Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Preseason ACC power rankings : College Basketball

Published on November 8, 2011 by Scott Shirley   ·   3 Comments

Here are my preseason ACC power rankings for the 2011-12-college basketball season.

# 1. North Carolina

Coach: Roy Williams (Eight seasons at North Carolina 225-62). Overall 643-163, 23 years

2010-11: Record: 29-8 overall, 14-2 in ACC (1st)

Starters Returning (5) Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, Dexter Strickland, Tyler Zeller

You need just one word to describe this team - loaded; they bring back everybody from a team that made the elite 8 last year. This team has the potential to be better than the team that won the national title in 2009. Harrison Barnes (15.7 ppg) could have been the number one pick in the NBA draft, but he decided to stay in school; he can do it all, and he is as clutch as they come. Tyler Zeller (15.7 ppg) and John Henson (11.7 ppg) round out the best frontcourt in college basketball. Zeller has excellent post moves and runs the floor better than any big man in America.  While Henson is the best-shot blocker in the nation. Leading the way in the backcourt is the best passer in college basketball Kendall Marshall (6.2 ppg). He gets the ball to the playmakers. At shooting guard Dexter Strickland (7.5 ppg) is as fast as they come, but he needs to work on his shot. Look for Reggie Bullock (6.1 ppg) to contribute more because he was hurt most of last season. The Tar Heels lost their best shooter Leslie McDonald (7 ppg) to a torn ACL this summer.  Justin Watts (1.9 ppg) can play multiple positions for North Carolina. North Carolina also brings in a top recruiting class leading the way is forward James McAdoo. McAdoo will be the first big off the bench. If UNC has a weakness, its three point shooting freshman shooting guard P.J. Hairston should improve that.  Forward Desmond Hubert may earn some playing time. Stilman White will likely be the back up point guard.

# 2. Duke

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (31 seasons at Duke 827-225), overall 900-284, 36 years

2010-11: Record: 23-11 overall, 9-7 in ACC (2nd)

Starters Returning (3) Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly

The Blue Devils lost their three best players, and they don’t have a player returning who averaged double figures in points, but still Duke reloads. Their best player will be a freshman, guard Austin Rivers. Rivers can do it all from shooting threes to driving to the rim, but can he handle the pressure? Joining Rivers in the backcourt is Seth Curry (9.0 ppg), who is a deadly shooter.  He will likely handle the point guard duties this season.  Andre Dawkins (8.1 ppg) is another great shooter off the bench and Tyler Thornton is an adequate back up at the point. The Duke frontcourt needs to be tougher if they want to be an elite team, but they have the talent. Mason Plumlee (7.2 ppg) is the man in the middle, while Ryan Kelly (6.6 ppg) can shoot for a big guy. Miles Plumlee (4.8 ppg) provides a great spark off the bench for Duke. Besides Rivers, Duke also brings in 4 talented freshmen. Small forward Alex Murphy should get some quality playing time with Kyle Singler gone. Yes, another Plumlee, Marshall, will help in the frontcourt. Point guard Quinn Cook could also get a lot of playing time, and same goes with Michael Gbinjie.

# 3. Florida State

Coach: Leonard Hamilton (Nine seasons at FSU 176-117), overall, 376-327, 23 years

2010-11: Record: 23-11overall, 11-5 in ACC (3rd)

Starters Returning (3) Micheal Snaer, Bernard James, Okaro White

Florida State has been the third best team in the ACC the past couple of years behind Duke and UNC. The Seminoles lose their top 2 scorers, but they return everyone else from a team that made the Sweet 16.  Guard Micheal Snaer (8.8 ppg) is a very athletic player who needs to score more. Look for Ian Miller (5.5 ppg) to have a breakout year at the point or shooting guard. Deivdas Dulkys (7.3 ppg) is a very experienced guard, and can get hot with his shooting. Luke Loucks (2.9 ppg) can also play. Up front Bernard James (8.6 ppg) is an older player who is only going to get better. Okaro White (6.6 ppg) came on as a freshman; expect a big year from him. Xaiver Gibson (4.7 ppg) is also another athletic player up front. Terrance Shannon (4.7) and Jon Kreft (3.2 ppg) all provide great depth up front. The Seminoles bring in four recruits; look for forward Antwan Space and guard Terry Whisnant II to get some playing time. They also bring in a transfer from Arkansas in guard Jeff Peterson. Florida State can defend, can they score to win that will be the question.

# 4.Miami

Coach: Jim Larranaga (First season at Miami), overall, 470-334, 27 years

2010-11: Record: 21-15 overall, 6-10 in ACC (9th)

Starters Returning (4) Malcolm Grant, Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson, Garrius Adams

The Hurricanes were 6-10 in the ACC last year, but they lost so many close games. Now they have a new head coach in Jim Larranaga, and bring back 7 of their top 8 scorers. I really like this team. Leading the way is a very strong backcourt. Point Guard Malcolm Grant (14.8 ppg) is an excellent shooter, and a great passer. Durand Scott (13. 6 ppg) can get to the rim with the best of them. Rion Brown (4.4 ppg), transfer Trey McKinney-Jones, and freshman Bishop Daniels provide depth off the bench. Center Reggie Johnson (11.9 ppg) is a beast in the middle for the Hurricanes. This year he should average a double double. Bad news here though, Johnson will likely not play until the new year because of an injury.  The Hurricanes took another blow when Julian Gamble tore his ACL and will miss the season. Kenny Kadji a transfer from Flordia will likely start at center without Johnson. Raphael Akperjiori (1.6 ppg) and Erik Swoope (1.4 ppg) will battle for minutes at power forward. The Hurricanes have two great options at the small forward spot in Garius Adams (7.3 ppg) and DeQuan Jones (4.5 ppg). Both are great athletes.

# 5. Virginia

Coach: Tony Bennett (Two seasons at Virginia 31-31), overall 100-64, 5 years

2010-11 Record: 16-15 overall, 7-9 in ACC (Tie/7th)

Starters Returning (4) Jontel Evans, Assane Sene, Mike Scott, Sammy Zeglinski

 The Cavaliers had some rough years lately, they need to get back to the glory days of Virginia basketball. I think Tony Bennett has them headed in that direction. Their best player will be power forward Mike Scott (15.9 ppg) who took a medical redshirt last year; stats are from 2009. When healthy he is a double double machine. Assane Sene (5.1 ppg) is a great defensive center with no offensive game. The Cavaliers could be hurting for depth on the frontcourt, but Akil Mitchell and James Johnson will try to provide it. Virginia is very strong in the frontcourt. Joe Harris (10.4 ppg) has great size for a guard. Sammy Zeglinski (7.8 ppg) can really shoot the ball. Jontel Evans (5.7 ppg) is a solid point guard and an excellent defender. KT Harrell (8.0 ppg) will also help in the backcourt. Tony Bennett brought in three recruits; shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon is the best of the bunch and will get a lot of time in the backcourt. Small forward Paul Jesperson and power forward Darion Atkins also might get in the mix to earn playing time.

# 6. Clemson

Coach: Brad Brownell (Second seasons at Clemson 22-12), overall 187-97, 9 years

2010-11 Record: 22-12 overall, 9-7 ACC (Tie/4th)

Starters Returning (3) Tanner Smith, Andre Young, Devin Booker

The Tigers lose their top two scorers from a team that made the NCAA tournament last year in Brad Brownell’s first year as head coach. They do return 4 players who scored over 7 points per game. Andre Young (11.1 ppg) will take over the point guard duties from the departed Demontez Stitt. Joining Young in the backcourt is Tanner Smith (7.8 ppg) who needs to be more consistent. Leading the way in the frontcourt is Devin Booker (8.1 pgg) who is a very hard nose player. Milton Jennings (8.3 ppg) also returns; he can shoot, but he needs to be more aggressive in the paint. Bryan Narcisse (2.9 pgg) provides solid depth, as does Catalin Baciu; both need to work on their offensive game. Clemson really needs depth in the backcourt that will come from their recruiting class with 3 players. Those players are Rod Hall, Devin Coleman, and Daniel Sapp.  Sapp is the best of the bunch. Their top recruit is power forward Bernard Sullivan; he will play a lot of minutes off the bench.  Also freshman Kevin McDaniels will get some time at small forward for the Tigers.

