My top five point guards in the history of the Iowa men's basketball program

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Jordan Bohannon celebrates after Iowa's victory over Michigan at home last season. Photo by Jeff Yoder

By Pat Harty

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Whether he plays as a senior this coming season or the season after, Jordan Bohannon will leave Iowa as one of the most productive point guards in program history.

Bohannon’s status for next season is uncertain with him having undergone hip surgery this past Wednesday.

The surgery was a success according to Bohannon’s update on Twitter, but it’ll still take anywhere from five to nine months for him to fully recover.

Bohannon has the option of redshirting next season if he is less than 100 percent by the time practice starts in October.

He has struggled with nagging injuries in each of the past two seasons and now he wants to make sure that he will be healthy and in tip-top shape as a senior, whenever that might be.

A strong senior season would be the finishing touch to a career that is rich in productivity.

Bohannon is already the school record holder for most 3-pointers made in a career (264), breaking the record in three years. He is also just the 10th player in all of Division I basketball since 1992, to post at least 79 triples and 118 assists per season in each of his first three seasons, and is the seventh Hawkeye to register three 100-assist seasons.

The former Linn-Mar star also led the Big Ten in free throw percentage each of the last two seasons, missing only seven free throws in 20 league games as a junior (64-of-71, .901) and two as a sophomore (37-of-39, .949).

Bohannon is more than just a shooter, though, as his 471 career assists ranks seventh on Iowa's all-time list.

In fact, Bohannon only needs 10 more assists to move past Ronnie Lester into sixth on Iowa’s all-time list. And if Bohannon keeps compiling assists at his current pace, he could climb to second on Iowa’s all-time list, behind only Jeff Horner, who finished his career in 2006 with 612 assists.

Combine all those statistics with Bohannon’s track record for making clutch shots and he certainly deserves to be mentioned among Iowa’s top point guards despite his lack of quickness and his limitations on defense, and he has another season to add to his legacy.

But where exactly would you put Bohannon right now?

I was asked that question after the news had surfaced about Bohannon’s surgery and that motivated me to rank the best point guards in program history, starting, of course, with Lester.

Here’s my top five, which doesn’t include Fred Brown due to him having played just two seasons at Iowa, and with him being more of a shooting guard, or Murray Wier because it's hard to know for sure if he was true point guard.

1. Ronnie Lester, 1976-80 – The Chicago native isn’t just the best point guard in program history, but also the best player regardless of position.

Lester was an unstoppable blur on the court, a one-man fastbreak whose quickness, vision and unselfishness made him the ideal point guard.

Lester earned All-American honors in 1979, first team All-Big Ten accolades in 1978 and 1979 and he led Iowa to a share of the 1978-79 Big Ten title and to the 1980 NCAA Final Four.

Iowa hasn’t won a Big Ten regular-season title or been to the Final Four since then.

Lester is Iowa’s seventh all-time leading scorer with 1,675 points despite only having played in 99 games, which is at least 17 fewer games than the six players who are ranked above him in scoring.

Lester injured his knee as a senior, and yet, Iowa still advanced to the Final Four. He returned late in the season, but wasn’t the same dynamic player.

2. B.J. Armstrong, 1985-89 – He is ranked two spots ahead of Lester in career scoring at Iowa with 1,705 points.

Armstrong wasn’t as explosive or as dynamic as Lester, but he was a better perimeter shooter and a better free throw shooter.

Armstrong played sparingly as a freshman under George Raveling, scoring just 83 points in 29 appearances.

But then Tom Davis replaced Raveling as head coach in 1986 and Armstrong thrived in Davis’ fast-paced playing style.

Armstrong was also fortunate to have played at a time when Iowa was loaded with talented players such all-time leading scorer Roy Marble and All-Big Ten forward Ed Horton.

Armstrong improved with each season as his scoring average increased from 12.4 points per game as a sophomore to 17.4 points per game as a junior and 18.6 points per game as a senior.

A native of Birmingham, Mich., Armstrong would go on to win three NBA titles as a starting guard for the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, but that had no influence on his ranking.

3. Andre Woolridge, 1994-97 – He is ranked second at Iowa with 575 career assists despite having only played three seasons after transferring from Nebraska.

But Woolridge was arguably a better scorer than distributor as he averaged at least 13.1 points per game in his three seasons at Iowa, including 20.2 points per game as a senior.

The Omaha, Neb., native also led Iowa to second place in the Big Ten as a senior in 1997.

Woolridge was powerful and quick, and nearly unstoppable when driving to his right.

He also became a reliable perimeter shooter and that made him extremely difficult to guard one-on-one.

And he didn't have near the supporting cast that Armstrong had while at Iowa, so I gave serious consideration to ranking Woolridge second on the list.

4. Dean Oliver, 1997-2001 – The Mason City native is the only left-handed point guard to make the top five and he earned this ranking due to his sustained consistency.

Oliver’s scoring average improved in each of his four seasons at Iowa, from 8.8 points per game as a freshman to 11.9 as a sophomore to 13.6 as a junior to 14.9 as a senior.

He also as a sophomore led Iowa to the NCAA Sweet 16 in Tom Davis’s final season as head coach in 1999, and Iowa hasn’t been back to the Sweet 16 since then.

Oliver led Iowa in steals as a sophomore, junior and senior and he finished his career with 205 steals, which is second only to Ryan Bowen’s 208 career steals.

5. Jeff Horner, 2002-06 – Another Mason City native, Horner is ranked first in assists at Iowa (612), second in 3-point field goals made (262), seventh in steals (166) and 16th in scoring with 1,502 career points.

He also started in each of his four seasons and led Iowa to second place in the Big Ten as a senior in 2006.