Men’s basketball position preview: Point guards

Then freshman guard Isaiah Wong drives to the basket on Feb. 12, 2020 against Boston College at the Watsco Center.
Then freshman guard Isaiah Wong drives to the basket on Feb. 12, 2020 against Boston College at the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The point guard position is arguably the most important position in basketball.

Acting as a floor general and orchestrating the offense, point guards initiate the team’s offensive game plan and relax their teammates in high pressure moments at home and on the road.

For the men’s basketball team last season, the point guard position was a revolving door, lacking continuity and a steadying presence.

After star point guard Chris Lykes went down with an ankle injury in the opening week of the season that forced him to miss the remainder of the season, the Hurricanes were left with no other traditional point guards on the roster. Off-ball guards, such as Isaiah Wong and Harlond Beverly, were forced to become the de facto point guards on the team.

This season, the Hurricanes welcome two fresh faces to the point guard room –transfer Charlie Moore and four-star freshman Bensley Joseph, both traditional point guards, who will look to take control of the team and lead them to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2018.

Moore is a sixth-year senior who transferred from DePaul. The Chicago native was a Preseason Big East First Team member last year and finished the season averaging 14.4 points and 4.2 assists a game while shooting 41% from the field and 35% from behind the arc.

As a redshirt senior in the 2020-2021 season, Moore led his team in scoring and assists while averaging 15.5 points and 6.1 assists per game. The sharpshooting point guard spent his freshman season at California, leading his team with 3.1 assists per game, before transferring to Kansas where he played sparingly and averaged under three points a game with a season high of 18 points.

Head coach Jim Larrañaga praised the play of Moore so far this year, commenting that Moore has a high basketball IQ and is a true point guard, which proved to be a need for the team last season despite the perennial scoring threat that Wong proved to be.

“Charlie is a playmaking point guard who has the ability to score, as well as create for his teammates,” Larrañaga said. ‘He possesses the speed and quickness to get where he wants on the floor. In addition, he is a hard worker who will provide a veteran presence in the locker room.”

As the projected starting point guard for the Hurricanes this season, look for Moore to get the bulk of the minutes as the lead ball-handler and evolve into a leader on and off the floor at the head of the snake for Larrañaga’s squad.

The other new point guard arriving in Coral Gables is Bensley Joseph. Joseph, a four-star recruit out of Arlington, Massachusetts, played high school basketball for Cushing Academy in his home state and spent his last year at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut.

Joseph was a consensus top-150 recruit, and widely considered the best high school player in all of Connecticut. He was ranked as the 80th best prospect in the country by ESPN and the 14th best point guard. However after suffering an ankle injury in a pre-season scrimmage, he was forced to miss his entire senior season.

After fielding offers from a variety of big-name schools such as Boston College, Georgetown, Marquette and others, Joseph committed to Miami because he felt that the staff valued his game the most and showed him significant interest throughout the recruitment process.

“We are thrilled to welcome Bensley and his entire family into our Hurricane basketball program,” Larrañaga said after Joseph’s commitment. “Bensley is an outstanding point guard, a great leader, an excellent defender and a terrific passer. He is a valuable addition to our team.”

Although Moore is projected to start at the position, look for both Moore and Joseph to contribute all season long and help the Hurricanes get back to their winning ways.

The Hurricanes take on Canisius on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Watsco Center.