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Monday, May 5, 2014
Class of 2014's best passers

By Paul Biancardi

Members of the Class of 2014 have (mostly) made their decisions. Which incoming freshmen should you get to know? Here is a look at the best passers -- and one name to know in 2015:

1. Tyus Jones, Duke
He is the consummate point guard. His passes are always away from the defense and he has that snap on the ball that you just can’t coach. On the fast break, he will come to complete stop and let the trailer fill the lanes and make a precise pass for a layup or 3-point shot. In tight quarters he can penetrate and pitch effectively by making a soft pass or a bounce pass and he demonstrates the outstanding vision, poise and patience to be a great set-up man. Some players pass to get rid of the ball, but when Jones passes, it usually leads to an assist.

Tyus Jones will bring his precise passing to Duke's lineup next season.
2. Emmanuel Mudiay, SMU
Mudiay is a big lead guard who is a master at penetrating a defense with the peripheral vision to drive and find teammates. When the game goes uptempo, Mudiay will make the pass ahead to a running teammate and is also adept at throwing lobs to the rim. In ball screen action, Mudiay is quick to recognize when and where the open man will be and delivers a pinpoint pass. He is a true playmaker and a scoring guard, which is a tough combination to beat.

3. D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State
This future combination guard makes passing look easy as he plays with his head and eyes up, constantly probing a defense. Russell is a unique passer because he can make shots and score at a moment’s notice or find the assist early or late in a possession. He utilizes that talent by taking the ball up to the defense before he feeds the post.

4. Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
A true facilitator and distributor, Ulis always has the assist on his mind. He makes on-target passes on time no matter what pace the offense is running. This pass-first, but not pass-only point guard has all the instincts and vision that you want in a great assist man. Because of his small size (he's just 5-foot-9), he understands passing angles, making his passes even more accurate.

5. Chris Chiozza, Florida
Chiozza, one of the more creative and smart passers coming into the college game next season, understands when to pass and when to score, making him a tough player to defend. He also knows how to keep a defense off balance with a well-time pass fake.

Name to know in 2015: Jalen Brunson
As the son of former Temple and NBA player Rick Brunson, the lefty point guard comes from good stock. Passing the ball in the open court is where his game thrives and he understands how to keep the flow of an offensive possession and when to deliver the assist.