We have taken a real good look at the best shooting guards in the class of 2002. Based upon opinions by Mike Sullivan, Denny Conroy, Steve Smith, and Russ Blake, this is article based upon previous evaluations. The summer obviously will determine who is the best in the class of 2002.
The 2002 class is full of many great players at the shooting guard slot. Most of these players also have the ability to put the ball on the floor and help break a press. But two players stand out to us right now as the best at that position. Here they are:
1. J.J. Redick (committed to Duke): Without a doubt, the best shooting guard in the class of 2002. J.J. has always been given the label "great shooter." But there is so much more now to his game.
It was only a year ago that Redick told us he wanted to balance his offensive game by going hard to the basket. He has. And he is very successful in doing that. Many don't realize how strong he is when he takes it against the big men inside.
Another positive that comes from Redick taking it to the rack is he draws fouls. And with his beautiful stroke, he will score points in bunches.
If he stayed four years at Duke, he could make a run for the all time points lead for the Blue Devils. Redick is that good and so tough to stop now with his ability to beat his man off the dribble or shoot the NBA range jumpers.
2. Rashad McCants (already committed to North Carolina): There are some who felt McCants did not play well at a recent tournament in Bloomington, Indiana. Russ Blake, on the scene for us that weekend, indicated that McCants could have played better but still had a good tournament.
But one must not judge a player based upon a couple of games. Or we would have ratings bounce up and down like a yo-yo. But McCants is a wonderful athlete who plays hard all the time. What makes McCants so tough to guard is his combination of strength and athleticism. He finishes effortlessly in transition, and uses his physical gifts to draw fouls and finish above the rim.
If left unguarded on the perimeter, McCants can also knock down the three point basket. He is a better shooter coming off screens (catch and shoot) than off the dribble.
Other names that are likely to be among the top ten on lists include Bracey Wright, Antonio Lawrence, Kelenna Azubuike, Lester Abram, Hassan Abrams, Rob Hite, Daniel Horton, Matt Walsh, Chris McCray, Cameron Bennerman, J.R. Morris, DeAngelo Alexander, Alex Camona, and Jonathan Modica.
We will try to highlight more of these great players in the coming weeks.