For Kansas and Missouri basketball fans, there has been a question lingering that must be answered, “Who is better: Phil Pressey or Ben McLemore?” Although I believe the two should not be compared because of their different position play, I will do it anyways. However, I feel the question should be, “which one is more important to their teams success?”
As the tenth ranked team in the country, Missouri’s lineup very athletic and contains talented players. Yet when Phil Pressey is off of the court, nothing can be done. The loss of guard Michael Dixon has taken a toll on Missouri’s perimeter play, considering that there is now a lack of true ball handlers to play the point guard position. Many considered Dixon’s loss to be the end of Missouri’s shot at a spectacular season, but Phil Pressey has had other thoughts. Pressey has always been a pass first guard, and he has proved that with his stats, but on a big stage this season, “Flip” has also had to take on part of the scoring load as well. This season, Phil is averaging 13.6 points per game, along with 7.6 assists per game. Phil has impressive numbers, but the abilities that make him so successful are his vision and his quickness. He has the ability to find a teammate anywhere on floor, from any distance, and completes near perfect passes. He has been very successful in finding fifth year forward Laurence Bowers numerous times in the paint. Along with Bowers, Pressey manages to find perimeter players on the wings after he drives to the basket. Phil has had a multitude of impressive scoring performances this season as well, but the most incredible part about him is the way he can affect a game. In Missouri’s annual Braggin’ Rights game against Illinois, Phil had the worst shooting game of his career going just 3 for 19 from the field. But he impacted the game by how quickly he pushed the ball and found open teammates. Pressey finished the game with 11 assists. In Mizzou’s loss at UCLA, Pressey had an impressive 19 points, and a career high and school record of 19 assists. Phil Pressey may not show consistency with a field goal percentage of just .351, but he impacts the game of basketball in all aspects. Pressey and teammate Laurence Bowers have both been named as Top 25 Finalists for the John Wooden award in 2013. This nomination is just another example of why Phil Pressey is one of the best true point guards in the NCAA.
Kansas’ star Ben Mclemore, along with teammate Jeff Withey, have also been named as Top 25 Finalists for the John Wooden Award. In just his first season as a college player, he has shown that he can play on the big stage. This season, the redshirt freshman guard is averaging 16.9 points per game, and puts the ball through the net more than half of the time he shoots the ball. His impressive .510 field goal percentage has made him Kansas’ number one scoring option, and it is no secret that he is a deep ball threat. How can you argue against this guy? He even kissed a game tying three pointer off the glass in Kansas’ recent win at home against Iowa State to force the game into overtime. However, I feel Ben McLemore is just a one dimensional player. Every time he has the basketball, he looks to score before anything else. Although every team needs a scorer, I believe that in order to be a great player, McLemore needs to improve other aspects of his game. He is only averaging 2.1 assists per game this season, and he only has 30 assists this year along with 25 turnovers. Don’t get me wrong, McLemore is one of Kansas’ best players, and he should be great, but he is just not there yet.
So which player is the most important to their team? In my opinion, it is Phil Pressey, hands down. He has a God-given ability to fit passes into very tight spots, and is a true craftsman at the point guard position. We all know both of these players can be quality NBA players, and both will need to work on the negative aspects of their game, but I still believe Pressey has the edge. Phil Pressey is possibly the best true point guard in the NCAA, and his stats prove that he is worthy of the title. Many may think McLemore is better and may say Pressey is inconsistent, but without Phil Pressey, Missouri would not have a 12-2 record nor would they be ranked in the top ten. On the other hand, I believe Kansas would still be very effective without McLemore. With that being said, I chose the “Flip” side of the coin, which side do you choose?