We’re less than two months away from the start of the college basketball season, and for fans of the Big East the moment can’t come soon enough.
With the season rapidly approaching, you will soon see a lot of “superlatives” lists and rankings. We at Today’s U will be no different.
For the purpose of this exercise (which will be a five-part series), we will rank the five best players at each position (point guard, shooting guard, power forward, small forward and center) in the Big East.
We start at point guard.
Granted, there will be some fluidity in regard to what players will play what positions. Some players can play multiple positions, on and off the ball. While some teams may have depth at point guard (think Villanova, Marquette and St. John’s), the purpose of this column is to surmise what each team’s projected starter will be and rank the five best.
With that out of the way, let’s rank the five best Big East point guards.
5. Tre Campbell, Georgetown
With D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera moving on, the role of point guard for the Hoyas is Campbell’s job to lose.
While not as gifted a scorer as Smith-Rivera, Campbell is a talented guard in his own right. He just needed the opportunity. Campbell has that chance now.
Campbell manages the game the right way — he won’t beat himself — while getting others involved. With the Hoyas sporting a dynamic and diverse offense, Campbell has a chance to come into his own and be a breakout star in the Big East.
4. Billy Garrett Jr., DePaul
Although he plays on a losing team, Garrett should still get his proper due. Not many point guards possess his experience, composure and guile.
He has made three game-winning shots in the closing seconds of games in his career. If Garrett was on a winning team, we’d be appreciating him a lot more.
With this being his senior season, look for Garrett to go out in style and not make losing his lasting legacy. As it is, he is the conference’s most underappreciated star.
3. Jalen Brunson, Villanova
With the Wildcats losing Ryan Arcidiacono to graduation, Brunson is next in line to take over the lead-guard duties. Head coach Jay Wright can turn to Phil Booth as well, but either way you slice it, both guards will get plenty of minutes.
However, Brunson is the star of the backcourt and has limitless potential entering his sophomore season. The nifty Brunson can penetrate a lane like no other and can also knock down jumpers with regularity.
Brunson will play on and off the ball, but when the game is on the line, expect the ball to be in his hands. If Villanova has ideas of repeating, it will need a great season out of Brunson. Expect him to deliver the goods.
2. Edmond Sumner, Xavier
Sumner burst upon the scene last season as a redshirt freshman and was a revelation, running the show for a team that occupied the top 10 for the majority of the season.
We need Cintas rocking EVERY game this year!!!
— Edmond Sumner (@edmondsumner) September 17, 2016
If there is one word to describe Sumner’s game, it would be explosive. Sumner has an excellent first step. When he has a full head of steam, he is nearly impossible to contain. He loves attacking the basket, and with capable scorers (i.e. Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura) surrounding him, he’ll have a chance for a monster season.
While Bluiett is the go-to guy for the Musketeers, the resourceful Sumner will be the engine behind the Musketeers’ success once again.
1. Maurice Watson, Creighton
To say that Watson had a seamless transition to the Big East after transferring from Boston University would be a significant understatement.
Watson hit it out of the park in his first season with the Bluejays, en route to averaging a team-high 14.1 points and league-high 6.4 assists per game last season. Now that he will be joined by Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster in the backcourt, expect Watson to take his game to an even higher level.
There are not many point guards who can break down a defense like Watson. He knows exactly when to score for himself or set up his teammates.
With Creighton having aspirations of returning to the NCAA Tournament, Watson is the perfect guard to lead the Jays there. Put simply, the stars are aligning for Watson to have one heck of a swan song.