College / Jul 28, 2011 / 12:30 pm

What School Is The New Point Guard U?

Damon Stoudamire

Damon Stoudamire (photo. Arizona Athletics)

Elite college basketball programs all have unique identities carved by their head coaches’ visions of what championship basketball leans upon. Defense wins championships, but offense has a more delicate balance of what’s right and what’s wrong. Does the system have restrictive bounds? Or is freedom important to a certain extent?

The answer lies within a thin grey-area of allowing players to utilize their own strengths and talents within an organized playbook. Balancing those two schemes defines winners. Who’s job description fits that? The point guard.

Thus, it’s a fairly consistent trend that some of the best college basketball programs in the nation regularly produce NBA-level point guards. At Arizona, Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson placed the onus on the point guard position, and his recruitment of elite guards dubbed his program Point Guard U. That was a result of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when a short-list of Olson’s point guards who went league included Steve Kerr, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby and Jason Terry. Leading into Olson’s retirement in the late 2000s, that trend remained true, but ultimately nothing could compete with the frequency and potency of what Arizona’s roster had shed into the NBA during the decade and a half beforehand.

Arizona fielded a number of four-year point guards through the 2000s, some of which made the NBA and some that didn’t. Going back to year 2000, I’ve analyzed which college team could argue for the title of Point Guard U, considering all point guards taken in the 2001 NBA Draft and afterward.

For the sake of clarity, the main players that will go into a school’s consideration will be those who were either drafted or those who worked their way onto any NBA roster and earned any number of minutes in the league. Combo guards who were interchangeable at either the college or NBA level will also be in the conversation.

Will the Wildcats of Arizona remain at the top of the list? Let’s find out.

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  • http://dimemag.com/author/lucas Lucas Shapiro


  • http://dimemag.com bullet380

    What? No Georgia Tech? Back in the day that was Point Guard U. Mark Price. Kenny Anderson. Travis Best. Stephon Marbury.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips


    Solid at the college level, but only Kyle Lowry, Randy Foye and Allan Ray made it. Scottie Reynolds is still on the outside looking in.

  • 3blite

    dont forget Baron Davis @ UCLA

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips


    He was drafted in 1999. This is since 2000.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Quiznakes K Dizzle

    Swap Memphis and Kentucky.

    1. UK sendin Marquis Teague to the league next season too. And I think he better than Joe Jackson.

    2. Tyreke ain’t a point, we know that now.

    3. Havin 4 points that should all start(sorry Mo)is better than 1 point, 1 two-guard and 3 guys who aren’t even in the league or barely blipped

  • ctkennedy

    Arenas alone should have Arizona ahead of Texas n Duke…hes HANDS down the best player outta them 3schools

  • rik smits

    ucla for sure, but malcolm lee is a joke.

  • bobby342

    UCLA is clearly #1 – where’s BARON DAVIS?
    Also it should be noted that all of the UCLA point guards are CURRENT STARTERS (except Malcolm Lee who was just drafted).

    It should also be noted that Calipari recruits like Evans, Wall, Knight were all top 5 recruits and one-and-dones that would have made the NBA anyways without any development. UCLA players were low-ranked players that were developed into NBA starter talent by Ben Howland (who was a point guard himself and focuses on point guards).

  • JC

    That’s funny, I was telling cats about UCLA being the new Point Guard U last summer. Glad to see I’m not crazy for thinking that.

  • Andrew

    A brand is built over time. Not on short periods of success. AZ’s transition from Olson to Miller took several years and it’s becoming clear with Turner’s commitment and the level of elite pg’s 2012 and beyond considering AZ that Miller is back in the reigns of PGU. Also, Terry and Bibby were late 90’s. Semantics, yes, but the two battled each other in the NBA finals just a few short months ago. To say Olson established point guard u from the late 80’s to early 90’s is misleading. It’s more accurate to say late 80’s to early 2000’s.

  • Andrew

    Also, Duke even on this list is an absolute joke. Irving may turn out to be great but as of now, he and Smith haven’t played a minute of pro ball. Not saying Irving will be a bust, he may be great, but until he proves himself on the court he’s an unknown. But hey, he was #1 overall and they are never a bust, right Larue Martin, Kent Benson, Pervis Ellison, Joe Smith, Michael Olowakandi, Kwame Brown, Greg oden… just saying.

  • Dont Forget Baron Davis for ucla

  • Hot Fiyah

    Do you guys not read? Baron Davis was drafted in 1999!

  • Brian kramer

    Don’t forget UCLA’s Aaron Afflalo. While he did play primarily a shooting guard,
    He played point guard at UCLA, as well.
    Now, Aaron Afflalo is a staring guard for
    The Denver Nuggets. Aaron went to
    2 Final Fours while at UCLA.

  • http://dimemag.com Mars

    Hmmm…no UNC. Lets try this. Ed Cota, Adam Boone, Ty Lawson, Ray Felton, Jeff McInnis, Ron Curry.

  • Billy Sunday

    good article. write one on the best conferences and which conference puts out the best or most nba players

  • shaw32

    Does elliot williams of duke/Memphis count or was he to much of an off gaurd?