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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 10 College Basketball Point Guards of All Time: Is Magic Johnson Still The GOAT?

Top 10 College Basketball Point Guards of All Time: Is Magic Johnson Still The GOAT?

Publish Date: 02/13/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Top 10 Point Guards

You win in College Basketball with guard play, and today we will look at the greatest point guards to ever play the game.

10) Bobby Hurley, Duke

I know this won’t be a popular pick, but Bobby Hurley holds the NCAA’s all-time assists record (1.076).

Hurley was a winner. His record in all four seasons was 114-26. The Blue Devils won the 1991 and 1992 national championships while he was in Durham (1989-1993).

Although he was not considered the Duke go-to guy, Hurley was named 1992 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. He was also a First-Team All-American in his senior season (1993).

Hurley was named to the ACC’s 50th anniversary men’s basketball team in 2002. This indicates that he is one of the most outstanding players in conference history.

Video: Bobby Hurley highlights - Best Duke PG ever!

Bobby Hurley highlights – Best Duke PG ever!

9) Bob Cousy, Holy Cross

Bob Cousy, the first great college point guard, was also the greatest overall player of the 1940s in College Basketball.

Cousy, who played for Holy Cross was an All-American three times.

The “Houdini” of  the Hardwood was an amazing ball-handler and a phenomenal passer. His moves and zipped passes were often astonishing.

Cousy scored nearly 18 points per game during his college career, even though he wasn’t known for his scoring skills.

Video: Bob Cousy Career Highlights - The HOUDINI Of The Hardwood!

Bob Cousy Career Highlights – The HOUDINI Of The Hardwood!

8) Jason Kidd, California

Kidd’s first year at California saw him average 13.0 points, 7.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.8 steals per contest. This earned him the national Freshman Of The Year award and a spot on the All Pac-10 Team.

His 110 steals set the NCAA record for most freshman steals and set a school record for most steals in one season. Additionally, his career 220 assists were a school record.

As a sophomore, Kidd had an impressive season, with averages of 16.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 9.1 assists. This broke the school record for most season assists per season with 272 and led the nation in this category.

He was also named a First Team All-American, and he was the first Cal player to do that since 1968.

Video: Jason Kidd 😤 Cal Highlights (1992-1994)

Jason Kidd 😤 Cal Highlights (1992-1994)

7) Guy Rodgers, Temple

Guy Rodgers from Temple was one of the pioneers in college basketball. The Temple star “rivaled Bob Cousy in ballhandling and passing.” I think in college Rodgers was the better player.

Although assists averages weren’t kept track of at the time Rodgers played at Temple, according to Philly hoops historians.

Rodgers is considered by many to be the best guard to ever come out of Philly.

He averaged 19.6 PPG over his three years as an Owl and 6.5 RPG during that time.

Rodgers was the leader, and Temple came in third in the NCAA tournament in 1956 and 1958.

Video: Guy Rodgers Career Highlights

Guy Rodgers Career Highlights

6) Gary Payton, Oregon State

He could make a few shots from close and far if Oregon State needed him to. The 6’4″ guard was skilled at facilitating passes so that his teammates could score.

Payton was always looking for a rebound or a steal and he found a way to grab it.

His senior season (1989-1990) was among the best in Pac-10 history. He averaged 25.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game.

He was the Pac-10 player of the year, a consensus All-American, and the Wooden Award Winner during that year.

Payton was a do-it-all point guard and deserves to be ranked this high as an all-around player.

Video: Gary Payton Oregon State(college) Highlights

Gary Payton Oregon State(college) Highlights

5) Phil Ford, North Carolina

Phil Ford was the greatest point guard in ACC history.

Ford scored 2,290 points and averaged 18.6 PPG.

He was the first player to reach at least 2,000 points and give out over 600 assists in ACC history.

Ford was a Second-Team All-American as a sophomore and as a Junior- and Senior- he was first-team All-American.

He was awarded the 1978 Wooden (Player-of-the-Year) Award.

Video: ACC Kings of the Court | Phil Ford | ACCDigitalNetwork

ACC Kings of the Court | Phil Ford | ACCDigitalNetwork

4) Calvin Murphy, Niagara

Calvin Murphy from Niagara was one of college basketball’s most successful point guards.

The 5’9″ tall mighty mite scored 2,548 points in 77 games. He averaged 33.1 points per game. Murphy averaged 38.2 points per contest as a sophomore.

Murphy was a premier collegiate player during his time as a Purple Eagle. As a sophomore, he was Second-Team All-American. As a junior and senior, he was a First-Team All-American alongside legends like Lew Alcindor, Pete Maravich, and others.

Video: Niagara basketball’s Calvin Murphy gets a standing ovation at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston

Niagara basketball’s Calvin Murphy gets a standing ovation at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston

3) Isiah Thomas, Indiana

Thomas would have excelled in any college program. However, he stood out in Bob Knight’s motion offense during 1979-1981.

Chicago’s 6’1″ guard had the freedom and control to create and dominate from his backcourt position.

Thomas’s numbers aren’t enough to tell the whole story. In his two years of playing for the Hoosiers, Thomas averaged 15.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.7 assists. He was a masterful leader on the court and turned a strong IU team into a national champion in 1981.

“Zeke” was awarded the 1981 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award and was also selected for consensus First-Team All-American.

Video: Isaiah Thomas1981 Indiana Hoosiers Highlights

Isaiah Thomas1981 Indiana Hoosiers Highlights

2) Magic Johnson, Michigan State

He was 6’9″ tall and redefined the role. Magic could do it all, and along with Larry bird saved the NBA and made March Madness a much bigger sporting event than it had ever been.

Johnson was a master of every dimension of point guard play. Johnson had no gaps in his game.

His two-year college averages (1977-1979) were 17.1 points and 7.6 rebounds, respectively. He also had 7.9 assists per match.

Johnson did more than create a good stat line. Johnson also made people around him better. Johnson was the main reason Michigan State won the 1979 NCAA Championship.

As a freshman, he was selected as a Third-Team All-American and was also named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. As a sophomore, he was also named First-Team All-American.

Video: Magic Johnson - Michigan State Highlights

Magic Johnson – Michigan State Highlights

1) Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati

Oscar Robertson from Cincinnati may be the most versatile college basketball player of all time.

Like Pete Maravich, he played more than point guard. He was a great ball-handler, and it is hard to leave him off this list; it’s so hard that he ends up in the top spot.

Robertson was a phenomenal player, scoring 33.8 points, 15.2 boards, and 4.8 assists per game during his three seasons with the Bearcats. He was named All-American, national player of the year and a triple threat.

Robertson did more than post empty stats. In two of his three seasons, he elevated the Bearcats into the Final Four.

Video: Rare Footage of Oscar Robertson at University of Cincinnati

Rare Footage of Oscar Robertson at University of Cincinnati

Honorable Mentions

Guys just missing this list were Steph Curry, Jameer Nelson, Kenny Anderson Jon Lucas, Sherman Douglas, Allen Iverson, Mateen Cleaves, Johnny Dawkins, Chris Paul, and Walt hazard. Pete Maravich will be in the upcoming shooting guards compilation as I feel he was more of a shooting guard.

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