With the college hoops season right around the corner, there are many local story lines worth following. The Philadelphia region is, arguably, the finest place in America to watch amateur basketball. Every year, Philadelphia produces a plethora of high school players that go on to make an impact at the collegiate level. Also, there are always a few that come from other areas to make some serious noise at one of the area Division 1 programs.
More than any other position, the focus is always on “Philly Guards.” They are known for toughness, tenacity and playing with a chip on their shoulder. What follows is a ranking of college guards, either from Philly or playing at one of the Philadelphia area college programs. I am sure there will be MAJOR disagreement over the place of some players. Please feel free to let me know where you think I went wrong.
1. Tyreek Duren, Senior, LaSalle, 14.2 ppg, 3.3 apg, 2.9 rpg last season.
At 6 ft, 180 lbs., Duren is the consumate floor general. He plays within himself at all times. Duren is never flustered and runs John Gianni’s offense with precision. An exceptional ball-handler, he consistently finds his teammates good looks. When needed, Duren delivers big shots.
2. DJ Newbill, Junior, Penn State, 16.3 ppg, 4.0 apg, 5.0 rpg last season
The prototypical Philly guard, Newbill does everything well. Standing 6’4” and weighing a solid 205 lbs., he strong and athletic. Forced to play point guard after a season ending injury to Tim Frazier, Newbill excelled. One of the top returning scorers in the Big Ten, having finished fourth (16.3) in 2012-13, DJ enters his junior season with nearly 800 career points, 11 20-point games and 41 career double-digit scoring outings and a chance to join the list of Penn State’s 1,000-point scorers.
3. Devon Saddler, Senior, Delaware, 19.9 ppg, 2.8 apg, 4.5 rpg last season
An explosive scorer, Saddler has been the focal point of the Delaware offense for the past three season. A sturdy 210 lbs, he is simply too strong for most opposing guards. Saddler has solid ball handling skills. While he is a decent shooter, he can be streaky at times. His strongest asset is his ability to get off a shot, seemingly, at will. He is fearless and competes every second of every game. Saddler will surely past the 2,000 point plateau early in his senior season.
4. Langston Galloway, Senior, Saint Joseph’s, 13.8 ppg, 2.3 apg, 3.6 rpg last season
An excellent all-around player, Galloway doesn’t have a real weakness in his game. While he is known primarily as a long-range shooter, he has very solid ball-handling and passing skills. For the past three years, he has been assigned the task of defending the best wing player on the opposing team. A fierce competitor, Galloway gives a full effort every time he sets foot on the court. A sneaky athlete, Galloway possesses an under-appreciated level of athleticism. He is capable of finishing with authority around the rim with relative ease.
5. Franz Massenat, Senior, Drexel, 14.7 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.4 rpg last season
A big point guard at 6’4” 180 lbs, Massenat is an excellent floor general. Thrust into a leadership role immediately upon his arrival three years ago, he has evolved into one of the premier guards in the CAA. A solid shooter, Franz excels at penetrating opposing defenses and finding his teammates on the wing or finishing at the rim.
6. Tyrone Garland, Senior, LaSalle, 13.1 ppg, 2.1 apg, 2.0 rpg last season
Thrust into the national limelight when his “Southwest Philly Floater” sent La Salle to the Sweet 16 with a thrilling 76-74 win over Mississippi, Garland is a well known commodity among Philly hoops aficionados. An aggressive offensive player, he has excellent lift on his jump shot enabling him to get it off against taller defenders and in traffic. Garland brings a high level of toughness to the LaSalle backcourt. Look for his offensive production to increase significantly with the graduation of Ramon Galloway.
7. Deshon “Biggie” Minnis, Sophomore, Rhode Island, Redshirt last season
A big, strong, pass-first point guard at 6’3” 205 lbs., Minnis is set to have a impact on the Atlantic 10 Conference after sitting out last year following a transfer from Texas Tech. He spent last season being tutored by Bobby Hurley, arguably, the greatest college point guard over the last 25 years. Blessed with exceptional court vision and a tight handle, Minnis will look to push the ball for Danny Hurley’s Rams this season.
8. Jordan Reed, Sophomore, Binghamton, 16.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.4 apg last season
Exploding on the college basketball scene as freshman, Reed nearly averaged a double-double. A next-level athlete, Reed finishes around the rim with authority. Known for dunking over much taller opponents, Reed is already one of the top players in the America East Conference. As he develops his outside shooting and refines his ball-handling skills, Reed has chance to become one of the players in the country.
9. Pendarvis Williams, Senior, Norfolk State, 14.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 apg
The MEAC Player of the Year, Williams has exceptional size for a guard at 6’6.” Capable of playing on and off the ball, he is a good shooter and solid ball-handler. A very good athlete, He has been mentioned as potential NBA draft pick.
10. Ryan Arcidiacono, Sophomore, Villanova, 11.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.5 apg
Thrust into a leadership role following the early departure of Maalik Wayns to the NBA, Arcidiacono led Villanova in minutes played (34.0 mpg) and assists (3.5 apg). He was a unanimous choice to the BIG EAST All-Rookie team and was named Rookie of the Week four times. An exceptional ball-handler, he benefitted immensely from playing heavy minutes as a freshman.
11. Damion Lee, Junior, Drexel, 17.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.8 apg
12. Chris Fouch, Graduate Student, Drexel, Redshirt last season
13. Rysheed Jordan, Freshman, Saint John’s, High School last season
14. Brandon Austin, Freshman, Providence, High School last season
15. Rondae Jefferson, Freshman, Arizona, High School last season
16. Steve Vasturia, Freshman, Notre Dame, High School last season
17. Sam Mills, Senior, LaSalle, 8.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.2 apg
18. DJ Irving, Senior, Boston University, 14.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.6 apg
19. Maurice Watson, Boston University, 11.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.4 apg
20. Miles Cartwright, Penn, 13.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.8 apg
Others to watch:
Jabril Trawick, Georgetown
DaQuan Walker, UCF
Will Cummings, Temple
Josh Brown, Temple
Quenton Decosey, Temple
Ky Howard, NJIT
Chris Wilson, Saint Joseph’s
Kyle Molock, Saint Joseph’s
Lamin Fulton, Wisconsin-Green Bay
Hakim Baxter, UMES
Devin Coleman, Clemson
Jarrod Denard, Claflin (Division II)
Mike Terry, UDC (Division II)