At the beginning of the past college basketball season, talking heads from all over the nation - including local guys with limited “listenership” in ultra small markets - were chanting the same message. “Get a look at Duke’s freshman sensation, Austin Rivers, the nation’s top point guard, because he won’t be around the college scene after this year.” They got it partially right. Austin is no longer a Dookie. Then again, some pundits claimed Rivers might not have been a point guard.
For example, on October 19, Matt Norlander from CBSSports.com wrote an article on the nation’s top PGs and listed Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor number one. His opinion was echoed by many in the media world. Then, the games were televised and UNC was on (and on and on ) and the nation was raving about the sure fire #1 point guard in the US, Kendall Marshall.
I remember hearing an announcer make the statement (was it because it was cute or did he actually mean it - it sounded like the latter), “No point guard is the nation is Craft-ier that Ohio State’s Aaron.” On December 12, still another site, rivals.com, had Xavier’s Tu Holloway listed as the top PG in the country. Throughout the season, other names would be thrown out when the discussion turned to college’s best floor generals, e.g. Shabazz Napier (”Kemba Walker stole the spotlight last year”), Marquis Teague (”sure, he plays with great players but someone’s got to run the show and distribute”), Scoop Jardine (”the real reason the ‘Cuse is having such a great year”), Matthew Dellavedova (”if he played for a bigger name school than St. Mary’s there would be no question as to which point guard would lead the list”).
In the heat of conference races, a television piece was done on Iona’s Scott Machado, calling him, you guessed it, “the best point guard in college basketball.” It seemed like every week there was a new “king of points” crowned.
Finally, the NBA draft was held and, according to every knowledgeable basketball person I’ve ever heard - to a person - the two most important positions to have for a successful team are a big guy and a point guard. So which of the previously mentioned PGs was drafted first? None! Instead, Damian Lillard of Weber State which only goes to show that NBA teams draft the same way NFL clubs do. The pre-draft camp, the NBA’s version of the NFL combine (as well as personal visits to the team’s site), mean more than watching a guy during a season (or post-season).
Now, I realize a player can be the best collegiate point guard and still not get the love from NBA scouts for a myriad of reasons, but the way “the best” is reported by the media can only be compared to the number of junior high crushes that go on in the average first week of school. Of course, nothing matters until they strap it on anyway. The players, not the junior high kids.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - or the team that needs what you bring to the table.”