Seven of the top 11 players on the Rivals 150 list for the class of 2005 are guards. See a trend already? The point guard and shooting guard field is diverse, deep and talented at the top. In the first edition of a three-part series, RivalsHoops.com National Recruiting Analyst Justin Young breaks down five of the top guards (point or shooting) in the nation and who could end up as the top guard overall at the end of the summer.
Mario Chalmers - Want points? He'll get 'em. Want assists? He's good for a minimum of six a game. Want defense? Chalmers brings it. The Alaskan guard is about as good as they get. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound prospect took his name off the recruiting board last week after verbally pledging to the Kansas Jayhawks. And 11 Big 12 coaching staffs are now looking for ways to stop him. Expect nothing but a great summer from Chalmers.
Monta Ellis - Ellis knows how to put up points in a hurry. The 6-foot-2, 160-pound shooting guard from Lanier (Miss.) High School has an array of moves and skills in his offensive arsenal. The Mississippi State pledge put on a show last season against Oak Hill Academy, scoring nearly 30 points in the second half but came up short for the win. Nevertheless, that game alone will be one of the best offensive outputs we've seen in years. He'll need to add strength for the SEC but when he is on, he is tough to stop.
Bobby Frasor - The basketball world knew he was good but after his performance at the Kingwood Classic, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound shooter from Brother Rice (Ill.) High School solidified his place as one of the elite guards in the rising senior class. Frasor is one of the hottest guards in the country and he's even turned away UConn, the National Champions. Offensively, he has a textbook jumper that can put a dagger in opponents with one swish. Schools such as Marquette, North Carolina and Stanford are in the hunt for his services.
Greg Paulus - The 6-foot-1, 180-pound point guard had a fantastic spring, taking his Syracuse-Rochester Area Players deep into several tournaments. He is the ultimate point guard, who has incidentally committed guard friendly Duke. Paulus has all of the tools to become of the top guards to put on a Blue Devils jersey. Some close to the ACC power have called him the next Bobby Hurley. Talk about high praise from the Duke faithful. The two-sport star (he is one of the top quarterbacks in the nation) is a fantastic passer and a deadly scorer.
Louis Williams - Winner. That word has followed him everywhere he has gone in the prep levels. He finds a way to pick up a victory. Along the way, the 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard will drop 30 points (or more) in the process. In fact, he scored 39 points in the state championship game and has already claimed two major AAU titles this spring. Williams uses his mind-boggling 40-inch vertical jump to sky for dunks in traffic or pull up from NBA range for three. Georgia has not had a recruit like him in a long, long while.
How important is it for teams to find a quality guard? Notice that four of the five players are early commitments to schools. Frasor may soon be off the board, too. College coaches know the importance of landing a point guard early. In what many have called a slimmer recruiting pool, these five guards will battle it out for top guard honors in the class of 2005 this summer.
Here is a look of our best of from the group:
Best Passer: Paulus. Because of his football skills, the future Duke Blue Devil knows where everyone, on both teams, is at all times. Best Shooter: Frasor. He possesses one of the best looking strokes in the entire class. He's clutch, too. Best Scorer: Tied between Ellis and Williams. Both know how and when to turn it on. Best Defender: Chalmers. He made headlines this spring with his 40 point performance in Las Vegas, but his on the ball defense will make opponents shiver. Best Ball Handler: Williams. This was a tough one but the Georgia-bound guard has improved his handles tremendously. Best Leader: Paulus. He rallies the troops better than anyone in this class.
Be on the lookout for our breakdown of the top wings and big men in the coming days.