College basketball: Best coach/point guard duos in the country
The point guard is an extension of the head coach on the floor, and everyone knows how crucial the relationship between the two is.
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With that said, here are some of the best point guard/coach duos you can expect to see in 2016-17.
Bronson Koenig and Greg Gard, Wisconsin
Greg Gard’s first season as ‘the man’ in Madison couldn’t have gone much better. When he took over for the legendary Bo Ryan in the middle of the year, Wisconsin was in serious danger of missing the NCAA tournament. With Gard’s guidance, the Badgers were seconds away from reaching the Elite Eight.
And then there’s the ever-so-clutch Bronson Koenig:
Koenig’s role increased last season in the wake of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker’s departures, and the results were mixed. He shot 39 percent from 3-point range but really struggled to finish in the restricted area; Koenig made less than 40 percent of his 2-point field goals in 2015-16. By the end of the season, Gard busted out a few wrinkles to free Koenig; he leveraged his point guard’s shooting ability by having him set screens for his teammates.
Gard and Koenig only scratched the surface of their tandem potential a year ago. 2016-17 should be a fun one in Madison.
Monte Morris and Steve Prohm, Iowa State
Iowa State looked pretty similar under Steve Prohm to what it did under Fred Hoiberg. Make no mistake, that’s a compliment. A big reason why was its point guard.
As silky and smooth as they come, Morris has every offensive attribute you’d want in a college point guard. He’s got size, deceptiveness, the ability to shoot and the awareness to involve all of his teammates.
Morris averaged career highs in points (13.8), assists (6.9) and rebounds (3.9) in his lone season under Prohm, and those figures should increase as a senior. Georges Niang is gone, so Prohm and Morris will need to work together to push beyond the Sweet 16 this season.
Edmond Sumner and Chris Mack, Xavier
At 6-5 with blazing speed, Sumner has a chance to be even better than Semaj Christon was at Xavier. You can count the number of perimeter defenders that can keep Sumner out of the paint on one hand, and that makes coaching a heck of a lot easier.
With that said, Chris Mack is still one of the best in the business.
Mack has won nearly 70 percent of his games in Cincinnati, and Xavier’s 28 wins in 2015-16 are his highest total yet. The Musketeers have plenty returning this season, including star forward Trevon Bluiett. But with Mack’s guidance, don’t be surprised if Sumner approaches Bluiett-levels of stardom as a sophomore.
Melo Trimble and Mark Turgeon, Maryland
Most would agree that Maryland underachieved last season, and Trimble shoulders some of that brunt. In his sophomore season, the Terps’ point guard went ice cold during Big Ten conference play.
Regardless, his offensive skill is undeniable; he just checks so many boxes on that end of the court. As a freshman in 2014-15, Trimble averaged 16.2 points per game on 44.4 percent shooting. Against North Carolina last season, Trimble dazzled, scoring 23 points and dishing 12 assists.
This team is clearly Trimble’s in 2016-17, and as the undisputed alpha dog, expect a bounce back campaign from No. 2.
And Turgeon, to his credit, has gotten Maryland basketball back to where it was in Gary Williams’ prime. The fact that some dubbed the Terrapins ‘a disappointment’ in a 27-win season tells you all you need to know about what Turgeon has done in College Park during his five-year stint.
Joel Berry and Roy Williams, North Carolina
Williams inserted Berry into the Tar Heel starting lineup as a point guard last season, which shifted Marcus Paige to shooting guard. Paige struggled to adjust, but the move clearly benefitted Berry.
Berry has the keys to the offense in 2016-17, and he was incredible down the stretch last season. He cracked double figures in scoring in 13 of his final 14 outings, and was efficient in doing so.
And you don’t need me to ramble on about Williams’ coaching accolades, so I won’t. He’s widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the game.
Scoochie Smith and Archie Miller, Dayton
Scoochie Smith is a staple of the all-name team, and he’s got some game to boot. Smith ranked third on the Flyers in scoring (11.7 points per game) and led the team in assists (4.3 dimes per game) last year. He’s a scrappy defender that is underrated as a floor general.
His coach, meanwhile, is a rising star. Miller has done outstanding work in his time at Dayton; he is 115-55 as head coach of the Flyers. Miller is a pioneer of the small-ball movement, and every successful run-and-gun squad needs a good point guard. Dayton has one in Smith, and these two should make noise in the Atlantic-10 this season.
Tyler Dorsey and Dana Altman, Oregon
Oregon starts two point guards in Dorsey and Casey Benson, but Dorsey is the more dynamic of the two. He’s got some Melo Trimble to his game, all the way up to the hair style.
A dominant pick-and-roll guard, Dorsey averaged 13.4 points per game as a sophomore. Expect his assist total to spike as a sophomore; he only averaged two helpers per game last season, but that was more of a function of Oregon’s offensive flow than anything.
Oregon got much better as last season rolled on, and in that sense, Altman deserves loads of credit. His team took down Duke in the NCAA tournament and made it to the Elite Eight in 2015-16. Not bad for a football school. For whatever reason, Altman remains one of the most underrated coaches in college basketball.