Connor Cagley, Big Sports Radio Basketball Writer
September 12, 2022
Let's take a look at the Top 5 Shooting Guards in the B1G. For this discussion, we're not going to slide a freshman into the Top 5 because there is no statistical evidence that I can use as a base to predict their performance. I also have specific articles rating the B1G freshmen as well (see the links at the bottom of this page).
Sean McNeil will be making his Big Ten debut this year at Ohio State after playing his first three years for West Virginia. McNeil averaged 12.2 points per game for both the last two seasons. His specialty is his three point shooting where he shot almost 5 attempts per game at 36.8%. Coincidentally, this is also his career average.
Defensively, he’ll have a lot to prove. As long as he’s hitting three point shots at a strong clip, he can offset his defensive weaknesses. One way he can improve his game is by becoming a better all-around player, contributing more on the glass and becoming more of a playmaker if his shot isn’t falling.
Tyson Walker may get some minutes as a point guard for the Spartans, but it’s more than likely he’ll start at the shooting guard position next to AJ Hoggard. Walker will be able to provide value off the ball as he shoots the ball better from the three. At 47% from the three last season, he’s one of the best shooters in the conference. It’s likely he will average double digit points per game as Michigan State needs to replace their top scorers from last season.
Defensively, he may end up guarding point guards as his stature will limit who he can guard. This will be the area where he can prove his value to this team, as in most matchups he encounters he will find himself at a size disadvantage. As long as he can use his speed to get into his opponents’ body he can offset their size advantage.
Tony Perkins only averaged 18 minutes per game during his sophomore year. In those minutes he was one of the most productive players on the floor for the Buckeyes, averaging 7.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. During last year, his minutes were going up as the season wore on. The games where he played his best, Iowa was at its best. While Keegan and Chris Murray were the focal point of the offense, they still needed a perimeter player or guard to take the pressure off of them.
He only shot 32% from the three all season, but his stroke certainly looks better than that percentage. This year he’ll be starting which will allow him to come out of the gates hot. It’s also likely he’ll be given more freedom offensively which should allow him to feel more empowered on the court.
Caleb McConnell is the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year. For that alone, he deserves plenty of praise. At 6’7” he will be the most versatile player on that side of the court. Offensively, he needs to step up his game as Rutgers will be replacing their top 2 players (Ron Harper, Jr. and Geo Baker). This is an area outside his comfort zone, but as a senior he will be counted on to do things he couldn’t do as an underclassman.
His three point shooting is only 27%, but his jump shot looks better than that percentage. Another area where he showed continuous growth last season was as a playmaker. Now that he’ll have the ball in his hands more often, this is something he can build on. McConnell guards both 2s and 3s, so many people could choose to call him a 3. He's an excellent player at either position.
Terrance Shannon will likely be the alpha dog for the Fighting Illini. He averaged 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds on 45.5 field goal percentage last year at Texas Tech University before transferring to Illinois.
At 6’6”, Shannon will be playing on the wing, a position where Illinois has lacked athleticism for many years. In addition to his extreme athleticism, he shoots 38% from the three and has the potential to be a lockdown defender on the other end of the court.
Shannon will likely be the premier transition player in the entire conference in terms of his finishing ability. Because of his skill set, it’s likely he will only be at Illinois for one season before his departure to the NBA.
Top B1G Freshmen: