Position Preview: Point Guard

College basketball season is almost here for the University of Minnesota. With some key additions to the team, the Gophers are looking to improve on their first-round NCAA Tourney exit. Goldensports.net will take an in-depth look into each position on the team. The first position of focus will be point guards.

Starter:
Leading the pack of floor generals is senior Al Nolen. The 6-foot-1 point guard brings experience, leadership and poise to the Gophers. Last season Nolen only played 18 games due to academic suspension but in those 18 games he played extremely well, compiling 6.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

His most impressive stat was his 2.96 turnover to assist ratio which would have been near the top of the Big Ten had Nolen played in enough games. As many Gopher fans already know, Nolen is not a player who will put up a lot of points. He is not a great jump shooter but can knock down a shot if given an open look.

Where Nolen excels is in transition and penetrating to find his open teammate. He is a floor facilitator who will look to pass first and shoot second. Nolen is arguably one of the Gophers' best on-ball defenders due to his great hands and great anticipation in looking for the steal. Having Nolen back for the entire year will be an enormous benefit for the Gophers.

Key Backup:
Last season, Devoe Joseph got a lot of minutes at point guard during the absence of Al Nolen. Now with the indefinite suspension of Joseph due to off the court issues, the Gophers will look to some younger players to fill the void at the point until Joseph returns which appears to be no time in the near future.

One player who could step up and play some point guard is freshman Maverick Ahanmisi. Ahanmisi is more of a scorer but he also possesses solid ball handling skills to help him if he has to play point. Ahanmisi is a good shooter from deep but can also penetrate for a score.

At 6-foot-2 Ahanmisi has good height for the position which should help him on the defensive end. Look for Ahanmisi to get extended minutes this season during Joseph's suspension.


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