Top 10 college basketball backcourts entering the 2024-25 season (2024)

It's a guard's game, and these teams have the best.

Grant Hughes

Backcourts win the big games in March. UConn's trio of guards— Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer and Stephon Castle— helped the Huskies bulldoze their way to a second-straight national championship. The three combined for 46 points in the Huskies' 75-60 win over Purdue in the title game and chipped in 18 rebounds and 12 assists. There's a handful of backcourts with championship-level potential entering the 2024-25 season. We ranked the top 10.

Return-or-go decisions factored heavily into these rankings. Two teams on this list— Arizona and North Carolina — returned conference players of the year at the guard spot. Others, including Duke and Alabama, are also poised to benefit heavily from veteran leadership opting to stay on campus.

Guards made up nearly half of the transfer portal top 15 this offseason, and those players will define the 2024-25 college basketball season.Elite shooting guards— includingJohnell Davis and AJ Storr— helped Arkansas and Kansas make our ranking, though both squads would be top 10-caliber without them.

Get the latest football and recruiting scoop on your favorite college team today.

Here are the top 10 backcourts in college basketball entering the 2024-25 season:

10. Duke Blue Devils

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Jeremy Roach's departure to Baylor came as a shock, but Duke's backcourt has a chance to be better without him. It's Tyrese Proctor's backcourt now. The junior ball-handler improved his averages across the board from his freshman season and should enjoy another jump as he enters his third year in Durham. Sophom*ore guard Caleb Foster posted an impressive 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio and shot 40.6% from the 3-point line last season. He's poised for a big year, too. Perimeter defense is key, especially when ACC Player of the Year RJ Davis is eight miles down the road. The Blue Devils addressed that need with Sion James, a 6-foot-6 defensive specialist from Tulane.

9. Texas Longhorns

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It's a new-look Longhorns team next season, but head coach Rodney Terry loaded the backcourt with talent. Starting point guard Jordan Pope averaged 17.6 points per game at Oregon State last season while shooting guard Tram0n Mark pumped in 16.2 points per game at Arkansas. Indiana State transfer Julian Larry adds leadership and playmaking off the bench. There's also a lot to be excited about regarding five-star shooting guard Tre Johnson, the Longhorns' highest-rated signee since Mo Bamba in 2017.

8. Arizona Wildcats

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Caleb Love is back after testing NBA Draft waters. He took home Pac-12 Player of the Year honors last season after averaging a career-high 18.0 points per game and is poised for another big season in 2024-25. Jaden Bradley is the de facto starting point guard after Kylan Boswell transferred to Arizona State and should see his workload increase this fall. KJ Lewis and Campbell transferAnthony Dell'Orso add a ton of size and versatility to the backcourt. Dell'Orso is 6-foot-6 and averaged nearly 20 points per game at the mid-major level last season.

7. UConn Huskies

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Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer and Stephon Castle are gone, but it's a safe bet Dan Hurley will transform the Huskies' new-look group into one of the nation's best by the end of the season. Big East Sixth Man of the Year Hassan Diarra finally gets his turn as the starter as he enters his fifth season of college ball. Saint Mary's transferAidan Mahaney hit 153 3-pointers over the last two seasons and adds a much-needed scoring punch.

6. Iowa State Cyclones

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Iowa State earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season and is poised for another strong season in 2024-25 behind a stacked backcourt. The Cyclones return their four leading scorers from last season, and three of those are guards— Tamin Lipsey,Curtis Jones andKeshon Gilbert. They're pretty good defenders, too. Lipsey led the Big 12 with 2.7 steals per game last season, while Gilbert (2.0) and Lipsey (1.4) also ranked among the conference leaders. On offense, they each shot better than 35.0% from the 3-point line.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks

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John Calipari inherited a gutted roster and did what he does best: Add talent. Former top-10 recruit DJ Wagner and versatile guard Adou Theiro followed Calipari from Lexington to Fayetteville. Wagner is a name to watch in the SEC Most Improved Player race next fall. The Razorbacks also added the portal's top-rated shooting guard— FAU's Johnell Davis— and top-20 high school prospect Boogie Fland to the backcourt. Chemistry is a question; talent isn't.

4. Gonzaga Bulldogs

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Point guard Ryan Nembhard earned first-team All-WCC honors and is among the favorites for national honors in 2024-25. He had Gonzaga playing like one of the best teams in the nation towards the end of last season and gets another year alongside Nolan Hickman in the Bulldogs' backcourt. Hickman hit 78 3-pointers last season at a 41.3% clip. Mark Few rounded out one of the nation's best guard trios with Pepperdine guard Michael Ajayi in the transfer portal. Ajayi is 6-foot-7 and shot a blistering 47.0% from the 3-point line last season.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

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Mark Sears is back, and that's enough to get Alabama a nod as one of the nation's best. He'llget a preseason All-America nod after putting up 21.5 points and 4.0 assists per game last season. South Florida guard Chris Youngblood was a big get in the transfer portal. He's a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-4 and shot 41.6% from the 3-point line last season. Veteran Latrell Wrightsellis also back after shooting a career-high 44.7% clip from deep. Alabama will boast arguably the best trio of shooters in the nation in 2024-25.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels

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ACC Player of the Year RJ Davis is back for a fifth season and will be among the favorites for National Player of the Year. The Tar Heels also returned former five-star Elliot Cadeau, and the staff expects big improvement from a freshman campaign that featured moments of brilliance. Hubert Davis and his staff coerced lockdown defender Seth Trimble out of the portal and back to Chapel Hill in one of the most underrated moments of the offseason. Five-star shooting guard Ian Jackson is ahead of schedule and has impressed onlookers with his elite scoring touch during UNC's alumni games last month.

1. Kansas Jayhawks

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Kansas entered the portal looking to re-tool its roster after a disappointing 2024-25 campaign and exited with arguably the nation's deepest and most talented roster. The Jayhawks landed a pair of top 25 transfer guards in AJ Storr and Zeke Mayo. Both averaged more than 16.0 points per game and shot better than 39.0% from behind the arc a season ago. Storr rated as the No. 2 shooting guard in the portal and Mayo rated as the No. 6 point guard. Veteran Dajaun Harris Jr. is back for a fifth season. He averaged a career-high 6.5 assists per game last season and should see that total rise playing alongside Storr and Mayo. Mississippi State combo guard Shakeel Moore was an underrated addition in the portal, giving the Jayhawks veteran depth in the backcourt.

Top 10 college basketball backcourts entering the 2024-25 season (2024)


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