Is Sherron Collins the Best Point Guard in KU History?February 11th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
I’ve been watching KU basketball since 1986. I’ve watched a lot of great basketball, and a lot of great players come through Lawrence. The thought crossed my mind this weekend: Is Sherron Collins the best point guard to ever play at Kansas? Collins has everything you’d want in a point guard. He can shoot. He can drive. He can handle the ball. He can dish out assists. He can defend. And he’s clearly the Jayhawk’s leader on and off the court.
Going back to ’86, KU has had some fine point guards. But none were as complete a player as Collins. Aaron Miles, Russell Robinson and Jacque Vaughn had great assist numbers, but weren’t much of a threat to score. Adonis Jordan was a nice all around player, but I don’t remember him as the type of player who could create his own shot like Collins. We’ve had some point guards like Kevin Pritchard, Kirk Hinrich and Mario Chalmers who probably were more typical shooting guards but played the point at Kansas.
If there’s a valid critique in Collins’ game, it’s that he sometimes tries to do too much. He’s often had to put the team on his back and carry them to a victory. And since he’s asked more than most point guards to create his own shots, his turnover to assist ratio is probably not as good as you’d like it to be from your point guard.
So Sherron passes the first hurdle for me. He’s the best point guard to have played for the Jayhawks since 1986. But KU has a long tradition of basketball. So I started poking around through the history of Kansas hoops, and there are two names that rise to the top for point guards: Jo Jo White and Darnell Valentine.
Jo Jo White played for Kansas from 1965-69. He averaged 15.3 points per game, and made 42% of his shots. White was a two-time All-American and a three-time All-Big Eight member. He also was named KU’s MVP for three straight seasons, and led KU in scoring in 1968.
Valentine played for Kansas from 1978-81. He averaged 15.4 points per game, and made 47.6% of his shots. Valentine left KU as the school’s leader in career steals and free throws. He was the first player to be named a four-time all-Big Eight selection, and also was a member of the 1980 Olympic team.
When I asked around from people who have followed the Hawks longer than myself, the general consensus was that Jo Jo White was the best, but that Sherron is pushing for that top spot. Another national championship for Collins likely elevates him as the best point guard to ever play at Kansas.