Category Archives: ACC Basketball

Tuesday Night Hoopla

78849124KC010_MARYLAND_V_DUThis Game Should Have Been Better

Two minutes.  Jon Scheyer made a three-pointer after two fast paced hard fought minutes.  Two minutes later, Purdue finally scored when Chris Kramer final hit a jumper to make the game 7-2.  It would seem that the Boilermakers were a little to hyped to play Duke Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

In the second half Purdue had another scoring draught of over four minutes and if JaJuan Johnson had not scored eight points in a row, Purdue would have not scored until 10:48 left in the game when E’Twaun Moore hit a jumper.

In the match-up of  star 6’8” sophomore forwards, Duke’s Kyle Singler out-played Purdue’s preseason Big-Ten player of the Year candidate,  Robbie Hummel.  Even if the stat lines don’t look as such.

I must admit, even as a Dukie, I did not buy into Singler until a few games into the season.  Working hard over the summer to add 10 pounds of muscle, Singler looks the part of a McDonalds All-American.  And the game at Purdue furthered my belief that he can lead  and make playes in big games when needed.

Coaches will say that no game is more important than any other.  That’s crap.  And you get see the evidence all over the court Tuesday night.  Players were diving for loose balls, attempting to take charges, giving hard fouls.  Even Singler seemed to be amped up for Duke’s first real test of the season.

Singler finished the evening with 20 points and 12 rebounds – six offense – and hit shots when his team needed them.  Singler was all over the place with hustle plays and guarded Hummel and did not allow any east shots.

Hummel was completely invisible until halfway through the second half and then he ended with 15 points and 8 rebounds.  But his play did not affect the game nearly as much as Singler.  For that matter, all Purdue players games did not affected the out come as much as Singler as Purdue looked rushed in their offense and over-matched by Duke’s talent.

I have never been on to beleieve that stats alone can tell the whole story of a game.  Well, Tuesday night it certainly did.  Two key stats showed how lopsided this game truly was; Duke out rebounded Purdue 43 to 26.  And the Boilermakers shoot 2 for 13 from the three point line and Duke shoot 8 for 22.  Schyer also finished with 20 points.

Colt – 45

Ralph Sampson’s kid is coming to Minnesota.  Tubby Smith had instantly proved his importance to the Gopher Nation as Sampson highlighted the 23rd best recruiting class in the country, but there was another tall post player who was a part of the recruiting class.  And that player has started all seven games and Tuesday night in the Gophers toughest game this season, he had the best game of his short career.

The 6’10” 235-pound Colton Iverson came in to his senior his under the radar in Yankton, South Dakota.  Not many people knew who he was and even fewer knew less about his game.

Iverson stock rose to be ranked among Top 150 recruits after a strong senior season when he averaged 17.5 ppg, 12.9 rpg and 2.7 blocks and a summer where his AAU team won the Hoosier Shootout and he won the tourney’s MVP. His stock so much that even Billy Donavan and the Florida Gators were interested.

In the Minnesota’s  win against Virginia, the Gophers looked for Iverson on offense and he responding finishing 5 for 6 from the floor, 4 for 6 from the foul line for 14 points.  He also grabbed seven rebounds and four of which were offensive.

Iverson altered more shots than he blocked (2) but along with Ralph Sampson and Damian Johnson, the Gophers frontcourt finished with seven blocks, 14 rebounds and 20 points.  Compared to the four best Cavalier post players who had 11 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks.

Quick Hits

Miami’s Jack McClinton’s best shot of the night?  After starting off the game 4-4 from distance, McClinton took a shot at Ohio States guard Anthony Carter and slapped Carter in the face.  After a quick conference with the refs, McClinton was ejected.  Ohio State won 73-68.

The Memphis Tigers blew out  the Marist Red Foxes 100-61.  Here is the stat-line for Memphis guard Tyreke Evans: 10 for 13 from the floor, 2 for 4 from behind the arc, 2 for 6 from the chariot stripe – weak, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and 24 points.   Marist was tough.

In the same “why the hell are you playing each other” vein,  Notre Dame beat South Dakota 102-76.  Notre Dame’s Randy Ayers finished with 35 points, 6 rebounds, shot 9 for 14 from distance and 12 for 20 from the field.

New Jersey Institute of Technology lost again.  Stony Brook outscored the Highlanders, 60-39.

By the end of the Tuesday the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was all tied-up at 3-3.

ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Wisconsin beat Virginia Tech on a last second shot by Trevon Hughes to give the Big Ten a “commanding” 1-0 lead over the ACC.  Check here for a ESPN’s recap and highlights.

Tonight is No. 4 Duke at No. 10 Purdue in a game I will watch with anticipation.  I will recap that game and the Ohio State at Miami game or Virginia at Minnesota for Fox tomorrow.

Here is the complete schedule and not all games out on TV.

Monday, Dec. 1

Wisconsin at Virginia Tech

Tuesday, Dec. 2

Duke at Purdue
Clemson at Illinois
Ohio State at Miami
Virginia at Minnesota
Iowa at Boston College

Wednesday, Dec. 3

North Carolina vs. Michigan State (from Ford Field)
Indiana at Wake Forest
Michigan at Maryland
Florida State at Northwestern
Penn State at Georgia Tech

ACC Men’s Basketball 2008-09 Preview, Part Four: UNC, Duke, ‘Canes and All-ACC Awards

Player of the Year: Tyler Hansbrough, UNC

Freshmen of the Year: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

All-ACC First Team
G Ty Lawson, UNC
G Jack McClinton, Miami
G James Johnson, Wake Forest
F Gerald Hernderson, Duke
C Tyler Hansbrough, UNC

All-ACC Second Team
G Tyrese Rice, Boston College
G K.C. Rivers, Clemson
G Wayne Ellingson, UNC
F Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest
F Kyle Singler, Duke

Honorable Mention

G Jon Scheyer, Duke, F Danny Green, UNC, G James Dews, Miami, G Greivis Vasquez, Maryland, F Rakim Sanders, BC, G Lewis Clinch, GT, F Trevor Booker and G Terrance Oglesby, Clemson, G A.D. Vassallo and F Jeff Allen, VT

1. UNC #1 on Bleacher Report top 25
2. Duke #8
3. Miami #17
4. Clemson
5. Wake Forest #22
6. Virginia Tech
7. Georgia Tech
8. Boston College
9. Maryland
10. North Carolina Sate
11. Florida State
12. Virginia
Conference Rank: 1
North Carolina Tarheels

Head Coach: Roy Williams
2007-08 Recap: 36-3 (14-2 ACC)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: C 6’9” Alex Stepheson, G 6’3” Quentin Thomas
Key Additions: G 6’1” Larry Drew, F 6’10” Ed Davis, C 7’0” Tyler Zeller

Starting Line-up
G Ty Lawson 5‘11” Jr. 12.7 ppg, 5.2 apg
G Wayne Wllingson 6’4” Jr. 16.6 ppg, 4.5 apg
F Marcus Ginyard 6‘4” Sr. 6.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg
F Deon Thompson 6’8” So. 8.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg
F Tyler Hansbourgh 6’9” Sr. 22.6 ppg, 10.2 rpg

Tyler Hansbourgh came back to complete the mission. After winning every award and it being announced that his jersey will be retired at UNC, Hansbourgh could cement himself as one of the greatest college players ever.

Even at only 5’11”, there is no more important player on this team then Ty Lawson. While Hansbourgh gets the accolades, it is Lawson that drives this team. When he was out a handful of games last season, UNC looked slow and uncomfortable in their offense.

Smooth shooter Wayne Ellingson is the Tarheel’s first option on the perimeter. While shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc, Ellington will have to focus on defensive.

Marcus Ginyard is the defensive stopper and has guard most players from point to power forward.

The Tarheels are expecting improvement from Deon Thompson. After Alex Stepheson transferred, Thompson’s play must become more consistent.

Sixth man extraordinaire, Danny Green even though he is the only player off the bench that provides double digit scoring, it is his hustle and defense are what make him a Carolina favorite.

In the backcourt the Tarheels have experience at back-up in Bobby Frasier and we should see Larry Drew III as the “point guard in training” to replace Lawson when he leaves.

The freshmen forwards each have their specialty; Ed Davis is the rebounder and Tyler Zeller is the shooter. They bring in added height and depth to a rather short frontcourt.

FORECAST
Roy Williams has to be pacing in anticipation of the 2008-09 season. The Tarheels roster is stuffed full of talent and the expectations are higher that they have been since Williams has been on the UNC bench.

If there is a weakness one this team, it is that they are not a very tall team. There two tallest players are incoming freshmen Davis and Zeller, neither are going to be expected to add much more than five fouls and garbage time. Drew could see some time if Lawson gets hurt.

The only thing that could keep the Tarheels from bring the championship back to Raleigh would be injury – and a couple good teams!

