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November 3, 2009

Preseason power rankings: Shooting guards

The departure of Blake Griffin could change the face of Big 12 basketball this season.

Last season, big men such as Griffin, Kansas center Cole Aldrich and Iowa State power forward Craig Brackins garnered much of the attention. Now that Griffin has moved on to the NBA, the focus could shift to the perimeter.

Aldrich and Brackins have returned to lead their respective teams, but they'll be sharing the spotlight with plenty of talented shooters who dominate the preseason edition of the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings.

The most notable figure is Oklahoma's Willie Warren, who inherits a starring role this year after serving as the Sooners' second scoring option in his freshman season. Griffin's departure puts more responsibility on Warren, who opens the season as the No. 1 shooting guard in our power rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

Plenty of Warren's conference rivals are close behind: Seven of the top 16 shooting guards come from Big 12 schools.

A look at the power rankings also indicates experience may be more important at the point guard position than at shooting guard. Our list of the top 25 point guards included a dozen seniors and only one freshman; the shooting guard rankings include eight seniors and three freshmen.

1. Willie Warren, Oklahoma, 6-4/203, Soph.
2. Manny Harris, Michigan, 6-5/185, Jr.
3. James Anderson, Oklahoma State, 6-6/210, Jr.
4. Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, 6-5/188, Jr.
5. E'Twaun Moore, Purdue, 6-4/184, Jr.
6. Dominique Jones, USF, 6-4/215, Jr.
7. Sylven Landesberg, Virginia, 6-6/207, Soph.
8. Patrick Christopher, California, 6-5/220, Sr.
9. Lawrence Westbrook, Minnesota, 6-0/193, Sr.
10. LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor, 6-4/205, Jr.
11. Denis Clemente, Kansas State, 6-1/175, Sr.
12. Avery Bradley, Texas, 6-2/180, Fr.
13. Aubrey Coleman, Houston, 6-4/200, Sr.
14. Jordan Crawford, Xavier, 6-4/195, Soph.
15. Donald Sloan, Texas A&M, 6-3/205, Sr.
16. Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas, 6-3/180, Soph.
17. Klay Thompson, Washington State, 6-6/200, Soph.
18. Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech, 6-5/209, Soph.
19. A.J. Slaughter, Western Kentucky, 6-3/180, Sr.
20. Durrell Summers, Michigan State, 6-4/205, Jr.
21. Dwight Lewis, USC, 6-5/215, Sr.
22. Michael Snaer, Florida State, 6-5/200, Fr.
23. Kenny Boynton, Florida, 6-2/183, Fr.
24. Osiris Eldridge, Illinois State, 6-3/190, Sr.
25. Cory Higgins, Colorado, 6-5/190, Jr.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.

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