Hey guys, so with Duke on deck on the football schedule and basketball season right around the corner, I wanted to get a little interest generated in hoops, so I decided to do a quick run-down of the ACC teams:
Boston College (22-12, 9-7 NCAA 1st Round)
Key Players: Joe Trapani, Rakim Sanders, Reggie Jackson
The Skinny: Fresh off an NCAA tournament appearance, the Eagles will have to replace all-world guard Tyrese Rice. However, they return all four starters besides Rice and Joe Trapani and Rakim Sanders both look to handle the scoring load with Reggie Jackson handling the ball.
3 BIG GAMES: 12/2 @Michigan, 2/6 Duke, 2/20 UNC
Clemson (23-9, 9-7 NCAA 1st Round)
Key Players: Trevor Booker, Demontez Stitt, Milton Jennings (Fr.)
The Skinny: Oliver Purnell has led his Tigers to the past two NCAA tournaments, but replacing three key starters from those teams, K.C. Rivers, Terrence Oglesby, and Raymond Sykes, will not be an easy task. Trevor Booker returns as an ACC POY candidate and Demontez Stitt provides some experience in the Clemson backcourt. Look for freshman Milton Jennings to give some good minutes.
3 BIG GAMES: 12/2 Illinois, 1/3 @Duke, 3/2 Georgia Tech
Duke (30-7, 11-5 NCAA Sweet 16)
Key Players: Kyle Singler, John Scheyer, Nolan Smith
The Skinny: Even with the loss of Gerald Henderson, this Blue Devils squad appears loaded for a tourney run. Singler, Scheyer and Smith are now all upperclassmen who should be able to mentor the three McDonald’s AA’s from the incoming recruiting class. Look for freshman Ryan Kelly to be the “go to” guy for the Blue Devils in the paint.
3 BIG GAMES: 1/9 @Clemson, 2/10 @UNC, 3/6 UNC
Florida State (25-10, 10-6 NCAA 1st Round)
Key Players: Solomon Alabi, Ufe Echefu, Michael Snaer (Fr.)
The Skinny: FSU returns almost the entire starting lineup from a year ago. The problem is the “almost” piece missing is one of the school’s best basketball players ever in Toney Douglas. Besides Douglas, no Seminole averaged in double figures last year and only two players averaged eight points or better. Solomon Alabi and Ufe Echefu return to form an experienced front court and superstar freshman Michael Snaer will look to replace some of Douglas’ point production, but the ‘Noles will ultimately need another player to step up if they want to get back to The Dance this year.
Georgia Tech (13-19, 2-14)
Key Players: Iman Shumpert, Gani Lawal, Derrick Favors (Fr.)
The Skinny: The only team to lose more conference games than UVa last year was the Yellow Jackets. However, few teams enter the 09/10 season with as much confidence as the Ramblin’ Wreck. Freshamn sensation Iman Shumpert returns along with talented forward Gani Lawal. D’Andre Bell also returns for the Jackets after spending a year on medical reserve and should provide quality depth to a starting five littered with talent. Paul Hewitt once again brought in a stellar recruiting class, landing 5-star all-everything Derrick Favors as well as top-100 player Mfon Udofia and Glen Rice Jr.
3 BIG GAMES: 1/9 @Duke, 1/16 @UNC, 3/2 @Clemson
Maryland (21-14, 7-9 NCAA 2nd Round)
Key Players: Grievous Vasquez, Adrian Bowie, Eric Hayes
The Skinny: The Terps return three starters including All-ACC guard Grievous Vasquez. Adrian Bowie, who came on strong in the ACC and NCAA tournaments last year also returns as well as Eric Hayes, Sean Mosley and Landon Milbourne for the Terps. This is a key season for Gary Williams and staff. They have a player in Vasquez who can lead them back to the depths of the NCAA tourney, but is there enough talent surrounding Vasquez to take them there?
3 BIG GAMES: 1/16 @Boston College, 2/7 UNC, 3/3 Duke
Miami (19-13, 7-9 NIT)
Key Players: Dwayne Collins, James Dews, Durand Scott (Fr.)