Conference Rank: 2
Duke Blue Devils

Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
2007-08 Recap: 28-6 (13-3 ACC)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: G 6’4” DeMarcus Nelson, F 6’6” Taylor King
Key Additions: G 6’4” Elliot Williams, F 6’1” Miles Plumlee, F 6’8” Olek Cryz

Starting Line-up
G Nolen Smith 6‘2” So. 5.9 ppg, 1.3 apg
G Jon Scheyer 6’5” Jr. 11.7 ppg, 2.4 apg
G Gerald Henderson 6‘4” So. 12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg
F Kyle singler 6’8” So. 13.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg
F Lance Thomas 6’8” Jr. 4.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg

At 6’4” he is the Duke player the takes the jump ball at tip-off. Gerald Henderson is a phenomenal athlete, and his basketball game is finally catching-up. At times he is flash of the best player in the ACC and then other moments he is completely invisible. Henderson must find a personal comprise and also find ways, in the offense, to get his shots.

Sophomore guard Nolen Smith was declared the started my Coach K just a couple weeks ago. Smith is a budding offensive threat and a much better defender than people give him credit.

After living in the sixth man role for two years, Jon Scheyer gets the chance in the starting line-up. When he first came to Durham he was known as a distance shooter, but his game has evolved and is really a threat from anywhere on the floor.

Kyle Singler added twenty pounds of muscle to his wiry frame, which should help in the post. Teams must be track of him everywhere he goes on the court. He is a solid post scorer, good outside shooter, and is the main weapon in the screen and pop. His defense will be an issue as he will be match-up with bigger post players, depending on how is in the line-up for Duke.

The second forward or center spot is a tossup right now. Lance Thomas started last season, but he very well could be plucked from the line-up for 6’10” Miles Plumlee or 7’1” Brian Zoubek. No matter the decision, the three of them will be need for added muscle along with David McClure. Olek Cryz can get off the floor and thinks every shot should be a dunk.

Greg Paulus is going to play his begin his senior off the bench after starting since his freshmen year. Don’t let this fool you, he will split minutes with Smith and whoever is having the better game, will be in at the end. He is deadly from distance and is the most experienced player on the roster.

McDonald’s All-American Elliot Williams is explosive. He has the handle off a point guard and is not afraid to get to the basket. Finding him minutes is a must, but where. This season he will back-up Scheyer and Henderson – and then next season start in place of Henderson.

FORECAST
Since Josh McRoberts left a few seasons ago, Duke has been thin on the front line. But this season, Coach K actually has options. While all the offense will flow through Singler, there are many bodies to help with defense and rebounding.

Even though Duke lives by the three, the new distance will not hurt them. Most of their guys stood five feet behind the old line.

Caoch K will have this team play is signature pressure defense and but will look to find different ways to get all the players to their full potential on offense.

Conference Rank: 3
Miami Hurricanes

Head Coach: Frank Haith
2007-08 Recap: 23-11 (13-3 ACC)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: C 6’9” Anthony King, F 6’7” Raymond Hicks
Key Additions: F 6‘6” Fr. DeQuan Jones, F 6‘9” Fr. Cyrus McGowan

Starting Line-up
G Lance Hudle 6‘2” Sr. 8.0 ppg, 2.4 apg
G Jack McClinton 6’2” Sr. 17.7 ppg, 2.6 apg
G James Dews 6‘3” So. 10.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
F Brian Asbury 6’7” Sr. 8.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg
F/C Dwayne Collins 6’9” Jr. 8.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg

Who was the biggest impact player in the ACC not playing for a team in the Carolinas? That would be Jack McClinton. 6’1” he is a major threat from deep, is very capable of getting to the foul line and then shooting over 91 percent when he gets there, and is confident in the clutch. After considering jumping the NBA, McClinton came back to Miami and his stock should rise, along with the amount of wins for this team.

Super quick point guard Lance Hurdle is one of four key seniors on this team. Along with McClinton the offense starts with Hurdle. Hurdle must improve on his ability to deliver passes to the open shooter. Averaging only 2.4 apg with scorers like McClinton and James Dews, is ridiculous. Hurdle needs to connect to the rest of the offense in the natural flow of the offense to get easy and open shots.

James Dews is the last guard in this three-headed monster. He also shots over 90 percent from the foul line and 40 percent from the field. While he might have the stats of McClinton, he must elevate his game if this team wants to succeed.

