This is the first edition of an Unsigned Seniors series highlighting players in the 2023 class that are still looking for a place to call home next year. This article starts with a handful of players ranked in the top…
This is the first edition of an Unsigned Seniors series highlighting players in the 2023 class that are still looking for a place to call home next year. This article starts with a handful of players ranked in the top 125 of their class, but this series will cover all players from ranked, to watch list guys, to the unranked and under the radar players. These next guys are just a few of the guards in their class capable of playing at the next level.
Strengths: Dribble Penetration, Crafty Rim Finisher, Communicator
Breakdown: Gurske’s game is getting into the heart of the defense and making plays. He has a knack for positioning his body between the ball and defenders to create shooting lanes and can hit tough contested shots inside. He also has good vision finding shooters off of his drives, and consistently draws that extra defender to free up looks on the outside. He can hit from behind the arc, but it still looks like an area for improvement. The real jewel in his game is his ability to soften defenses with his dribble. He’s got a strong hesitation dribble that freezes defenders, and he almost always catches the ball on-balance and ready to make a move.
Outlook: In the right offense, Gurske has the potential to be a high-motor slashing point guard who can pick out the right option while moving at a fast pace. Make that three-pointer a knockdown shot and you have someone who can stretch the floor and put even more pressure on defenses.
Strengths: Quick/Strong Hands, Versatility, Strong Finisher
Breakdown: Johnson fills a ton of different roles for Curtis depending on the available matchups. His defensive acumen helps him take on guards and post players, while racking up stocks with quick hands. Super athletic and 6’5, he’s a big rebounder for Curtis as well, and though he’s not relied on to score much one-on-one, has the ability to make tough shots.
Outlook: Overall, he is a plus defender who works hard and plays aggressive. He has experience handling the ball and can make plays with the pass from different areas of the court, often taking smaller defenders to the post where he actually has some good finesse moves to match his strength. Johnson has stat-sheet-stuffer potential with a varying skillset.
Interest: University of Dallas, Whitman College, Cochise College
Strengths: Instincts, Sneaky Athlete, Toughness, Defense
Breakdown: Maxwell fills the gaps for Curtis with his ability to do a lot of little things. He’s an excellent rebounder and uses great athleticism combined with timing to outrebound many taller players. He is also an outstanding on and off-ball defender. His motor is always churning, as evidenced by his ability to get up and down the court, and he has the grit to step into and succeed in unusual matchups.
Outlook: There is potential for Maxwell to be more of a defensive combo guard at the next level. The defensive ability is there, but if he can add strength and improve on his ballhandling it would add to his ability to drive to the hoop and finish with greater consistency. He also shows excellent vision and the ability to hit tiny passing windows, so shifting between guard positions is definitely on the table.
Strengths: Shooting, Passing
Breakdown: Jackson is a super agile knockdown shooter. His range extends far beyond the 3-point line and he’s able to pull the trigger fast with a succinct motion and consistent follow through. He hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities to be a playmaker on a team rife with quick, attacking guards, but Jackson has the vision and quickness to pose a lot of problems with the ball in his hands.
Outlook: He isn’t the biggest guard, but he has the tools to be a combo guard at the next level thanks to his shooting and vision. You can stick him out there anywhere around the arc and count on his shooting, but in order to be a more effective defender at the next level he could add some strength. He already has the feet and the hands to be a plus defender and adding some strength would help him guarding players at the next level.
Interest: Pacific Lutheran University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Allen University, University of New Mexico, Central Washington University
Strengths: Ball Control, Getting to the Middle, Decision-Making
Breakdown: No matter the atmosphere, Snellman plays his game and is a consistent force at point guard. He is a tireless worker who does a great job keeping his defender off-balance with his dribble in order to keep space to take care of the ball and make plays. He does a good job finding angles and using the glass inside, incorporating runners and floaters to hit from soft spots in the defense.
Outlook: Reese’s strength is ball control and running an offense. The 3-point shot comes and goes but with a little more work it could be a real strength for him. Defensively, he is max effort and although he’ll probably have to quicken the feet up a little bit, he has potential to be a solid defender at the point of attack.
Interest: Central Washington University, North Idaho College, Spokane CC, Carroll College
Strengths: Slashing, Creating Turnovers
Breakdown: Bailey is a shifty and athletic off-guard/wing that can get to the hoop and provides great energy defensively. He usually gets a quick burst off his first step and beats defenders with the dribble. When he finds space, he can hit the floater and finish inside but sometimes struggles to deal with contact. On the flip side, he’s a defender that covers a lot of ground and can create turnovers in bunches with his quick hands and anticipation.
Outlook: There is potential for Bailey to be a defensive asset and slashing guard, but he’s got to get stronger finishing inside and avoid ball-watching on the defensive end. He has the physical tools to do this, I think it just comes down to staying locked in on his defensive principles and focus a little more at the rim.
Interest: Bellevue College
Strengths: Passing, Court Awareness
Breakdown: McMillan is one of the most underrated passers in the state. He averages around seven assists per game and does so with a myriad of feeds. He has the touch to hit early entry passes and up court dishes in transition, but also can deke defenders with his eyes and hit the no look pass. He’s a guy who rarely plays hurried but can still set a fast pace and remain controlled in his attack.
Outlook: McMillan has what it takes to run an offense and brings a lot more than passing to the point guard spot. His motor and anticipation allow him to be a factor on the boards and creating turnovers on defense. He’s really improved with his scoring from the mid-range this season and though he is not yet a real consistent threat from 3-point, his progress in the mid-range suggests there is more growth available in that department.
Interest: D2/D3 – Colorado Mesa University, George Fox University, Pacific Lutheran University, California Lutheran University, Whitworth College
Strengths: Motor, Defensive Pressure
Breakdown: Johnson is a sparkplug that outhustles players to leave an impact bigger than his 5-foot-10 frame. He has great quickness and burst that when combined with his high-energy motor, leads to steals, tips, and the ability to grab rebounds over taller players. He excels as a defender both on-ball and off and has enough scoring prowess to catch fire on certain nights.
Outlook: Johnson will make his mark at the next level with his defensive abilities and his high-effort play. He has the anticipation to take chances and capitalize on loose play from opponents. He is a gritty and tough-minded player that also flashes some ability to put the ball in the bucket.
Offers: University of Puget Sound
Interest: Northwest University, Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University