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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 20 College Basketball Point Guards of All Time

Top 20 College Basketball Point Guards of All Time

Publish Date: 12/03/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Top 20 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.

20) Johnny Dawkins, Duke

Johnny Dawkins was a four-year starting point guard at Duke from 1983-1986 who amassed 1,254 points while leading their offense with 565 assists and 458 goals scored.

After completing his time with the Blue Devils, Dawkins became their all-time leading scorer (now eclipsed by J.J. Redick) by amassing 2,566 points.

Dawkins earned Second Team All-America status during his junior year.

During his senior season, he was named to the First-Team All-American squad and honored as the 1986 Naismith Player of the Year.

Video: Johnny Dawkins Becomes Duke's All-Time Leading Scorer vs UNC | ACC Hidden Gems

Johnny Dawkins Becomes Duke’s All-Time Leading Scorer vs UNC | ACC Hidden Gems

19) Sherman Douglas, Syracuse

Sherman Douglas, an accomplished point guard, guided Syracuse during one of its finest stretches in school history.

Douglas always ensured his teammates were in scoring position by passing them the ball at just the right moment, yet he was unafraid of taking risks when game-winning shots needed to be made.

Though not known for his scoring prowess, General still averaged 14.9 points per game while dispensing seven assists daily.

Douglas finished his four-year Syracuse career as the All-Time Assists leader and was No.6 among NCAA Career Assists leaders.

Video: Sherman Douglas hikes ball to Stevie Thompson for the dunk vs. Indiana 1988 Pre-season NIT

Sherman Douglas hikes ball to Stevie Thompson for the dunk vs. Indiana 1988 Pre-season NIT

18) T.J. Ford, Texas

T.J. Ford may have only spent two years in Austin, yet he still made a statement in his short time at Texas.

Ford made headlines during his freshman season at Texas by leading his team in steals (72) and becoming the first freshman player ever in NCAA history to lead in assists per game (8.27 per game).

Ford was honored as 2002 Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

Ford finished his sophomore season ranked third nationally in assists per game (7.7) while leading Texas in scoring (15 ppg), assists and steals (66).

He earned consensus First Team All-American status and was selected as the Naismith and Wooden Award recipient.

Video: 2002 NCAA Basketball Regional Semi Finals Texas vs Oregon

2002 NCAA Basketball Regional Semi Finals Texas vs Oregon

17) Ernie DiGregario, Providence

Ernie DiGregorio was an unparalleled ball-handling and playmaking expert, one of the greatest in Providence College’s history.

Ernie D is still one of the top assists leaders and one of the premier scorers in PC history.

He was selected unanimously as an All-American in 1973 and won the Lapchick Award (Most Outstanding Senior).

DiGregorio became the only Providence player ever honored with inclusion on an NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team.

Video: Ernie DiGregorio highlight reel (very rare footage)

Ernie DiGregorio highlight reel (very rare footage)

16) Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech

Anderson averaged 20.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 8.81 assists per game as a freshman.

As a freshman, he excelled by averaging 25.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, and 5.6 apg.

Anderson excelled during his two years at Georgia Tech, being named both United States Basketball Writer’s Association National Freshman of the Year as well as Third Team (1990) and First Team (1991) All-American.

Video: Kenny Anderson: Pre NBA // Georgia Tech Mixtape

Kenny Anderson: Pre NBA // Georgia Tech Mixtape

15) Mateen Cleaves, Michigan State

Mateen Cleaves was an undaunted competitor and incredible leader for Michigan State.

Cleaves was honored with both Big Ten Player of the Year awards (1998 and 1999).

He held Michigan State and its conference record with 816 career assists and is Michigan State’s all-time steals leader (193).

Cleaves led his Spartans to an NCAA National Championship victory in 2000, earning the most outstanding player status at the Final Four tournament.

Michigan State’s only three-time All-American (two times as Second Team and once as First Team).