Brain Asbury, another experienced senior for the Canes, should start at the beginning of the season. But Asbury has sixth man written all over him for the long of the season.

At 6’9”, Dwayne Collins is one of three players at that height. The Canes are not tall, but they take up space. He is a tough defender, great leaper, solid rebounder – especially on the offensive end – and can score on the block.

Arkansas transfer Cyrus McGowan is the most likely new face to compete for a starting spot.

Sophomore guard Eddie Rios is a starter in training and is a stellar ball-handler to take over next season

McQuan Jones will see plenty of playing time at the 3 spot. He is a very talented recruit and is the cornerstone for the future.

FORECAST
When would you have thought that the University of Miami would have a basketball team that has higher expectations that is football team?

Coach Haith knows that he is about to turn Miami from a cellar dweller to a top five ACC program.

Miami has talented pieces on offense, but it was their defense that was second in the ACC. If they can keep that a focus while getting a lift from the newcomers to the roster, this team should be ranked all season and make some of those Carolina teams very upset.

ACC Men’s Basketball 2008-09 Preview, Part Three: Tigers, Demon Deacons, and Hokies

1. UNC
2. Duke
3. Miami
4. Clemson
5. Wake Forrest
6. Virginia Tech

7. Georgia Tech
8. Boston College
9. Maryland
10. North Carolina Sate
11. Florida State
12. Virginia

Conference Rank: 4
Clemson Tigers
Head Coach: Oliver Purnell
2007-08 Recap: 24-10 (4-12 ACC)
2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: G 6‘3” Cliff Hammonds, F 6’8” James Mays, F 6’5” Sam Perry
Key Additions: G 5‘9” Fr. Andre Young, C 7‘1” Fr. Catalin Baciu, G/F 6’5” Fr. Tanner Smith, F 6’6” Bryan Narcisse
Starting Line-up
G Demontez Stitt 6‘2” So. 8.8ppg, 3.0 apg
G Terrance Oglesby 6’2” So. 10.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
F K.C. Rivers 6‘5” Sr. 14.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg
F Trevor Booker 6’7” Jr. 11 ppg, 7.3 rpg
C Raymond Sykes 6’9” Sr. 4.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg
K.C. Rivers showed his capable of doing everything. While leading the team in scoring, he was second on the team in rebounding and assists per game. He will take over leadership for the Tigers and should compete for All-ACC accolades.
Super quick sophomore Demontez Stitt, showed he can handle ACC competition in his freshmen year. Not only can he find open looks for others, he will get to the basket with ease when needed.
Long distance bomber Terrance Oglesby, showed he can make the big shots. After scoring 24.4 ppg with the Under 20 Norwegian National team this summer, he has dual citizenship, in his second year he will to bring that scoring average aboard and evolve his game to be dangerous from anywhere on the court, not just behind the three point line.
Trevor Booker will not have James Mays to keep teams from double teaming in the post, but Booker will still be the primary post presence. His scoring average should go up and Booker should up with quite a few double doubles.
Senior Raymond Sykes will not be a scoring threat like Booker. He will be needed to block shots, crash the boards and throw down the occasional lob pass. Sykes has exceptional jumping ability.
Incoming freshmen will be slotted into back-up roles. Andre Young is an outstanding shooter from distance and was a Top-100 recruit out of high school.
Offense can wait for Catalin Baciu, but his shot blocking will be felt immediately and Jerai Grant will continue to develop and see more minutes.
FORECAST
What a year for the Clemson Tigers. They finished the regular season in third place in the ACC, beat Duke in the ACC tournament and lost to UNC by only five points in the championship game.
So what does Clemson do to continue the success? Shoot better from the free throw line. As a team they shot only 62 percent from the charity stripe-only three players shot over 70 percent from the line-while shooting 37 percent from three. Improving in both would likely lock-up at least two more wins. This team has quality options on offense, they have good post play and great perimeter shooters.
The major question is on defense. Last season the Tigers outscored their opponents’ 79-69 and out rebounded them by only two rebounds per game. Look for Clemson to try to outscore they other team, not shut them down.
The Tigers will again compete to play in the ACC tournament championship game while making a push to the top on the regular season.

