Pointing out the best

When it comes to running the offense in basketball, the point guard is normally the one that a head coach will turn to. The "one", as they are numerically known, carries out the offensive scheme and attempts to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.

The one-guard is responsible for not only handling the ball and protecting it, but also distributing it to places where the others on the floor can score. He can do this by either passing it to designed areas, breaking down the defense by dribbling the ball through screens and creating passing lanes, or he can attempt to beat his man and score.

Washington has had some very solid point-men in their storied basketball history. I have only been attending games since the late 1970s but I thought I'd put together a list of the top four point guards and compare them to Washington's current point guards just for fun to see how they stack up. Here is my list.

Eldridge Recasner – Recasner came from Louisiana at the same time Coach Andy Russo came from Louisiana Tech. It was an uncertain time on Montlake as Marv Harshman had just been retired somewhat surprisingly the year before. Eldridge played from 1987 to 1990 and in that span he accumulated 376 assists for some down Husky teams. That is just shy of four assists per game, and he also added 14.5 points per game over his career, with his high being 18.1 per contest in 1989. His shot was underrated, as many may have forgotten that he was able to connect on 39 percent of his 300 three-point field goal attempts, and he was a career 81 percent foul shooter. Those numbers compare favorably with sharpshooter Tre Simmons, one of the best pure shooters to ever suit up for the Huskies. Recasner's deft passing, calming floor leadership, and his ability to penetrate or pull up and shoot made him one of Washington's best point guards in school history. He was named to the school's "All Century" team and for good reason.

Alvin Vaughn – Vaughn came to Washington from nearby Garfield High School and played from 1981 to 1984, some very good years for Marv Harshman's squad. Vaughn was the floor general, able to break presses all by himself. In the 1984 NCAA tournament when Washington faced Duke's guard tandem of Johnny Dawkins and Tommy Amaker, Harshman would break their press by having virtually the entire team go past half court and let Vaughn dribble through both. It was amazing. Vaughn finished his career with 292 assists, averaging 3.1 per game over that time. His best year came in 1983 when he averaged 5.6 dishes per contest. Vaughn was never a big scorer, but he was the engine that got his team to the finish line. He was excellent at finding Chris Welp in the paint and getting the ball to him in good situations, and also very good at driving and dishing to Detlef Schrempf on the wings. Vaughn was a throw-back pure point guard who never looked for his shot first.

Will Conroy – Will's story is truly inspiring. Coming out of Garfield High, Conroy was anything but ready to be a Pac-10 level point guard. His shot was ugly, he turned the ball over, and he just looked lost. One media member told me off the record that he was the worst point guard in the Pac-10 and couldn't believe that the Huskies couldn't do better. Conroy took his struggle as inspiration and worked hard on his game. It showed. Each season he improved and by the time he was finished, he became the all-time school leader in assists with 515, or an average of 4.3 per contest over the years spanning 2002-2005. Conroy was a suffocating defender who was relentless in his on-ball defense, and his warrior heart spilled over to his teammates, who fed on Will's fire. In 2005 as a senior Conroy averaged a school record 6.4 assists per game, and was named to the conference all-defensive team.

Chester Dorsey – "Chet the Jet" was one of Harshman's few recruits that didn't come from the west coast, but he made a huge imprint on the area. Dorsey played at Washington from 1974-77 and was named to the "All Century" team for his efforts. He perhaps was the very first Husky point guard that could break down a defense by himself, penetrate the lane, and dish to any of a number of open teammates. James Edwards, Lars Hanson, Clarence Ramsey, and Kim Stewart were the beneficiaries of a lot of his passes because Dorsey involved them all. Dorsey was the main architect of a 103-81 upset victory over UCLA, the final game John Wooden would ever lose. Dorsey, then a sophomore, would dish out 15 assists in that game. Although brash and flashy with his between the legs dribble and behind the back passes, Dorsey was unselfish. He had 466 assists in his for years, averaging a school record 4.4 per game over his career. In 1976 he averaged 5.8 per game, and led his team to a 23-6 mark with the team being ranked as high as No. 6 in the country. Dorsey is widely considered the most flamboyant point guard in school history, but he also was one of the best.

The current starting point guard can either be considered Abdul Gaddy or Tony Wroten, as both flip flop between the one and two roles.

Abdul Gaddy - Gaddy is a junior from Tacoma who has a calming affect on what can sometimes be a rather frantic UW offense. Abdul excels when in transition and when he is aggressive at taking the ball to the hoop. He has largely been in the shadow of Isaiah Thomas and hasn't had a very steady career to date. However he is still a big part of Washington's success this year and Romar looks to him to provide steady leadership and take good care of the ball. He had rather lofty press clippings coming out of Bellarmine Prep, and he has never been able to live up to those, fair or unfair. Still, he is a successful starter on the current UW team and has averaged eight points and a team high 4.5 assists per game.

Tony Wroten - Wroten is a freshman from Seattle who is this team's undisputed leader. He has that Will Conroy type of fire this team so needs. He leads the Huskies in scoring at 16.4 points per game and pulls down just under five boards per game. He has turned the ball over in bunches, but that must be overlooked in lieu of what he brings to this team. He can score nearly at will when he gets into the lane with his left hand, although not a good shooter from either the perimeter or the foul stripe, he is going to be taken in the first round of the NBA draft after this year. His defense is not there yet but it is improving. His quickness and instincts has allowed him to steal the ball a team-high 48 times through 25 games. He has turned the ball over 100 times, but that number has gotten fewer and fewer as the season goes on. His personality is firmly implanted on this team and it has provided a toughness and grit that would not otherwise be there.

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