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October 18, 2006

New names top shooting guard rankings

Preseason Top 25
Preseason PG rankings
The College Basketball Wire

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College basketball just won't be the same without J.J. Redick.

The Duke guard's departure leaves two questions. First, who will become the new favorite target for Duke haters? And second, who is the top shooting guard in the country?

Even though he has moved on to the NBA, Redick is a name you're sure to hear, especially in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee junior Chris Lofton is in position to challenge Redick's record of 457 3-pointers. Through two seasons, Lofton has made 207 three-pointers, 10 more than Redick had through his sophomore season.

While Lofton has his eye on Redick's record, UCLA's Arron Afflalo will try to return to the national title game, sans point guard Jordan Farmar. With the Bruins relying more on Afflalo, he could have a breakout year in his junior season.

Afflalo is among several shooting guards - along with Colorado's Richard Roby, DePaul's Sammy Mejia and Creighton's Nate Funk who are also their team's best defenders.

Find out where all the shooting guards fell in Rivals.com's position rankings:

Rivals.com 2006-07 Preseason Top Shooting Guards
1. Arron Afflalo, Jr., UCLA, 6-5, 210
The Bruins lost point guard Jordan Farmar early to the NBA, but don't expect much of a drop-off in the backcourt. Afflalo was the Bruins' leading scorer (15.8 points per game) and best defender last season. The junior converted 46.2 percent of his shots a year ago, thanks mostly to his ability to shoot from mid-range. He also relied on three-pointers, with more than half of his shots coming from beyond the arc. UCLA also values his competitiveness and leadership. With sophomore Darren Collison taking over for Farmar, Afflalo could see some time as the backup point guard.
2. Chris Lofton, Jr., Tennessee, 6-2, 200
Lofton emerged as Tennessee's top player last season thanks to his 3-point shot. The junior led the Volunteers in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per game. He has topped 200 3-point attempts the last two seasons, and converted 43.7 percent of his attempts during Tennessee's surprise season in 2005-06. Like Afflalo, Lofton will have to work with a new point guard following the departure of C.J. Watson. Lofton is also working on his ability to drive to the basket, with hopes that he'll get to the foul-line more often. Lofton made 91.7 percent of his free throws last season.
3. Richard Roby, Jr., Colorado, 6-6, 205
The struggling Buffaloes got a big boost with Roby's decision to forgo the NBA Draft and return to Boulder, Colo. The half-brother of Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin has been praised for his mechanics, athleticism and intelligence. While leading Colorado in scoring (17 points per game) and rebounding (5.5 rpg), Roby showed improved ball security as a sophomore. He improved his turnover-to-assist ratio from .73 to 1.16. Roby's long wingspan also makes him a dangerous defender, as evidenced by his 62 steals last year.
4. Mario Chalmers, So., Kansas, 6-1, 195
Once Chalmers became a starter he was outstanding. After the New Year he averaged 14.1 points per game on the way to becoming the Most Outstanding Player of the Big 12 Tournament as a true freshman. For all of Chalmers' accolades as a scorer, he was a threat on the defensive end with a Big 12-leading 89 steals. He could also play point guard, but is most comfortable as a shooting guard.
5. Rodney Stuckey, So., Eastern Washington, 6-5, 205
Something of an unknown playing in the Big Sky Conference, Stuckey was the top player in the league. He was the first freshman in the history of the Big Sky to be named conference player of the year. He was the leading freshman scorer in the nation. He averaged 24.2 points per game and never scored fewer than 14 points in a contest. Stuckey is a threat all over the court, averaging 4.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
6. J.R. Reynolds, Sr., Virginia, 6-2, 188
Along with point guard Sean Singletary, Reynolds forms one of the best guard tandems in the country. He was a shooter primarily in his first two seasons, but as a junior he jumped from 40 assists to 82 assists. He also increased his scoring output from 10.7 to 17 points per game. Reynolds doesn't shy away from the basket and is creative and tenacious once he gets there. Singletary is the star of the Cavs' backcourt, but Reynolds deserves as much attention.
7. Sammy Mejia, Sr., DePaul
Mejia is DePaul's most experienced player with 83 career starts, a luxury in the Big East this season. The senior averaged 15.1 points per game and became a lock-down defender for the Blue Demons. He struggles at times with outside shooting, but is an excellent passer. Mejia is a versatile player who can fill in at point guard and small forward. He is poised for a breakout a year on a DePaul team that could contend for an NCAA Tournament spot.
8. Shan Foster, Jr., Vanderbilt, 6-6, 220
If not for Tennessee's Chris Lofton, Foster could be the best 3-point shooter in the SEC after converting 41.7 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. His accuracy was better in conference games, shooting 44 percent during the SEC schedule. Foster was fourth in the SEC last season with a scoring average of 15.9 points per game.
9. Toney Douglas, So., Florida State, 6-1, 196
Douglas sat out last season after transferring from Auburn, where he was a third-team freshman All-American. While with the Tigers in 2004-05, Douglas averaged 16.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Douglas is an excellent athlete who added 15 pounds of muscle during his redshirt year with the Seminoles.
10. Nate Funk, Sr., Creighton, 6-3, 195
Creighton went into last season with hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament thanks to Funk, who led the team in scoring (17.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.1 rpg) as a junior in 2004-05. However, a shoulder injury six games into the season ended his year and Creighton's tournament hopes. Funk received a medical redshirt and should again anchor a veteran Bluejays team both offensively and defensively.
Best of the rest
11. Daequan Cook, Fr., Ohio State, 6-5, 210
12. Paul Harris, Fr., Syracuse, 6-5, 220
13. Coby Karl, Sr., Boise State, 6-5, 204
14. Anthony Morrow, Jr., Georgia Tech, 6-5, 206
15. JamesOn Curry, Jr., Oklahoma State, 6-3, 190
16. Wayne Ellington, Fr., North Carolina, 6-4, 195
17. Adam Haluska, Sr., Iowa, 6-5, 210
18. Loren Stokes, Sr., Hofstra, 6-3, 175
19. Stanley Burrell, Jr., Xavier, 6-3, 205
20. Blake Ahearn, Sr., Missouri State, 6-2, 190

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