Conference Rank: 5
Wake Forrest Demon Deacons

Head Coach: Dino Gaudio
2007-08 Recap: 17-13 (7-9 ACC)
2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: None
Key Additions: F 6‘8” Fr. Al-Farouq Aminu, C 7‘0” Fr. Ty Walker, F 6’10” Fr. Tony Woods
Starting Line-up
G Ishmael Smith 6‘0” Jr. 8.6 ppg, 4.7 apg
G Jeff Teague 6’2” So. 13.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg
F Al-Farouq Aminu 6‘9” Fr. 23.1 ppg, 11.2 rpg *High School Stats
F James Johnson 6’8” So. 14.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg
C Chas McFarland 7’0” Jr. 8.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg
While the Demon Deacons have a top five recruiting class, this team is still James Johnson’s. Johnson is an elite athlete who is extremely versatile, but this team extremely talented and his averages could dip as the shots will be more spread through out the team. But in the clutch, the ball will be in his hands.
Point guard Ishmael Smith’s free throw shooting is a well documented liability. Shooting 29 percent from the charity stripe and 43 from the field is unbelievable as a back court player. He is a pass first point guard who has a ton of talent that needs their shots.
Jeff Teague is a scorer and got better in conference play. He was the only double figure scorer from last season and he Smith compliment each other very well.
Stud freshmen Al-Farouq Aminu will have high expectations, but he will be giving sometime to grow. He is a skill player who is very quick off the floor.
There is not shortage of centers on this team. But Chas McFarland saw his numbers and minutes jump under Gaudio. But he will be challenged for the starting spot by freshmen Tony Woods and Ty Walker.
Both are top-notch defenders with shot blocking ability, but their offense games need improvement. But they will see plenty of time off the bench.
6’4” guard L.D. Williams is the best perimeter defender and will get many chances to shut down players.
Harvey Hale played 23 minutes a game last season. His minutes might depend on who steady Smith is able to play.
FORECAST
This team is very tough to feel out. The Demon Deacons are obviously talented, but how are they as a team?
The team has depth and height in the frontcourt, but finding a rotation would a problem most coaches would like to have. Yet it is a problem. With three impact freshmen and a player in Johnson who will complete for Player of the Year honors, minutes could be hard to find.
The Demon Deacons are on their way to the top of the ACC and I really think they could end up any where from second to 7 in the conference. Ultimately, they are too talented to finish in the bottom half and will bring tough games to every team.

Conference Rank: 6
Virginia Tech Hokies

Head Coach: Seth Greenberg
2007-08 Recap: 21-14 (9-7 ACC)
2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: F 6’7” Deron Washington
Key Additions: F 6‘9” Fr. Victor Davila, C 6‘11” Fr. Gene Swindle
Starting Line-up
G Malcolm Delaney 6‘3” So. 9.6 ppg, 3.1 apg
G A.D. Vassallo 6’6” Sr. 16.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F J.T. Thompson 6‘6” So. 5.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
F Jeff Allen 6’7” So. 11.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg
C Cheick Diakite 6’9” Sr. 1.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg
It is now of never for A.D. Vassallo. This team will need him to take the leadership role and continue to expend his scoring role. At 6’6” Vassallo is a match-up problem for most guards in the ACC. He is a volume scorer and how is dangerous behind the arc.
Malcolm Delaney is the third option in this offense, but he might be the most important. He was the Hokies best shooter from distance shooting 40 percent last season.
The second wing spot could go to a number of players, but J.T. Thompson adds hustle and takes up space. He will never get shots in the offense, but should get some buckets cleaning-up.
Jeff Allen had a freshmen season filled up moments of good and bad. The good was his offensive production. The bad was his weight and a suspension after make contact with an official. Coach Greenberg has been hard on him regarding his conditioning but that should improve and so will Allen’s numbers.
Multiply players could step in at center, and while he lacks an offensive game, the defense of Cheick Diakite is what is needed.
Freshmen Victor Davila figures to battle for the starting center spot. Having played for the Puerto Rican national team, he game is more sophisticated than most incoming freshmen.
Hank Thorns and Derenzo Hudson will make-up the backcourt support for the Hokies.
FORECAST
Jeff Greenberg will not have the most athletic team in the ACC, but has some very good “basketball” pieces. He just has to complete the puzzle, by finding the right mix if players.
Where this team finishes in the ACC will depend heavily on how consistent Vassallo and Allen can play. There are not a lot of offense options on this team, but there are plenty of bodies to help out defensively.
Virginia Tech lost one of the best pure athletes in Deron Washington, but did not do much to replace him.
The concern will not only be finding another double figure scorer, but replacing all the other aspects of the game where Washington contributed, especially on defense.
Last season Virginia Tech had the best scoring defense in the ACC and if they want to win and play in March, they must repeat the feat.

