Thursday, October 05, 2006

Basketball Preview part I - Point Guards

With just about one month until basketball season tips off for the Thad 5, I now have the difficult task of balancing out Buckeye Football, Buckeye Basketball, and Cavaliers Basketball. I would mention the Browns somewhere in there, but there's just nothing interesting to say about them, unless someone gets hurt. Just like with my preview of the football season, I am going to do this in a position-by-position format, but I will also throw in some other tidbit posts on the team. So without further adieu, I present to you part I of a many parted series on the basketball team starting with the Point Guard position.


The Floor General:
Jamar Butler, Junior
6'2" 200 lbs
Lima, OH

Arguably the best leader in the entire Big 10, which are strong words considering this kid has only been a full-time starter for only one season. Although most of the Big 10 POTY debate was around Dee Brown and Terrence Dials, it very easily could have been Butler who took that crown, had anybody took the time to notice just how effective of a player he is. Last season, on a perimeter-oriented team in Ohio State that was often quite streaky in three pointers, Butler was a model of consistency, hitting 44% of all shots from beyond the arc. But his game goes far beyond his ability to score points. Last season, Butler averaged 8 assists per 100 posessions, playing for a team that made a living spreading assists around (think 2005 Iowa). The number one goal of all point guards is to create opportunities for the offense to flourish, while not making dumb mistakes or causing turnovers. To say that there's a corellation between OSU's #1 conference ranking in points per game and Jamar Butler's near 3:1 Assits:Turnover ratio would be an understatement. Butler had the highest offensive rating of any starter in the Big 10 (a team's points per posession, but for players instead. Essentially, the same thing as Passing Efficiency in football). He has that sense about him that he makes players around him better, something which will be needed greatly early on in the season considering the Buckeyes very well may have four new starters, with at least two of them being true freshmen.

Other guys to look out for:
  • Mike Conley, Freshman - The high school teammate of Greg Oden is often overlooked as that "other" five star recruit from Lawrence North High School. Conley has exceptional speed and agility. More importantly, however, is that Conley is a student of the game, so he should have no problem (or at least a lot less of one) adapting the college game, and he should see minutes instantly. The transfer of Sylvester Mayes opens up a slot for a backup guard to step in and instantly contribute, and Conley very well may be that man.

Coming up next week: Super freshman Daequan Cook and the rest of the Buckeye shooting guards!

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