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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 12 Guards in Big Ten Basketball history

Top 12 Guards in Big Ten Basketball history

Publish Date: 03/02/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Top 10

Nothing is more critical than guard play in college basketball, to win it all in College you have to be strong in the backcourt and all of these ten players listed made their teams championship contenders.

12) Jalen Rose, Michigan

One of the Fab 5 from Michigan, Rose helped lead the swagger of the Wolverines and his “Fab” teammates to a couple NCAA Final Fours. The Fab Five would come up short in both final fours against Duke in 1992 and North Carolina in 1993.

Video: Michigan's Fab Five - A Look Back - Jalen Rose Highlights

Michigan’s Fab Five – A Look Back – Jalen Rose Highlights

11) Mike Conley, Ohio State

Conley was a great scorer who could beat you with his outside shooting, slashing, and driving to the basket. Conley was also a solid defender and a great leader—one of the greatest Buckeyes of all time.

Video: Mike Conley Ohio State Highlights

Mike Conley Ohio State Highlights

10) Kendall Gill, Illinois

Gill was a great athlete who could do it all on both sides of the court.  As a senior, Gill led the Big Ten in scoring and was named a first-team All-American (UPI). He left Illinois as the seventh-leading scorer in school history. Gill helped lead the Illini to a tournament berth each year he played including the 1989 Final Four.

Video: Kendall Gill 89 vs Iowa

Kendall Gill 89 vs Iowa

9) D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

Russell is maybe the best defensive guard in Big Ten history, and he would go on to be considered one of the best defenders in the NBA. Russell was also an offensive weapon and one of the greatest Buckeye basketball players of all time.

Video: D’Angelo Russell Ohio State Freshman Regular Season Highlights Montage 2014-15 HD

D’Angelo Russell Ohio State Freshman Regular Season Highlights Montage 2014-15 HD

8) Ronnie Lester, Iowa

Lester made his presence felt immediately after arriving on campus in Iowa City, Iowa. He started as a freshman and played a crucial role in Iowa’s successes over his four seasons. At Iowa, Lester would earn All-American honors in 1979, First Team All-Big Ten honors in 1978 and 1979, and lead the Iowa Hawkeyes to a share of the 1979 Big Ten title and the Final Four of the 1980 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. An injury in 1980 severely limited him, and without that injury, he may have led Iowa to a National Championship.

Video: Hawkeye Basketball Legend Ronnie Lester #12 Jersey Retirement Ceremony @ Fieldhouse on March 1, 1980

Hawkeye Basketball Legend Ronnie Lester #12 Jersey Retirement Ceremony @ Fieldhouse on March 1, 1980

7) Nick Anderson, Illinois

Anderson was one of the best shooters in Big Ten history, and the range on his shot was amazing. He was dangerous once he passed half-court. Anderson teamed up with Kendall Gill to form one of the best backcourts in Big Ten history.

Video: Nick Anderson Buzzer Beater Illinois at Indiana | 3/5/89

Nick Anderson Buzzer Beater Illinois at Indiana | 3/5/89

6) Glen Rice, Michigan

Rice played guard and forward but was more of a shooting guard to me. He averaged 26 points pergame in 1989 when he helped lead the Wolverines to the National Championship game where he scored 31 points to lead Michigan.

Video: Glen Rice- 1989 Michigan Basketball Highlights MIX |

Glen Rice- 1989 Michigan Basketball Highlights MIX |”Sirius”|

5) Derron Williams, Illinois

The Illini have had some great guards, and Williams is at the top of that list. Williams could do it all and helped lead the Illini all the way to the 2005 National Championship game.

As a sophomore, Williams improved his scoring average from 6.3 to 14.0 points per game and assists per game from the prior year to 6.17. Williams was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media.

Video: Deron Williams Illinois Highlights

Deron Williams Illinois Highlights

4) Steve Alford, Indiana

Alford was a flat-out pure shooter who could hit from anywhere. He was an average-at-best defender, and he needed screens to get his shot off, but he was as accurate a field goal and free throw shooter as you will ever see, and he helped the Hoosiers win it all in 1987.

Video: Steve Alford- 1987 NCAA Tourney Scoring Highlights

Steve Alford- 1987 NCAA Tourney Scoring Highlights

3) Isiah Thomas, Indiana

Thomas was only a Hoosier for two years, but those two years were special as Thomas led the Hoosiers to back-to-back big ten championships and the 1981 National Championship. Thomas was a great leader with an innate ability to take a game over.

Video: Isaiah Thomas (Basketball Documentary)

Isaiah Thomas (Basketball Documentary)

2) Rick Mount, Purdue

Mount was maybe the greatest shooter in College Basketball history. He averaged more than 30 points per game for the three seasons he played, and that was without a three-point shot. He shot over 50 per cent from the field while sharpshooters like Pete Maravich were shooting in the mid-40s. Mount helped lead the Boilermakers to the National Championship game.

Video: Big Ten Icons #09 - Rick Mount

Big Ten Icons #09 – Rick Mount

 

1) Magic Johnson, Michigan State

Much like Thomas Magic only played two seasons, but those two seasons ended with a 1978 loss in the regional finals to Kentucky and a 1979 National Championship win over Indiana State. Magic is the greatest point guard to ever play at any level of basketball.

Video: Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson COLLEGE DUEL Highlights (1979.03.26) Indiana St vs Michigan St (EPIC!!)

Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson COLLEGE DUEL Highlights (1979.03.26) Indiana St vs Michigan St (EPIC!!)

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