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)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: G – 6-5 Anthony Marrow, F – 6-8 Jeremis Smith, F – 6-10 Ra’Sean Dickey,
G – 6-0 Matt Causey
Key Additions: G – 6-4 Fr. Iman Shumpert, F/C – 6-9 Sr. Bassirou Dieng
Starting Line-up

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.

Along with Clinch, Maurice Miller will be the focus of the offense and will give them steady play at the point in his second season.

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.

FORECAST

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)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: F – 6-6 Shamari Spears, C – 6-11 Tyrelle Blair
Key Additions: F – 6-8 So. Joe Trapani, G – 6-3 Fr. Reggie Jackson, G – 6-5 Fr. Dallas Elmore
Starting Line-up

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.

FORECAST

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
Maryland Terrapins
Head Coach: Gary Williams
2007-08 Recap: 19-15 (8-8 ACC)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: F – 6-8 James Gist, F – 6-8 Bambale Osby
Key Additions: G – 6-4 Fr. Sean Mosley, F – 6-8 Fr. Jin Soo Kim (waiting approval)
Starting Line-up

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.

FORECAST

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.

ACC Men’s Basketball Conference Preview – The Bottom Three

The Atlantic Coastal Conference is always in the argument of which conference plays the best basketball. And rightfully so. With schools such as; UNC, Duke, Wake Forrest, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Clemson, Maryland and Florida State, the ACC houses many good teams and a number of NBA prospects that reside on the East Coast.

I will take a look at the ACC in four groups – in each group I will give a snapshot of three schools and preview their teams. I will start with the bottom three and work are way up to
North Carolina – we all know they are the best.

Once we have finished our team preview, I will give you my All ACC-Team as well as my predictions for the individual awards.

The Bottom Three

Conference Rank: 10
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Head Coach: Sydney Lowe
2007-08 Record: 15-16 (4-12 ACC)

2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: F – 6-8 J.J Hickson, F – 6-8 Gavin Grant
Key Additions: G – 6-2 Fr. Julius Mays , F – 6-5 Fr. C.J. Williams
Starting Line-Up
G – Farnold Degand Jr. 6-3 6.9 ppg, 3.2 apg
G – Courtney Fells Sr. 6-6 10.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg
G – Tracy Smith Jr. 6-5 3.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg
F – Brandon Costner Jr. 6-9 8.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg
F – Ben McCauley Sr. 6-9 6.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg
J.J Hickson’s early exit and Gavin Grants graduation leaves a large gap (27.9 ppg and 13 rpg) in the front court of the Wolfpack starting line-up. Brandon Costner will have to return to the form of his Sophomore season and Ben McCauley will just have to be better and assume some leadership on a young and inexperienced team.
Courtney Fells shot 45% from behind the arc and he might need to find other ways to score if Costner and McCauley can not pick-up the slack.
Point guard play will be an adventure for the Wolfpack. Farnold Degand started strong, but feel to injury and Javie Gonzalez had a hard time competing in his freshmen year. Look for a combination of Degand, Gaonzalez, and freshmen Julius Mays. Mays will see plenty of minutes and could crack the starting line-up if there are problems.
FORECAST
The short-term does not look good for the Wolfpack. Head Coach Sydney Lowe is only three games over .500 at NC State and this team will not help improve his record. If Costner and McCauley struggle, so will NC State. If the point guards struggle, so will NC State. If they all struggle, the will be hard pressed to win 10 games.

Conference Rank: 11
Florida State Seminoles
Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton

2007-08 Record: 19-15 (7-9 ACC)
2008-09 Roster
Key Losses: G – 6-3 Jason Rich, G – 6-3 Ralph Mims, G – 6-2 Isaiah Swann, F/C – 6-10 Julain Vaighn, F – 6-7 Matt Zitani
Key Additions: F – 6-9 Fr. Chris Singleton, G – 6-5 Fr. Luke Loucks, F – 6-4 So. Derwin kitchen

Starting Line-Up
G – Toney Douglas Sr. 6-1 15.4 ppg, 2.8 apg
G – Derwin Kitchen So. 6-4
F – Chris Singleton Fr. 6-4
F – Uche Echefu Sr. 6-8 10 ppg, 7.3 rpg
C – Solomon Alabi Fr. 7-1 3.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg

Everyone jump on Toney Douglas’ shoulders. Having lost 42 points a game and 15 rebounds a game, the Seminoles will need Douglas to lead this team and up his 15 ppg.

