The Heels are tops in talent <i>and</i> experience. Lawson (12.7 ppg, 5.2 apg), pictured, would have been a first-round draft pick in June, had he not had a run-in with the law in Chapel Hill. Fellow junior Wayne Ellington (16.6 ppg) would be the leading scorer on 99 percent of D-I teams; he just happens to be playing with Wooden Award winner Tyler Hansbrough. And Frasor, when he's healthy, might be the best backup point guard in the country.
2 of 15John W. McDonough/SI
Collison (14.5 ppg, 3.8 apg), pictured, was the best all-around guard to pass on the draft this offseason. He hit an absurd 52.5 percent of his threes as a junior, and is a steal machine on defense (averaging 1.8 per game). Joining him in the backcourt this season is a trio of phenomenal freshmen, the headliner being five-star combo guard Jrue (pronounced Drew) Holiday, who should start from Day 1.
3 of 15Greg Nelson/SI
The Bears could form two NCAA tournament teams with these guards, who'll all play 25-plus minutes per game in Scott Drew's uptempo offense. Jerrells, pictured, (15.3 ppg, 3.8 apg) is the veteran leader, but look for a breakout sophomore year from Dunn (13.6 ppg), who was one of the nation's most efficient shooting guards in '07-08.
4 of 15Robert Beck/SI
Given that James first declared for the NBA draft after his sophomore year, it seemed unlikely that the trio of him, McNeal and Matthews would remain intact when they were seniors. While James (12.9 ppg, 4.4 apg) is still a quality point guard, McNeal (14.9 ppg, 2.2 spg), pictured, has emerged as a legitimate Big East Player of the Year candidate, and one of the nation's top defenders.
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Price (14.5 ppg, 5.8 ppg), pictured, is one of the nation's best combo guards, as long he's fully recovered from a knee injury suffered in the NCAA tournament. Having Walker, an immense point-guard talent, alongside in the backcourt should only enhance Price's game.
6 of 15Icon SMI
DeRozan, pictured, is the best wing player in the 2008 freshman class. His skill set -- and ability to work without the ball -- should allow him to mesh well with junior point guard Hackett (8.6 ppg, 3.2 apg), who was plagued by injuries last season but still regarded as the glue in the Trojans' backcourt.
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Vaden (21.1 ppg), pictured, passed on the NBA despite a strong showing at the pre-draft camp in June. He and Delaney, a talented point guard who redshirted in '07-08 due to injury, should get the Blazers into the NCAA tournament -- and possibly give Memphis a challenge for the Conference USA title.
8 of 15Manny Millan/SI
The Tigers lost two draft picks from their backcourt (Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts), yet are still loaded enough to crack the top 10. Anderson, pictured, was a valuable glue guy in last season's Final Four run; Kemp, while no Derrick Rose, is a decent point guard; and Evans is a slasher who should thrive in the Dribble Drive Motion offense.
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Moore (12.9 ppg), pictured, and Grant (11.2 ppg) are both dead-eye shooters, hitting more than 43 percent of their threes. Kramer, meanwhile, is the team's unsung hero -- he was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in '07-08 after averaging 2.3 steals per game and playing extremely physical on-ball D.
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The Sun Devils are here largely because of Harden, who's regarded as a potential top-five pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Scouts who saw the 6-foot-4 lefty at this summer's LeBron James Skills Academy said Harden, pictured, has made major improvements from a freshman season in which he averaged 17.8 points per game.
11 of 15Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Devendorf (17.0 ppg), pictured, only played 10 games last season before suffering a torn ACL; in his absence, Flynn (15.7 ppg, 5.3 apg) blossomed into a strong point guard and future first-round draft pick. Together they should be able to keep 'Cuse from missing the NCAA tournament for a third straight season.
12 of 15David E. Klutho/SI
McClinton, pictured, a transfer from Siena, powered the 'Canes into the NCAA tournament last year by averaging 17.7 points and hitting 42.7 percent of his threes. He and Dews both shoot over 90 percent from the free-throw line, while Hurdle isn't far behind at 86.5 percent.
13 of 15John Biever/SI
Pargo (12.1 ppg, 6.0 apg), pictured, pulled his name out of the NBA Draft after failing to get a first-round guarantee, but he and Bouldin (12.6 ppg) are both future second-round picks. Gray, meanwhile, was a lethal long-distance shooter as a role player in '07-08, hitting 46.3 percent of his treys.
14 of 15Al Tielemans/SI
Reynolds, pictured, carried 'Nova to the Sweet 16 last year as a No. 12 seed, averaging 23 points in wins over Clemson and Siena and establishing himself as an elite scoring guard. Fisher (9.1 ppg), another strong athlete in the Wildcats' guard-heavy offense, could have a breakout sophomore year if he can become a more disciplined shooter. He hit just 35.4 percent of his field goals as a freshman.
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Calathes (15.3 ppg, 6.1 apg), pictured, was the SEC's top freshman last season, and is the Gators' clear star now that Marreese Speights is in the NBA. Lucas (8.5 ppg), Hodge (10.4 ppg) and Walker (a three-star freshman) add enough quality depth for Florida to beat out the likes of Davidson and St. Mary's (both one-man backcourt shows), as well as Texas (lacking in a proven point guard) for the No. 15 spot in our rankings.
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