Its August, but all of us at White and Blue Review could not be more excited for the upcoming Valley basketball season. As we ramp up for the new year, we are going to try to project starting lineups and rank them within the Valley. Today we start with Point Guards in Tempo’s Top Ten.
10. Walt Lemon – Bradley – Sophomore
Lemon came on strong at the end of the year and helped lead Bradley’s late season run to a couple of victories. More of a scoring guard than a true point guard, Lemon nearly averaged a 0.5 Asst/TO ratio.
9. Karl Madison – Drake – RS Freshman
Madison edges out incumbent PG Kurt Alexander and Frank Wiseler as head coach Mark Phelps likes Madison’s upside. Madison and Rice could become the best back court in the Valley, if they can stay healthy: Madison battled injuries and is a slight unknown for Drake next year.
8. Nic Moore – Illinois State – Freshman
My pick to win Freshman of the Year honors in the Valley. Nic is very undersized as he is ‘LISTED’ at 5’9” but is likely smaller; you wouldn’t know that watching his game, though. Nic is a dynamic guard who will be sure to impact the Redbirds offense.
7. Michael Bizoukas – Missouri State – 5th Year Senior (Transfer)
Michael Bizoukas, the Senior transfer from DePaul, will be asked to run the offense down in Springfield. Bizoukas is a very intelligent player whose stats are not indicative of his impact on a game. As long as he can find scoring options Keith Pickens and Kyle Weems, he should be good — and so should the Bears.
6. Ned Cox – Evansville – Junior
I project Ned Cox to run the point in Evansville this year. He will pair with MVC POY contender Colt Ryan in the Purple Aces back court. Cox can really hurt teams if they double down on Ryan as he is a sneaky good shooter.
5. Kendal Brown-Surles – Southern Illinois – Junior
Brown-Surles will be asked to do much more for the Salukis this year as low post options Carlton Fay (graduation) and Gene Teague (transfer) have now left the program. He is great long-range shooter (39.6% from 3) and can hurt teams when he goes to the bucket.
4. Johnny Moran – Northern Iowa – Senior
Just when I learn to spell Ahelegbe, he goes and graduates. The nerve. Johnny Moran has been a stalwart in the Panthers back court for years, and he will finally have the opportunity to run the team. With Anthony James running along side him and Jake Koch down low, Moran will have the option to either find his weapons or get off his dangerous shot. He is also a sneaky defender.
3. Joe Ragland – Wichita State – Senior
The JuCo transfer found his groove late in Valley play last season and this year, he will lead the best offense in the Valley. Ragland averaged 2.8 assists a year ago, but that went up to 3.5 asst/game in the Valley.
2. Jake Odum – Indiana State – RS Sophomore
Alright Syc fans let me hear it! I’ll say this about Odum, he’s a great guard who continually puts his teammates in positions to succeed. He’s active in the passing lanes on defense and a very good free throw shooter. As a freshman he led the Sycamores to the tournament and will be asked to do it again.
1. Antoine Young – Creighton – Senior
Young was Creighton’s Ironman last year. He played nearly 36 minutes a game and averaged 13 points and 5 assists. At times it was clear the long games and battles wore on Antoine. This year transfer Grant Gibbs and freshman Austin Chatman should provide Antoine a chance to stay fresh and increase his impact on the game.