Uche Echefu is the only other returning starter from last season and should have the opportunity to be a double-double threat every game.
Chris Singleton is a McDonalds’s All-American who has the ability to shoot the three and get to the rim. He will be asked to contribute from the beginning of the season.
After missing 10 games last season, Solomon Alabi was granted a medical hardship and he retains his freshmen status. Alabi’s ability to get off the floor will affect the Seminoles at both ends of the court, but his skills will be needed more on the defensive end.
All-American junior college transfer Derwin Kitchen should provide solid play at the point, allowing Douglas to move to his natural position of shooting guard.
Watch out for Luke Loucks. At 6-5, he is a mismatch at point guard and has no problem distributing the ball. He should come off the bench but might also challenge for the starting spot.
FORECAST
Rebuilding? Yes. Time to abandon ship? Not yet. This Florida State team will win a couple games and should give a game to the teams at the top of the conference. Do not wait for them to make a run into the NCAA tournament, but should settle back nicely into the NIT. The only way to go is up for FSU.
Conference Rank: 12
Virginia Cavaliers
Head Coach: Dave Leitao
2007-08 Record: 17-16 (5-11 ACC)
2008-09 Roster

Key Losses: G – 6-0 Sean Singletary, F – 6-7 Adrian Joseph, F – 6-8 Laurynas Mikalauskas
Key Additions: G – 6-6 Fr. Sylven Landesberg, C – 7-0 Fr. Assane Sene, C – 6-11 Fr. John Brandenburg

Starting Line-up
G – Jeff Jones Sr. 6-4 4.8 ppg,
G – Sammy Zeglinski Fr. 6-0 8.6 ppg, 2.3 apg
F – Mamadi Diane Sr. 6-5 11.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
F – Mike Scott So. 6-8 5.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg
F – Jamil Tucker Jr. 6-8 5.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg

The Virginia Caviliers will rely heavily on freshmen to support Mamadi Diane as he takes over the leadership role left by Sean Singletary. Diane’s scoring will no doubt increase with more shots that will come his way.

Jeff Jones’ production should go up given he will have more chances, but he needs to increase his three-point shooting which was only 36 percent.

Then only frontcourt returning player is Mike Scott. At 6-8 he is a strong rebounder who will need to score more.
Jamil Tucker is a physical presence who will see more time and Sammy Zeglinski will start at the point after an injury filled season. He has excellent ball handling skills and is quick of the dribble.
Look for freshmen Sylven Landesberg to take a hold of the sixth man spot and work his way into the starting line-up.
FORECAST
The Cavs only won 5 ACC games with Sean Singletary. What are they going to do with out him? I am hoping that the team will lift it’s game to make-up the production void left by the star – like Texas did when Kevin Durant left. You know what I mean – I do not expect them to break .500, but could play the spoiler. This team is young and will be experimenting with tatics and variations of line-ups to help solidify next season.
Next Up: Teams 7 – 9

Duke Blue Devils Men’s Basketball 2008-09 Preview

Duke may have overachieved in the first half of last season, starting 21-1, then they either under achieved or played exactly like they were supposed to in the second half, finishing the season 6-5 and exiting the NCAA Tournament in the second round with a lose to West Virginia.
Going into the start of last season, there were many questions about Duke’s roster. Could junior point guard Greg Paulus show leadership and composure? How will Duke fair with its lack of quality big men? Can Duke’s offense be effective with the new “spread and launch” approach?

Some of those same questions apply to the 2008-09 season.

Duke lost its leading scorer and rebounder from last season in DeMarcus Nelson to the NBA and 6’6” freshmen Taylor King transferred to Villanova. But the Blue Devils brought in the 23rd rank recruiting class, headlined by McDonalds All-American guard Elliot Williams.

2007-08 Recap Record: 28-6 (13-3 ACC)
Postseason: NCAA Tournament – Lost in 2nd Round to West Virginia 73-67

Statistical Leaders
Points per game: G – DeMarcus Nelson – 14.5
Rebounds per game: G – DeMarcus Nelson and F – Kyle Singler– 5.8
Assists per game: G – Greg Paulus – 3.2

Key Players Out
DeMarcus Nelson 14.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, and 2.9 apg, and 1.5 steals pg
Taylor King 5.5 ppg, 2 rpg, 38% 3pt

Key Returning Players
Kyle Singler 13.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Gerald Henderson 12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 blocks pg
Jon Scheyer 11.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.4 steals pg, 38% 3pt
Greg Paulus 11.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.5 spg, 42% 3pt
Nolan Smith 5.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 39% 3pt

Key Players In
Olek Czyz F 6-7 240 Freshman Reno, Nevada Reno
Miles Plumlee F 6-10 220 Freshman Warsaw, Indiana Christ School (NC)
Elliot Williams G 6-4 180 Freshman Memphis, Tennessee St. George’s

FRONTCOURT
The Duke front court could be separated into two groups; Kyle Singler and everyone else. The expectations and skill set for the two groups will be vastly different. Singler will carry the majority of shots and scoring for the frontcourt, while the other group will focus on defense and rebounding.