The Skinny: Frank Haith’s squad looks to find out what life is like without the indispensable Jack McClinton suiting up every night. McClinton averaged one fourth of his teams total points a year ago, so finding someone to replace him will be easier said than done. The ‘Canes will also be breaking in two other starters to go along with McClinton’s replacement, as Brian Asbury and Lance Hurdle are also gone. Even with all the losses from last years team, the ‘Canes were able to sign a top-20 recruiting class including guard Durand Scott and still have some talent left over in forward Dwayne Collins and senior guard James Dews.
3 BIG GAMES: 12/2 Minnesota, 1/26 @Maryland, 2/17 Duke
North Carolina (34-4, 13-3 NCAA National Champs)
Key Players: Deon Thompson, Marcus Ginyard, Ed Davis
The Skinny: Gone from the Heels’ squad are the two winningest seniors in program history in Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green. Also gone are guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington. The four combined for 66.2 ppg a season ago, and even though Roy Williams once again stuffed his cupboard full of talent, it will be hard to replace what the ’09 team lost. Returning for the Tar Heels are seniors Deon Thompson, who started all 38 games last year, and Marcus Ginyard returns after a medical redshirt season. Talented big man Ed Davis also returns and looks to be the primary scorer in the paint. Freshmen John Henson, Dexter Strickland and twins David and Travis Wear could all make an impact this season for North Carolina.
3 BIG GAMES: 12/2 Mich. St., 12/19 vs. Texas, 3/6 @Duke
N.C. State (16-13, 6-10)
Key Players: Javier Gonzalez, Tracy Smith, DeShawn Painter (Fr.)
The Skinny: The Wolfpack lose three starters from a mediocre ’09 team. In Sydney Lowe’s time at N.C. State, he has proven to be a good recruiter and the ’09 class was no different as he landed two four stars in DeShawn Painter and Richard Howell. Javier Gonzalez returns and should get most of the minutes at point guard while Tracy Smith provides an experienced post player for the ‘Pack.
3 BIG GAMES: 12/23 @Arizona, 1/16 Clemson, 1/26 UNC
Virginia (10-17, 4-12)
Key Players: Sylven Landesberg, Mike Scott, Jeff Jones
The Skinny: The Hoos are coming off one of their worst years in their basketball program’s history. New coach Tony Bennett has his work cut out for him in the ’09/’10 season, but Dave Leitao didn’t leave the cupboard completely bare. The Cavs return ACC Rookie of the Year Sylven Landesberg as well as talented big man Mike Scott, who will look for more of a feature role in Bennett’s offense. Bennett was able to bring in the two Leitao commitments in Tristan Spurlock and Jontell Evans, both of whom could provide quality depth for UVa this season.
3 BIG GAMES: 11/24 vs. Stanford, 2/10 @Maryland, 2/28 Duke
Virginia Tech (17-13, 7-9 NIT)
Key Players: Jeff Allen, Malcolm Delaney, J.T. Thompson
The Skinny: The Hokies’ emotional leader from a year ago, A.D. Vassallo, graduated, but Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney return for a solid one-two punch for Tech. However, Virginia Tech will need someone to step up and provide a third scoring option for the Hokies to have a successful season and make it to the NCAA tournament. Look for junior forward J.T. Thompson to fill that role.
3 BIG GAMES: 12/1 @Iowa, 1/28 @UVA, 2/4 UNC
Wake Forest (24-7, 11-5 NCAA 1st Round)
Key Players: Al-Farouq Aminu, Chas McFarland, L.D. Williams
The Skinny: Dino Gaudio’s hopes of a second straight top-five league finish took a serious hit when underclassmen James Johnson and Jeff Teague left school early for the pros. On the flip side, the Deacs still return an All-ACC caliber player in Aminu and Gaudio’s recruiting continues to improve as he signed top-50 player Ari Stewart who looks to contribute this year. Chas Macfarland returns up front for Wake and guard L.D. Williams is also back to provide senior leadership in the backcourt.
3 BIG GAMES: 12/5 @Gonzaga, 1/17 @Duke, 2/27 UNC