College Hoops Preview: The Guards

US PRESSWIRE

Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears lead the charge.

With the start of the season a month away, the guards will lead the way this season.  Eddie Jordan understands his top two guards are his strength this year, and they will navigate the dirigible.  Rutgers will live and die by the guards and the three point shot.

So, who are they?

Myles Mack: Mack is the unquestioned leader on this team.  Jordan calls him the quiet assassin. Mack leads the team by example.  While Jordan has talked about Mack maxing out his three point attempts, the small guard has several weapons.  He is quick and excels in the open court.  The fast break is going to be key this year, and Mack can out race a lot of players.  Also, last year, he was one of the best free throw shooters in the Big East at 88%.  The smallish Mack is going to get bumped around a lot, and hopefully that puts him on the line just as often.  His ability to make free throws is a huge advantage for the Scarlet Knights.  Mack also has impressive range, and can hit the three from nearly anywhere on the court.  He shot 46% from three point land, and without Eli Carter, Mack will lead the way in shot attempts.  Assuming Mack can stay fresh, he'll be the key to the Scarlet Knights.  Because of Mack's size, defense could be a problem, as most guards will tower over him.  Mack will have to disrupt passing lanes to be effective.

Jerome Seagears: Seagears probably got hurt the most by Carter last year.  When Jerome got off to a slow start, Carter took more and more of the shots on the team, and it never felt like Seagears found his rhythm.  Once Carter went down with an injury, Seagears stepped in and showed some nice chemistry with Mack.  Seagears shot about 40% from 3-point land last year, and he's going to have to do the same this year.  Jordan's offense is either going to leave a lot of open looks from beyond the arc or open back door cuts.  The more Seagears can knock down, the better off the team will be (obviously).  While Seagears shot 73% from the free throw line, he only got to that line 42 times.  He's going have to double that this year.  Seagears controls the ball and really sees the floor well in a half court offense.  The quicker he learns Jordan's system, the better off the Scarlet Knights will be.

D'Von Campbell: The JUCO transfer will almost definitely be the first guard off the bench.  Reports say Campbell has showed some good speed.   Jordan has called him the best distributor on the team.  He also seems to see the floor well.  At Hutchinson (his Junior College), Campbell shot 36% from three, which should fit in well with Jordan's philosophy of maxing out three point shots.  He is diminutive, so-like Mack-defense may be a problem.  But if he's quick, he can be just as disruptive in the passing lanes.  Campbell says the right things, and Jordan has call him a "pleasant surprise."

Kerwin Okoro: The story of the off-season, Okoro's transfer waiver was granted, and he will be able to play this year.  The sophomore seems to fit the mold for what Jordan is recruiting.  A 6'5" guard who can also play the wing.  Okoro didn't play much at Iowa State due to the two deaths in his family.  He doesn't seem to be an big time offensive player, but Jon Rothstein labelled him as a solid program player, one who can do everything.  His size will be a boon for the defense, and Jordan will probably use him to guard the oppositions best guard when he takes the floor.  Okoro's best days are ahead of him.

Logan Kelley: The former walk-on was offered a scholarship this year.  He set a record by scoring 48 points in a JSBL game last summer--the most scored in the league that year.  Kelley can shoot the ball, and seems to love being on the team.  It is unknown how much playing time he'll see, but he does give the team some extra depth at the guard level.  One wonders if Jordan will give him a lot of time early in the season, as he looks to see how Kelley might play against quality competition.

The Scarlet Knights have a solid collection of guards on their roster, and all of them have experience.  College basketball is a guard's game, and Rutgers' roster is full of them.

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