# 7. Virginia Tech

Coach: Seth Greenberg (Eight seasons at VT 156-106), overall 376-276, 21 years

2010-11 Record: 22-12 overall, 9-7 in ACC (Tie/4th)

Starters Returning (2) Erick Green, Victor Davila

The Hokies have been on the bubble recently every year, now it will be a successful season if they’re on the bubble this year. The Hokies lose 3 starters including leading scorer and all everything Malcolm Delaney; they also lose forward Jeff Allen. Erick Green (11.6 ppg) returns at the point, he will be more productive with Delaney gone. Dorenzo Hudson (10.4 ppg) returns from taking a medical redshirt last season. Jarrell Eddie (2.9 pgg) and Tryone Garland provide solid depth in the backcourt. The frontcourt will be the huge question for the Hokies. Victor Davila (7.4 pgg) returns, but he always has been a complementary player. The return of J.T. Thompson (7.3 pgg) from injury would have helped but he tore his ACL in pre season pratice. Cadarian Raines is also coming off an injury. Luckily for the Hokies they brought in a top recruiting class of four players. Leading the way is small forward Dorian Finney-Smith, look for him to start right away. Power forward C.J. Barksdale is also a top player.  Also point guard Marquis Rankin, and shooting guard Robert Brown should also get their share of playing time.

# 8. NC State

Coach: Mark Gottfried (First season at NC State), overall 279-154, 14 years

2010-11 Record: 15-16 overall, 5-11 in ACC (Tie/ 10th)

Starters Returning (3) C.J.Leslie, Scott Wood, Lorenzo Brown

Sidney Lowe is gone, in comes Mark Gottried, Lowe did leave some talent for Gottried. The Wolfpack return 7 of their top 10 scorers. They lose their best player in forward Tracy Smith, and the transfer of point guard Ryan Harrow hurts. Leading the way for the Wolfpack is power forward C.J. Leslie (11.0 ppg), many thought he would enter the draft. He has so much talent and athletic ability. Look for Richard Howell (7.4 ppg) to have a breakout year up front; he will have a much bigger role. DeShawn Painter (4.6 ppg), Kendall Smith (1 ppg) and Jordan Vandenberg (1 pgg) provide solid depth up front. Scott Wood (9.7 ppg) is a deadly shooter from the small forward position. Lorenzo Brown (9.3 ppg) is very good at the point; he led the team in assists and steals last year. C.J. Williams (4.7 ppg) will help in the backcourt. Also look for transfer Alex Johnson to play in the backcourt. North Carolina State brings in three freshmen; power forward Tyler Harris has the best chance to play. Shooting guard Jaqawn Raymond and power forward Thomas De Thaey, might also have a chance to play as freshman.

9. Georgia Tech

Coach: Brian Gregory (first year at Georgia Tech), overall 172-94,8 years

2010-11 Record: 13-18 overall, 5-11 in ACC (Tie/10th)

Starters Returning (3): Daniel Miller, Glen Rice Jr., Jason Morris

Paul Hewitt is finally gone so now Brian Gregory takes over the Yellow Jackets program. Gone also is the Yellow Jackets best player Iman Shumpert. Mfon Udofia (6.7 ppg) didn’t start last year, but look for him to start at the point. Guard Jason Morris (6 ppg) is an excellent three-point shooter. Look for Glen Rice Jr. (12.8 ppg) to do most of the scoring in the backcourt; he will be relied on more to score with Shumpert gone. Providing depth in the backcourt will be Brandon Reed a transfer who averaged 15.1 ppg at Arkansas State. Daniel Miller (4.4 ppg) leads the way in the in the middle; needs to become a better scorer. Nate Hicks and Kammeron Holsey (3.4 ppg) also return in the frontcourt . The Yellow Jackets really lack depth here and this is a concern. They bring in 2 freshmen, one of which is forward Julian Royal; look for him to get a lot of playing time.

