Big Ten point guard power rankings: Ace Baldwin/Braden Smith drop double-digit dimes

Ace Baldwin is settling into his role as a distributor for Penn State, but after a 13-assist performance against Purdue, where does he rank among Big Ten point guards?

Penn State Nittany Lions guard Ace Baldwin Jr (1)
Penn State Nittany Lions guard Ace Baldwin Jr (1) / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
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491. 13.1 ppg 4.4 asts. Ace Baldwin Jr.. player. . Ace Baldwin Jr.. 8. Ace Baldwin Jr.. . Senior

I love everything about Ace Baldwin Jr.’s game. He’s a physical defender, who’s opportunistic, averaging a career-high 3.0 steals a game, and is a tough, veteran decision-maker on the offensive end. There’s just one big problem: he can’t shoot. 

At VCU, Baldwin was never an excellent shooter, outside of the 2021-22 season when he shot 41.3% from three on 3.1 attempts per game. In the other three seasons, he preferred to be a distributor, and now that he’s settling in with his backcourt mate Kanye Clary, he’s getting back to that type of game. 

Clary is averaging 18.6 points a game, the fourth most in the Big Ten, so Baldwin can take fewer shots. Against Purdue on Sunday, he finished with 13 assists, despite shooting 2-8 from the field on only scoring seven points. 

Baldwin is the type of point guard who excels in a late-season tournament setting. Last year between the Atlantic 10 tournament and March Madness, he averaged 13.3 points and 5.5 assists on 48.7% shooting from the field and 71.4% from the free throw line. 

If Penn State can scratch and claw its way to a decent seed in the Big Ten tournament, then Baldwin will give the Nittany Lions a chance to make some noise, he’ll just need to shoot the ball well enough in the regular season to get them there.