster (Vanderbilt)||6-6||Jr.||15.9||3.0||Shot 44.0 percent from 3-point range in SEC games last season|
|15. Gerald Henderson (Duke)||6-5||Fr.||NA||NA||He won't shoot it as well as Redick, but he'll dunk a lot better|
|16. Coby Karl (Boise State)||6-4||Sr.||17.2||5.1||George's kid was smart to return to college|
|17. Mario Chalmers (Kansas)||6-1||So.||11.5||2.2||One of about eight reasons why Kansas might win it all|
|18. Anthony Morrow (Georgia Tech)||6-5||Jr.||16.0||4.5||Back injury could sideline him until late November|
|19. Folarin Campbell (George Mason)||6-4||Jr.||11.0||4.2||Got 15 or more points in four of five NCAA Tournament games|
|20. Blake Ahearn (Missouri State)||6-2||Sr.||16.2||2.3||More than half his shots are 3-pointers|