It's the category many Miner fans have been waiting for. You thought the other positions on the Miner Dream Team were stacked? Check out the Point Guard candidates: Bobby Joe Hill, Willie Worsley, Nate Archibald, Jeep Jackson, Tim Hardaway, Prince Stewart, Eddie Rivera, Filiberto Rivera, and Julyan Stone. While the other positions usually had 2-3 candidates emerge as the main options for Miner fans, I could easily see any one of 5-6 of these guys being elected as the Miners' starting point guard. We already know the rest of the Miner Dream Team has been selected:
SG- Stefon Jackson
SF- Omar Thomas
PF- Jim Barnes
C- David Lattin
Who will be the floor general for this already stacked team? It's time to find out...
The Miner Dream Team as it looks right now should have no problem scoring against anyone. We all know that Jim Barnes was a monster racking up points and rebounds like a machine. We know OT got his points consistently by presenting opposing forwards a serious matchup problem, too quick for the bigger forwards to defend him, too strong for the smaller forwards and guards to defend him. Barnes and Thomas would provide our All-Time team with a formidable 1-2 punch as forwards. We know Jackson could be counted on as a consistent 20 points per game. My guess is DJ would work his legendary mid-range game with greater ease on a team with Barnes and Thomas. Lattin was not the tallest center nor was he considered a big scorer. But on a team like this, he would not need to be either. Lattin's strength and defensive presence down low complements this team of scorers very, very well. But there's one huge piece missing on our promising Dream Team. Who's running the point?
Below are the some of the raw stats for 9 of the greatest Miner point guards of all time:
|Bobby Joe Hill||1962-1967||87||342||0.393|
|Player||Total Points||Total Rebounds||Total Assists||Total Blocks||Total Steals|
|Bobby Joe Hill||922||382|
As is the case with all the categories, the raw numbers favor those Miners who played the full 4 years. Stone, Stewart, Hardaway, and Jeep have a clear advantage in terms of sheer games played, and so naturally their overall numbers look the best. Looking at the career totals, we notice not surprisingly that considerably less of the point guard candidates scored 1,000+ points. The traditional measuring stick for point guards is probably assists since their primary role has long been considered getting their teammates involved. Still, we have 2 of the Top 10 scorers in Miner history on this list in Tim Hardaway (5th) and Nate "Tiny" Archibald (6th). A clear outlier in rebounds is the freakishly tall for his position Julyan Stone who racked up an amazing 714 rebounds in his career. That's comparable to many forwards and centers. If we do look at the assists category, we see that these players certainly racked up many more assists than players in other categories. Leading the way though are Julyan Stone and Tim Hardaway, who of course are 1 and 2 on the all-time Miner assists list. Many Miner fans probably knew that Julyan passed Tim in for the assists crown, but perhaps not everyone remembered or knew just by how many assists he broke Hardaway's record. With the exception of points scored, Julyan posted a very impressive career stat sheet.
|Bobby Joe Hill||10.6||4.4|
The per-game numbers often give us a better idea of what these players would give you every time they stepped onto the court, although there are still some other factors to consider. It's SUCH a shame that we don't have the total nor per-game assist, block, and steal stats for Bobby Joe, Tiny Archibald, and Willie Worsley. We know Don Haskins often praised Archibald as one of the greatest players he ever coached. Tiny's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame testifies to that as well. Bobby Joe Hill's legend is fully fortified in Miner lore as well, as arguably the most important piece of the National Championship team in 1966.
The per-game stats show us that Nate Archibald, at least according to the numbers, was by far the best scoring point guard in UTEP history. Witnesses of the Tim Hardaway era might have a hard time believing that, but 20 points per game is a mighty big number. Hardaway and Eddie Rivera managed to score pretty often and consistently as well on very balanced teams that were among the best Haskins had. The only challenger to Julyan Stone's rebound-per game numbers is surprisingly Bobby Joe Hill. Bobby Joe was not nearly as tall as Julyan, but the numbers prove what a great rebounding guard he was. The assists per game stat is Fili Rivera's moment in the sun. Having played only two years in a Miner uniform, Fili's career numbers are easily overlooked, but the numbers show what a great distributor he was. Of course, some would argue that had he played his freshmen and sophomore years at UTEP, his per-game assist average would drop because he couldn't possibly record as many assists his first two years as he did his junior and senior years as a seasoned veteran. Tim Hardaway recorded far more steals per game and Julyan Stone recorded far more blocks per game than any of the other candidates.
So there are the stats. Now comes the important part: the memories you Miner fans have of these 9 greats. Vote for your favorite and leave your justification in the comments section. The best part of these posts is reading all the different perspectives on these great Miner players. For this vote, I really have no idea who will come out on top.