Like guards? You'll love the Big Ten in 2013-14

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Like guards? You'll love the Big Ten in 2013-14

You can never underestimate the importance of strong guard play, and based on the names returning in 2013-14, the Big Ten will have plenty of it next season. To be honest, one could fill an All-Big Ten Team with guards alone. But the talent isn’t just at the top. It’s deep. Very deep. Check it out.

I’ve divided the guards into tiers below, based on where I think they’ll land next season. The names are listed in alphabetical order.

Note: Incoming freshmen are not included.

ELITE
Keith Appling, Michigan State
Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Tim Frazier, Penn State
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Devyn Marble, Iowa

NEAR ELITE
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Andre Hollins, Minnesota
Ronnie Johnson, Purdue
D.J. Newbill, Penn State
Nik Stauskas, Michigan

NEXT-BEST
Tracy Abrams, Illinois
Ben Brust, Wisconsin
Josh Gasser, Wisconsin
Terone Johnson, Purdue
Shannon Scott, Ohio State

NOT-TOO-SHABBY
Traevon Jackson, Wisconsin
Austin Hollins, Minnesota
Rayvonte Rice, Illinois*
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State

BEST OF THE REST
Spike Albrecht, Michigan
Anthony Clemmons, Iowa
JerShon Cobb, Northwestern
Joe Coleman, Minnesota
Ray Gallegos, Nebraska
Mike Gesell, Iowa
Lenzelle Smith Jr., Ohio State
Dave Sobolewski, Northwestern
Travis Trice, Michigan State

* — Drake transfer who sat out in 2012-13

That’s A LOT of good names, isn’t it? Even the bottom of the list is pretty nice. And, according to one Nebraska fan, I forgot a worthy name.

Good question. One also could throw Pittsburgh transfer John Johnson (Penn State) on the list.

Now, the question is: Will all the guard talent result in the conference’s first NCAA title since 2000?

About Brent Yarina BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.
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