Monday, August 15, 2011 Updated: August 17, 1:24 PM ET
PG Marcus Paige on top in a down year
By Reggie Rankin ESPN Recruiting
Without question the point guard, which is known as the coach on the floor, is the most important position on a high school and college basketball team. This year's crop of point guards only make up 15 percent of the ESPNU 100, which doesn't make them a strength of the class, but it still consists of some special ones.
For a point guard to be special he must have physical gifts (size, strength, athletic ability, speed and quickness) with a good basketball IQ, leadership skills and court vision. Other skills that must be elite, but can be developed through coaching and playing experience are ballhandling, passing, ability to make open shots and ability to make a play with the clock winding down.
Marcus Paige (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Mar)
6-foot-1, 160 pounds
College: North Carolina
Paige is a playmaker who excels in transition or in the half-court set and his ability to push the ball with pace will fit well with North Carolina's fast break. Paige has the speed and quickness to penetrate, drive, draw and kick and his passes are almost always on the money. He also is a scoring threat with range to the arc. He uses great touch and body control on left-handed pull-up jumpers and floaters. Paige also makes good decisions under stress and can create when the set play breaks down.
Kris Dunn (New London, Conn./Wilbraham and Monson)
6-3, 180 pounds
Dunn has a nice combination of size, speed and quickness. He knocks down jumpers off the catch or dribble and gets to the rim on the break or in the half-court set and can create for teammates. Dunn is an aggressive playmaker who can excel off the ball because of his size and ability to go get buckets. He is also capable of defending both guard positions. He is considering Connecticut, Boston College, Rhode Island, Marquette and Providence at this time.
Yogi Ferrell (Greenfield, Ind./Park Tudor School)
5-11, 160 pounds
Ferrell pushes the ball at high speeds and gets deep into the lane at will. He is constantly looking for a crack in the defense to attack and make a play for himself with his fabulous midrange game or find an open teammate. Ferrell can also knock down the open jumper when in rhythm, breaks pressure with ease and applies excellent ball pressure on the defensive end. Ferrell will be the guy Indiana coach Tom Crean will look to run the team and make plays from Day 1.
Others to watch
Ryan Arcidiacono (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy)
6-3, 185 pounds
Arcidiacono is tough, skilled and as competitive as any player in the class. He passes with great vision and shoots the 3 from deep. Arcidiacono is dependable, will be a tough matchup and is a good fit for the Wildcats' spread offensive attack.
Braxton Ogbueze (Charlotte, N.C./United Faith Christian Academy)
6-1, 185 pounds
Ogbueze plays with great energy and urgency on both ends of the floor. He attacks the rim with a purpose and uses his strength to expose weaker defenders. Ogbueze is another tough-as-nails lead guard who can knock down the open 3 or deliver the ball in the lane. He is also a good defender and should provide Florida coach Billy Donovan with a difference maker at the point right away.
James Robinson is the No. 49 overall player in the 2012 class.
James Robinson (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha)
6-3, 195 pounds
Robinson is a power point guard who is smart and a true winner. He has a good handle and passes on time and on target. Plus, he has a nice midrange pull up jumper when he is not scoring through contact at the rim. Overall, Robinson gets the ball to where it needs to be on the court and has the leadership ability to carry his team to victory.
J-Mychal Reese (Bryan, Texas/Bryan)
6-2, 170 pounds
College: Texas A&M
Reese is a quick lefty who can score the ball in a variety of ways. He can hit jumpers to the arc, knock down pull-ups or make acrobatic shots around the rim with touch and body control. Reese also has the ability to get deep into the lane and find the open man with a kick out or a drop off. He can also move off the ball because of his ability to produce points. The new Aggies coaching staff got everyone's attention by landing the terrific local guard.
Tyler Lewis (Statesville, N.C./Oak Hill Academy)
5-11, 160 pounds
College: NC State
In my opinion, Lewis is the best passing point in the class. The Kendall Marshall of the 2012 class. He plays with his head and eyes up, sees the next play and delivers the ball where his teammate can do something positive with it. He never seems to pass a teammate into trouble and can also make open shots and run the team. NC State coach Mark Gottfried has a pass-first leader who knows exactly what he is doing.
Javan Felix (New Orleans/Saint Augustine)
5-11, 190 pounds
We love Felix's confidence and attitude. He is a pass-first lead guard who can be trusted to make the right decisions and run the team. His feel for the game is easy to see and coach Rick Barnes will look to Felix to get everybody involved and keep things running smoothly. He is also a good rebounder for his position and is a good enough shooter to draw out the defense.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to 1990 and was a first-team All-MAC selection his senior season. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.