# 10. Maryland

Coach: Mark Turgeon (first year at Maryland 107-57), 249-158, 13 years

2010-11 Record: 19-14 overall, 7-9 in ACC (Tied 7th)

Starters Returning (2) Terrell Stoglin, Sean Mosley

 Things don’t look so bright for the Terps, Gary Williams retired, and they lose 4 out of their top 5 scorers. Gone is center Jordan Williams who averaged a double double last season. Good luck to new head coach Mark Turgeon, whom I think will do a good job but it will take time. The Terps best returning player is point guard Terrell Stoglin (11.4 ppg) who really came on last year as a freshman. Also in the backcourt is Sean Mosley (8.1 ppg). Pe’Shon Howard (5.4 ppg) provides solid depth off the bench, but he will be out for a couple months with a foot inury.  The frontcourt is where Maryland will be really hurting. Their top returning player here is James Padgett (3.3. ppg), he played under 10 minutes last season. Ashton Pankey and Berend Weijs also return in the backcourt but don’t provide much. The coaching change didn’t help the recruiting class as they only brought in 1 player in shooting guard Nick Faust who should play right away. The Terps have also brought in Alex Len, who is from Ukraine, but he will have to sit out 10 games to start the season. They are really in need of a small forward Mychal Parker (1.3 ppg) will likely start.

11. Wake Forest

Coach: Jeff Bzdelik (first year at Wake Forest 8-24), 119-129 overall 8 years

2010-11 Record: 8-24, 1-15 in ACC (Last in ACC)

Starters Returning (3) Travis McKie, C.J. Harris, Carson Desrosiers

Bad news is Wake Forest only won 1 ACC game last year for new head coach Jeff Bzdelik, but the good news is that they are returning 3 starters from that team, 2 of which were just true freshman.  Wake Forest could have brought back 4 starters, but J.T. Terrell has left the team after a DUI arrest. This was a huge blow; he averaged 11.1 ppg last season.  Travis McKie (13 ppg) leads the frontcourt at power forward, and is a star in the making. Also in the frontcourt are Niktia Mescheriakov (4.5 ppg) and Carson Desrosiers (4 ppg. They both provide great size, but need to improve on offense. Ty Walker and Melvin Tabb were supposed to provide depth in the frontcourt, but Walker is suspended for a while, and Tabb is no longer on the team. In the backcourt Wake Forest leader in the backcourt is C.J. Harris (10.3 ppg). Harris handles the point guard duties. Tony Chennault (4.0 ppg) is an excellent back up at the point. Wake Forest could really use some depth at shooting guard and small forward. The Demon Deacons bring in 3 recruits none of which is highly rated. Shooting guard Chase Fischer is the best of the bunch.  Power forward Daniel Green also might get some playing time.

# 12. Boston College

Coach: Steve Donahue (one year at Boston College 22-13), overall 167-151 11 years

2010-11 Record: 21-13 overall, 9-7 in ACC (Tie/4th)

Starters Returning: (0)

Wow, the Eagles lost a lot, they lost their top five players in points, assists, and rebounds. This is going to be a rough second year for head coach Steve Donahue who brings in 7 freshmen. The two Eagles players that return are both guards Danny Rubin (4.1 ppg) and Gabe Moton (2.5 ppg) they barely played last year. Deirunas Visockas is a transfer who will also provide depth. Look for true freshman shooting guard Lonnie Jackson and point guard Jordan Daniels to provide depth here. The Eagles will really be lacking in the frontcourt. Their best player will be Matt Humphrey a transfer from Oregon. Boston College’s best recruit is power forward Ryan Anderson he will start from day one. Freshman Kyle Caudill and Dennis Clifford will give the Eagles some depth in the frontcourt.  Freshman Patrick Heckmann and Eddie Odio will both help out at small forward.

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