ACC Men’s Basketball 2008-09 Conference Preview – Part Two: 7 – 9
Conference Rank: 7
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Head Coach: Paul Hewwitt
2007-08 Recap: 15-17 (7-9 ACC)
Key Additions: G – 6-4 Fr. Iman Shumpert, F/C – 6-9 Sr. Bassirou Dieng
G – Maurice Miller So. 6-1 8.1ppg, 3.3 apg
G – Lewis Clinch Sr. 6-3 9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
F – D’Andre Bell Sr. 6-5 6.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
F – Gani Lawal So. 6-8 7.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg
F – Zack Peacock Jr. 6-8 9.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg
42.3 points per game and 19.4 rebounds are gone and so is the last player from the 2004 Final Four Team. The Yellow Jackets still have plenty of depth and experience to make-up the difference.
Lewis Clinch is the leading returning scorer from last season who came off the bench. Clinch will have to do more than just shot to stay on the court, his defense is a well known issue.
The front court lost a lot of talent, but will have enough left over to be competitive. D’Andre Bell is the team’s defensive stopper and will not be ask to do much more than that.
A pair of 6-8 forwards will be the focus of the teams low-post attack. Zack Peacock should be a double-double threat every game and will take the leadership role. Gani Lawal will give the Yellow Jackets a mismatch with his length and athletic ability.
Senior forward 6-10 Alade Aminu will see plenty of time backing-up both big men and McDonald’s All-American freshman guard Iman Shumpert will see minutes doing the same for the guards.
It is rare for a team to have so much of their production gone and yet still have a team that will compete. I would expect Paul Hewitt’s team to struggle defensively in the early part of the season, but should be able to put points on the board. The Yellow Jackets have a even mix of veterans and talented youngsters and this year should build momentum for next year. Even if they don’t make the NCAA Tournament.
Conference Rank: 8
Boston College Eagles
Head Coach: Al Skinner
2007-08 Recap: 14-17 (4-12 ACC)
Key Additions: F – 6-8 So. Joe Trapani, G – 6-3 Fr. Reggie Jackson, G – 6-5 Fr. Dallas Elmore
G – Biko Paris 6-1 So. 5.7ppg, 2.9 apg
G – Tyrese Rice 6-1 Sr. 21 ppg, 5.0 apg
F – Rakim Sanders 6-5 So. 11.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F – Joe Trapani 6-8 So. 11.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
C – Josh Southern 6-10 So. 5.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg
The recent glory days of Craig Smith and Jared Dudley seem so long ago. Tyrese Rice came to Boston with All-Americans in front of him and know he is a senior and he as a lot talent being him. But Rice is the undeniable leader.
Biko Paris showed last season he is capable of being a point guard in the ACC. With the Paris running the point, Rice will be able to run off picks to get open shots.
After a up and down freshmen season, Rakim Sanders is set for a break out sophomore season. And if the Eagles want to make any noise in the ACC, he will need to be more consistent.
Big man Josh Southern will see more playing time and might just pan out to be a high quality big man. To do that, he needs to stay out of foul trouble.
Vermont transfer Joe Trapani will bring some toughness around the basket and will be asked to do more scoring than Southern. Junior Tyler Roche must help out on the glass the same way he is able to provide long range shooting and scoring.
Rice will get scoring help from Sanders and he will get help with ball handling from Paris. But don’t expect everything to be nice and balanced at all times. The offense will still depend on Rice. The Eagles a step closer to returning to the “glory days” than they were last season, but the NIT looks like a strong possibility.
Conference Rank: 9
Head Coach: Gary Williams
2007-08 Recap: 19-15 (8-8 ACC)
Key Additions: G – 6-4 Fr. Sean Mosley, F – 6-8 Fr. Jin Soo Kim (waiting approval)
G – Greivis Vasquez 6-6 Jr. 17 ppg, 6.8 apg
G – Eric Hayes 6-4 Jr. 9.9 ppg, 4.5 apg
G – Landon Milbourne 6-7 So. 8.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg
F – Jerome Burney 6-9 So. 1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
C – Braxton Dupree 6-8 So. 2.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
At 6-6 Greivis Vasquez was an interesting match-up at point guard for most teams last season, but he will not play the point as much as this season. The ACC assist leader is an emotional roller coaster and this team better hang-on.
Eric Hayes, the second highest returning scorer after Vasquez, will take on a larger scoring load and will be the primary ball handler.
The Terrapins lost their two best post players in James Gist and Bambale Osby. Trying to find suitable replacements will be difficult. Braxton Dupree will be the first option for Maryland, if he can control is weight. Jerome Burney, one time Miami signee, played only 7.4 minutes a game and did not give him much to prove himself. He will have a chance this year.
Maryland will run a three guard offense with Landon Milbourne as the big guard. Shooting 39% is a decent start for him and hopes are he will get better as he gets more looks.
The wild card in the whole mix is Jin Soo Kim. This South Korean is an athletic player that could potentially play 3 positions, if the NCAA Clearinghouse allows. If approved, Kim would add minutes and scoring off the bench and make a push to the starting line-up.
This season could be Gary Williams last. 2002 seems like a lifetime ago and the Terrapins have only made the NCAA Tournament three out of the last six seasons. Much of this team’s success falls on Vasquesz and how Williams decides to use him. Keeping at the point is not productive when he does not have proven options to pass to. Look for him to be off the ball more and Hayes to initiate the offense. The big men need to prove themselves, because next season’s recruits will challenge from day one.