As we make our way through the summer it's always fun to rank the top mid-major players in the country as we look ahead to the 2014-15 season. Last year we told you about Elfrid Payton, Kendrick Perry, and Jason Brickman early on and this year we give you a look at the nation's top returning mid-major point guards.
Keifer Sykes, Green Bay: You're going to hear a lot about this Horizon League point guard throughout the year. Sykes was voted as a Mid-Major Madness 2nd Team All-American in April and is looking to build to a possible NBA career this season. Sykes is always on the court for coach Brian Wardle and last year he posted 20.3 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Cameron Payne, Murray State: Payne was our Mid-Major Madness Freshman of the Year this past season and he'll look to build off an impressive campaign last year where he averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds. The Racers are always in the thick in the Ohio Valley Conference and Payne should be a game changer this upcoming season.
Kenny Smith, Louisiana Tech: You usually don't hear much about Smith at Louisiana Tech because he's overshadowed by a bunch of scoring machines but he may be the nation's top assist man. Last year Smith averaged nearly 8 assists per game for the Bulldogs and he'll look to continue to build the impressive team that Michael White has put together the past couple of years.
Jalan West, Northwestern State: Jalan West is a household name among Southland fans and he'll likely become one nationwide soon. Last year he averaged 19.4 points, 6.4 assists, and 4 rebounds as a sophomore and he'll look to build on that for the Demons this year.
Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State: Van Vleet is the cream of the crop when it comes to mid-major point guards and frankly he's on another level. He was a Mid-Major Madness First Team All-American last year after finishing with 11.6 points and 5.4 assists per game for the Shockers. He's the heart and soul of Gregg Marshall's dynasty right now.
Kahlil Felder, Oakland: Like Cameron Payne from Murray State, Kahlil Felder made quite the impression in his first year in the college ranks. The Golden Grizzlies guard averaged nearly 10 points and 4 rebounds, along with 6.4 assists during Oakland's inaugural Horizon League season. It'll be fun to see his maturation over the next three years.
D.J. Balentine, Evansville: The Purple Aces are looking for their next sensation since Colt Ryan throttled the Missouri Valley and I think they found him in guard D.J. Balentine. During his sophomore year he averaged 22.8 points and 4.2 assists per game. It'll be fun to see him go against Van Vleet again this year.
Andrew Rowsey, UNC Asheville: Rowsey was quick to become the Big South's most polarizing player in his freshman year. Rowsey is a scoring machine averaging over 20 points per game but he's also not shy on the court, especially when he's making shots. The clutch shooter will have plenty of fans and plenty of enemies as he mans point for the Bulldogs over the next three years.
Ryan Harrow, Georgia State: Something special is brewing in Atlanta and the former Kentucky Wildcat Ryan Harrow is at the heart of it all. Harrow averaged nearly 18 points and over 4 assists per game for the Panthers a year ago and he'll be key in feeding R.J. Hunter and Kevin Ware this upcoming year.
Christopher Anderson, San Diego: Anderson lead the West Coast Conferece in assists last year with 6.2 assists per game and also averaged over 10 points per game. He completes the perfect backcourt tandem for the Toreros along with Johnny Dee.
Reece Chamberlain, Belmont: If Belmont wants to stay atop the OVC then Rick Byrd is going to lean on Reece Chamberlain with the departure of J.J. Mann. Last year Chamberlain averaged 10.9 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.9 rebounds for the Bruins and he'll look to build those numbers this year.
Brett Comer, Florida Gulf Coast: Yes he's still around... The Dunk City maestro is still dishing in the Atlantic Sun and he's put together quite the career. Last year Comer upped his scoring to 13.7 points per game but his assists dropped to 5.3per game. Comer is a double-edged sword at times though and averaged over 3 turnovers per game for the Eagles last year.
Siyani Chambers, Harvard: Yep, Chambers is back on the list this year even though all of his numbers dropped this past year for the Crimson. Chambers is a huge part of Tommy Amaker's resurgence and averaged 11.1 points and 4.6 assists for the Crimson in 2013-14.
Kendall Anthony, Richmond: Cedrick Lindsay was on our list last summer and this summer a fellow Spider, Kendall Anthony, will fill in the void. The 5'8 guard will play off the ball a little more this year as Shawn'Dre Jones steps in for Chris Mooney but Anthony is still one of the A10's most dangerous guards. He finished last year averaging nearly 16 points per game.
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga: Pangos enters what must seem like he's fifteenth year at Gonzaga for WCC fans and he's still as dangerous as ever. After a down year statistically in 2012-13 Pangos jumped back up to 14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. Look for his senior year to be a special one in Spokane.