Video: The Story of Mateen's One Shining Moment

The Story of Mateen’s One Shining Moment

14) Jay Williams, Duke

Jay Williams is one of Duke basketball’s premier point guards in history.

Williams earned ACC Rookie of the Year and National Freshman of the Year honors from The Sporting News for his outstanding play in, averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest.

He was also selected as a First Team Freshman All-American by Basketball Times.

As a sophomore, Williams led Duke to victory at the 2001 NCAA Championship, garnering him an NABC Player of the Year trophy.

As a junior in 2002, Williams won the Naismith and Wooden Awards as College Basketball Player of the Year.

Williams earned First Team All-America status in both his sophomore and junior seasons.

Video: Jay Williams Mixtape - Duke

Jay Williams Mixtape – Duke

13) Jameer Nelson, St.Joesph

Jameer Nelson quickly made a great first impression during his college basketball career at St. Joseph’s. He quickly rose through the ranks.

Nelson was honored with a unanimous National Freshman of the Year honor.

Nelson averaged 16.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game during his four-year career.

Nelson was honored with the Wooden and Naismith Awards and Oscar Robertson and Adolph Rupp Trophies during his senior season.

Nelson ended his St. Joseph’s career as the greatest in program history, holding all-time leader positions for scoring (2094 points), assists (714), and steals (265).

Video: The Magic Of March: The Incredible Run Of The 2003-04 St. Joe's Hawks

The Magic Of March: The Incredible Run Of The 2003-04 St. Joe’s Hawks

12) Chris Paul, Wake Forest

Paul won ACC Rookie of the Year during his freshman campaign, scoring 14.8 points per game while dishing out 5.9 assists and 2.7 steals per contest, leading Wake Forest to the Sweet 16 before going pro after his sophomore campaign. Paul made first-team All-America with 15.3 points, 6.6 assists, 2.4 steals per game; that team won 27 games and finished fifth in the final AP Poll.

Video: Chris Paul “CP3”😤 Wake Forest Highlights(2003-2005)

Chris Paul “CP3”😤 Wake Forest Highlights(2003-2005)

11) Allen Iverson, Georgetown

Iverson quickly established himself as an explosive force from his first day on campus. As a freshman, he earned second-team All-Big East honors with 20.4 points, 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game; yet some rough edges remained; which were addressed better as a sophomore through improving shot selection and decreasing turnovers by 0.6 per game; ultimately leading him to achieve consensus first-team All-America status with 25.0 points, 4.7 assists and 3.4 steals — his newfound deep shooting proficiency of 36.6% on 6.4 attempts per game combined with his quickness made Iverson nearly unbeatable in this arena.

Video: The Best 27 minutes of Allen Iverson Georgetown highlights on Youtube

The Best 27 minutes of Allen Iverson Georgetown highlights on Youtube

10) Stephen Curry, Davidson

Stephen Curry was one of college basketball’s most significant point guards.

Curry holds all-time scoring records at both Davidson College and in the Southern Conference, along with school career records in three-pointers (414), free throws (479) as well as 30-point games and 40-point games.

He set an NCAA single-season three-pointer record (162) and led Davidson College to two consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament.

As a senior, Curry averaged 28.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game.

Curry was twice honored with Southern Conference Player of the Year honors.

As a sophomore, Curry was named to the Second Team AP All-American list.

Curry earned First Team All-America recognition during his final year of study at Davidson.

Video: Stephen Curry: 2008 NCAA tournament highlights, top plays

Stephen Curry: 2008 NCAA tournament highlights, top plays

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 a school record for most 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, leading 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) 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!

4) 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

3) 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

2) 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

1) 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

 

Honorable Mentions

John Lucas

Walt Hazzard

Greg Anthony

Kyle Macey

Brevin Knight

Rickey Green

Keith Jennings

John Wall

Steve Blake

Jacque Vaughn

Tim Hardaway

Ed Cota

Damon Stoudamire

Andre Miller

Ty Lawson

Chris Jackson

Mike Bibby

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