“The coach on the floor,” is how former Crosby High School phenom Anthony Ireland described the point guard position, when I talked to him last week. The point guard is the most vital position on the court and we talked to two ballers who know it. Anthoney Irleand and Walter Wright are two of the shining point guards to come out of Connecticut, and more specifically, Waterbury, Connecticut.
After having an impressive tenure at Crosby High, Ireland took part in a Post Graduate year at Winchendon School in Massachusetts and then CONTINUED on to be a four-year player at Loyola-Marymount University. He finished his career as a Lion playing in the most games than any other LMU player (132), playing the most minutes (4, 653), and games started (125). He is now playing professional ball in France for the Chalon club.
Ireland mentioned that the best advice he received about perfecting the point guard craft came from his LMU coach Max Good. Good told Anthony that he needed to know where all 5 positions need to be as the point guard. To follow up on Coach’s words of wisdom, Ireland started to watch more film and improved his knowledge on controlling the game.
“The point guard needs the ‘Derrick Rose face’”. Ireland was referring to composure, as Derrick Rose is known for being one of the more clutch performers (when healthy of course).
Ireland added, “Point guards have to make the best decisions on the court offensively and defensively.” Whether it is taking the pull up jumper or finding some way to get the rock to the post, the point guard analyzes the situation, and takes action.
Walter Wright graduated from Crosby’s rival school, Wilby High School, finishing on the top scorers list alongside former NBA forward Ryan Gomes. Wright just finished his sophomore, and final year, at Snow College, a junior college located in Ephraim, Utah.
Next year Wright plans to attend and play for a division 1 program from one of the many SCHOLARSHIPS he’s acquired in the past 2 years. In fact, he narrowed down his list for the big decision to University of Montana, North Carolina Central University, Long Beach State University, University of Detroit, and Middle Tennessee State University.
When conversing with Walter he mentioned, “A good point guard always should be able to control the game, make his teammates better, and be able to make a big play for their team on offense and defense.” The point is sort of looked upon by the others on the floor for guidance.
When asking the two prolific ball handlers who they thought the best point guard in the game today is, Wright answered with Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Ireland said Marcelinho Huertas for the FC Barcelona club in Spain.
“The best PG in the game as of now is Russell Westbrook just because he brings so much energy and aggression to his team. Not always a good thing, but his upside is way better than his downside,” Wright said to defend his answer.
When describing Huertas to me Anthony kept stressing the control that this player had. Huertas is a player who has incredible court vision and has a game similar to Steve Nash’s.
Every team has different needs whether it is professional basketball, college basketball, high school basketball, so on so forth. Therefore the definition of a pure or true point guard actually loses its meaning because there may be some roles that the point guard would have to take on where traditionally its not expected.
Both of these guards have risen through the ranks of Connecticut basketball, and anyone who has the pleasure of seeing them will understand what a true point guard looks like.
By: Nate Rubinstein