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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. Bruce Thornton. Bruce Thornton. Bruce Thornton. 490. . 4. Sophomore. 16.8 ppg 4.2 asts. player

Chris Holtmann has to be pleased with Thornton’s development into his second year. Of the second-year guards on this list, Thornton is the highest, ahead of Smith and McDaniel. The reason that Thornton slots in right behind the trio of seniors ahead of him is that he plays like a veteran, not an underclassman. 

So far this year, Thornton has 72 assists to just 16 turnovers, only 0.9 per game. A year ago he averaged 1.3 turnovers, which was a solid number, but he’s improved to an elite level. However, Thornton isn’t quite an elite shooter yet. 

Though averaging just under 17 points a game, the 6-foot-2 point guard has shooting splits of 43/33/81. His free throw percentage is good enough that he’s reliable at the end of games, but shooting 33.0% from three on 5.5 attempts per game isn’t enough for Thornton to be an upper-echelon floor general. 

If the shooting improves, then the Buckeyes, who have started 2-4 in conference play, will be a real factor by the time the Big Ten tournament rolls around.