2007-08 ACC Rookie of the Year Singler, leads a very thin and inexperienced front line for the Blue Devils. Singler showed leadership and the ability to play in the ACC last season, but needs to become a better defender and shot blocker if he wants to lead Duke to the Final Four.

Miles Plumlee, whose brother Mason is a five star recruit committed to Duke for the 09 season, will bring shoot blocking Singler is currently lacking and has the potential to develop into a solid player on both ends of the floor. He needs to add strength to his thin, lanky frame.
Freshmen Olek Ozyz is a Poland native who went to high school in Nevada. He comes to campus already breed with the “Duke hustle”, athleticism, and the toughness the front court was missing last season.

6’8” Junior Lance Thomas started 28 games last season, and is this most experienced front court player on the roster, and will compete for the starting spot. He is athletic and plays tough defense and, like Singler, will guard players taller than him.

Look for Coach K to try and plug-in 7’1” Brian Zoubek into the starting line-up when the match-up calls for it, but he needs to stay healthy and stay out of foul trouble. Zoubek will not do much offensively, his focus will be defense.

David McClure is the only other player that saw meaningful minutes last season. He might be pushed closer to the end of the bench by Plumlee and Czyz, but when he comes in, he bring the typical Duke tenacity.

BACKCOURT
Unlike the frontcourt, the backcourt has a wealth of talent that is able to do everything. Greg Paulus has been in the starting line-up since early his freshmen year and Coach K will put the ball in the senior’s hands again this season. Look for Paulus to increasing his scoring through an even better selection.

Nolen Smith had a better than expected freshmen year. Duke was able to take Paulus out of the game and still have a very good ball handler in the game to direct the offense. That was something lacking two seasons ago. Smith should see more time as Coach K looks to develop Smith to take over the point next season. He will have greater opportunity to be creative in the offense but needs to step up on defense to help support Paulus who is poor on the ball defender.

If there is a Duke player on the verge of breaking out this season, it is junior G/F Gerald Henderson. With Nelson gone, Henderson will be the only player left with the ability to create his own shot. There is very little he can’t do offensively. He is able to get to the rim – and finish – and his mid-range jumper has become more consistent each season. When Duke is shooting poorly from behind the arc, the Blue Devils will need Henderson to create one on one.

The only on possible option to create shots outside the spread and kick attack, is five star recruit Elliot Williams. Williams is an explosive athlete. Like Henderson, Williams is able to get to the rim and finish in traffic. His height and ability to play either guard spot will lead to match-up problems and will allow the Blue Devils to play many different line-ups. It is tough to say if we will start or not, but he will see plenty of minutes.

Sixth man and three point specialist John Scheyer has the ability to spread the court. Last season he showed moments that his game has developed passed just being a stand still shooter. Either way, when he is on the court the defense has to be aware.

FORECAST
Interior play is still a weakness for this team. Coach K will have to address this issue from the beginning of practice. This season there will be more options on offense. Duke will come at teams with barrage of threes in the spread offense and off the pick and roll with any of the guards and Singler.

Duke’s offense will create problems for the opposing team’s zone defense. If you drop the zone too far into the lane, it will allow for wide open looks behind the arc. But if you keep the zone stretched to guard against the three, the lane will be open for Duke’s quards get to the rim.

The Blue Devils will never be a “sleeper”, but with all the focus on the UNC Tarheels, Duke will not get national attention of their rivals from Tobacco Road and that is just fine with Duke.
With Duke returning many key players – 83% of their scoring – and the addition of depth and height of the freshmen class, look to the Blue Devils to once again compete for the ACC title and make a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament.

STARTING LINE-UP G Paulus, G Williams, G/F Henderson, F Singler, F Thomas

NEXT OFF THE BENCH
G Scheyer, G Smith, C Zoubek, F/C Plumlee, F Czyz, F McClure